Tips for lowering time and effort spent preparing meals.
At the start of the week, put together a plan for your meals and stick it to the fridge. It doesn’t take long and you’ll save time deciding what to cook each night. Take meat out to defrost the night before and whoever’s home first can get started.
Go meat free
It's often cheaper and quicker to make a vegetarian meal. Especially if you don’t have any meat already defrosted. Plan a meat-free meal or two each week. Base them around quick to cook options like tofu, canned kidney beans, lentils, eggs or falafel.
Cook once, eat twice
Get smart and plan meals you can use for two nights, e.g. you could have roast chicken one night and turn the leftovers into chicken wraps or pasta the next night.
Stock the freezer with essentials
The trick to quick and easy meals is a well-stocked freezer. These frozen essentials can be thrown into meals and will save you prep time in the kitchen:
- plain frozen fish fillets
- frozen vegetables of all shapes and colours (e.g. cauliflower, spinach, beans, peas, corn)
- frozen vegetable stir-fry mixes
- pre-cooked and frozen chicken
- frozen prawns or squid rings
- leftover cooked rice, couscous or pasta
Stock the pantry with essentials
It’s not only the freezer that needs stocking. These pantry essentials are quick to add to meals and don’t take long to cook.
- canned legumes – beans, chickpeas, lentils
- canned vegetables – corn, peas, beetroot
- pre-cooked rice pouches
- small quick-cooking pasta (e.g. orzo or macaroni)
Don’t lose your leftovers
Finally, don’t let random leftovers lurk in the back of the fridge. Use them as the base for your next meal, e.g. use leftover vegetables to throw together a frittata, or use leftover rice to make vegetable fried rice. With rice, to ensure it is safe to reuse, cool it as quickly as possible after cooking. Refrigerate or freeze it as soon as it is cool. Eat within a few days.
PAK'nSAVE and the Heart Foundation
We’re proud to join forces with the Heart Foundation to bring you simple, healthy, delicious recipes that won’t break the bank.
Healthy food doesn’t have to use expensive ingredients or be complicated to make. Our hacks are here to help you get yummy meals, packed with veges on your plate, whatever your situation – whether you’ve got a tribe to feed, or simply don’t have time to cook.