These are challenging, uncertain times. Especially for those who are working from home and with children at home as well.

When it comes to mealtimes, having home-cooked meals, are most of the time healthier than ordering from outside. They are lower in salt, calories and you know exactly what they contain.

While it may sound time-consuming and troublesome to cook, the truth is, it can be easier than you think.

Prep your ingredients in advance

Bough carrots? Prepare them beforehand so they are ready to use. Use a food processor to help you with the task. Use the slicing discs to slice carrots for your stir-fries, soups; shredding disks to shred the carrots for your salads, or the blade if you need them minced. Remember to keep the prepared ingredients in airtight containers.

Washing and cutting the ingredients takes most of the cooking time. Doing this all in one go, well in advance, will save you a lot of time next time you are putting a meal together.

Just like any chef at a restaurant, by prepping your ingredients in advance, all you need to do when you start cooking is open the containers and put the ingredients together.

Clean the kitchen as you cook

Clean the kitchen as you cook, this will simplify your cleaning up after you finish cooking and save you time.

One-pot meals

Washing up can be quite tedious and time-consuming task after cooking. If time is a constrain, keep it simple with one-pot meals (or one-pan meals). Some of them can be saved for the next meal or even frozen and use for a quick meal another day. Some meals can stay in the freezer for up to 2 months.

  • Stew. Good on its own or with rice on the side. Try several combinations with fish, chicken, lean meat or even vegetarian proteins.
  • Soups. Include your favourite vegetables, starch and protein. It is fast, healthy and delicious. You can even eat it with bread if you are not bothered to add potatoes or pasta in the soup or to cook rice.
  • Chili, similar to stews but with a spicy element and with beans. Beans add extra nutrition and flavour to your meal.
  • Slow cooker: add your ingredients in the morning and have it ready for lunch or dinner (depending on the temperature that you use);
  • One-pot pasta: although most pasta recipes require a pot and a pan, you can have a balanced pasta meal without having to dirty more than one pot. Google some recipes that you like! (there are so many good ones we can’t choose just one!)
  • Steam it: cook all your ingredient in a steamer. Use vegetable or chicken stock instead of water and add some herbs to the water (or directly in the food) for some extra flavour.
  • Use the oven: toss chicken or fish, potatoes and some root vegetables in the oven with some herbs, your favourite spices and olive oil;
  • Fried rice: great and quick option if you have leftover rice.
  • You can make a balanced one-pot rice meal even if you don’t have leftover of rice: light fry onion and garlic in olive oil, add your protein in chunks, fry it for a minute and add the stock and let it cook. Fifteen minutes before the meat is cooked, add the raw rice and veggies (think carrots, peas, cabbage). Once ready, add some fresh herbs.

Simplify further

Not convinced with what we’ve suggested? Here are some extra bonus cheat codes to make your life easier.

Microwave your food
Microwaving is a safe, effective, and convenient way of getting food ready. Microwaving allows the vegetables to be cooked very quickly. Short cooking time generally reduces nutrient loss. You can steam vegetables, bake potatoes, prepare corn on a cob, do poached or scramble eggs, low-fat potato chips…and the list continues!

Make a wrap or sandwich
Use your chicken leftover or get some tuna and mix with your favourite veggies, add one tablespoon of hummus, mustard, low-fat mayo, or olive oil and wrap them in a wholemeal wrap or bread.

Omelette or frittata
Light stir fry onion, garlic, bell peppers or your favourite veggies with olive oil and mix them with eggs. Some people add low-fat milk for extra fluffiness.

Now you know some handy tricks, what is your favourite? Tell us your personal tricks and tips that you use to make cooking simple!

Always here for you,
Claudia Correia
Dietitian
MyDoc healthcare team

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