What do we value most? Building lifelong memories and relationships! At U/D we know maximizing me-time and quality moments with family, friends and neighbours is important. With our day-to-day responsibilities, it can be tough to find time for those precious moments. Juggling everything from work to school, social time to kids time, and regular daily tasks, it can be difficult to make that extra time for yourself or everyone around you.
That’s why we reached out to our grocery partner, Save-on-Foods, for tips to make life easy with meal preps. With a hectic lifestyle, meal prep can be a life saver. Spend less time on cooking so you can spend more time enjoying life. Other benefits include learning how to budget better, using the food we buy, and reducing waste while we’re at it.
Feel great about the dishes that you create, whether for yourself or family – wholesome, nutritious meals that save the day every day and help you lead a happier, healthier lifestyle overall. Fewer days where you turn to the microwaved meals or take-out (although we’re all human, and it’s perfectly fine once in a while!) can make for a healthy new routine
If you’re looking for a new approach to food and want to create a new healthy habit, we promise these tips and easy weeknight meal plans will help.
Isn’t it hard when you get home from a long day of work and the last thing you want to do is turn on the stove? Start the week off right by planning your dinner for every night of the week. When your life is go-go-go, we recommend being proactive because making your meals in bulk means more money in your wallet and more free time to play and explore Northwest Calgary with family, friends and your four-legged sidekick(s).
Tip: Slow-cookers are your best friend because of their simplicity. Toss all your ingredients in the pot the night before and store in the fridge, and in the morning before you start your day, plug it in and set it for a slow cook. Nothing beats the feeling of coming home to the smell of a home-cooked meal, without the extra work! If you’re in the market for a slow-cooker, visit our Resident’s Guide to find the closest NW retail store, like Costco. Don’t forget to taste-test their fantastic samples during the weekend – it might give you some ideas for your next meal!
No more buying groceries on a whim, produce going bad, or meat spoiling from freezer burn. One of the best parts of meal prep is having a dual purpose for ingredients. Learning to make different meals with the same ingredients helps cut down on food waste because you know what’s in the fridge and how it’s going to be used. For example, rotisserie chickens are a great and versatile choice. Use them for quesadillas, tacos, chicken flatbreads and try the leftovers in chicken salad wraps or sandwiches for lunch the next day.
Tip: Have a picky eater at home? Take advantage of smoothies or blended vegetables in pasta sauce so your fussy eater will eat their veggies. Grate or sprinkle some cheese on top of a dish to give it some added flavour (cheese makes everything taste great!). Want to learn more about alleviating food waste? Then take a look at our feature from last year with locally-based non-profit LeftOver Foundations, in Taste It, Don’t Waste it.
Spice up your dinner routine with this delicious fajita salad! Best part, it only takes 20 minutes to make from start to finish. Photo credit: Save-on-Foods
Have you seen those meal prep Instagram images of multiple plastic containers and the same food in each one? We want you to have fun and truly enjoy what you eat because meal prep doesn’t have to be boring. Change it up with different spices, bake or pan fry (or go fancy with a sous-vide, and focus on the ingredients that you really enjoy). If you have kids, encourage them to peel, chop, and even read the recipe out loud by your side. If you make dinner prep fun, then they’ll have fun. Better yet, let them help you plan out the meals for the week so they can stay engaged from start to finish, from salad to dessert!
Tip: Get creative! Use cookie cutters to create fun shapes in bite-size or mini-versions of baked goods, fruit, and sandwiches. Or test different new ingredients that serve up nutritious, vibrant flavours – go beyond the typical and find your inner chef so your daily meals are something to look forward to. And if it tastes that good, invite a neighbour over for dinner!
Now that you know the benefits of meal prep, the big question is, where do you start? We’re here to help, thanks to our grocery partner Save-on-Foods! Whether you’re hosting a dinner, cooking a family meal or just yourself, this easy weeknight meal plan menu will have you whipping up quick, delicious meals that everyone will love, saving you time to focus on more quality with loved ones or free time to try out the new fitness studio down the street.
Get the recipe: Mini Tomato Basil Pizzas
These simple mini pizzas come together quickly thanks to a short list of ingredients – tomatoes and olives. Just shred some mozzarella and parmesan and you’re ready to go. To round out the meal, whip up a quick slaw: Toss 4 cups of shredded cabbage or a bag of coleslaw mix and add 4 tablespoons vinaigrette.
Time Spent: 10 minutes.
Get the recipe: Tuscan Chicken Kale White Bean Soup
One pot, that’s all you need! Soup night just got even easier. Pre-chopped bacon, chicken and canned diced tomatoes and white kidney beans really speed up the whole process. Talk about quick, healthy and delicious!
Time Spent: 10 minutes.
Get the recipe: Easy Cheesy Tuna Broccoli Pasta Bake
Assemble this pasta bake using your pre-chopped chicken. Pop a cover on it and refrigerate until Wednesday. All you have to do is breeze in the door and pop it in the oven when you get home. 20 minutes of cooking time and voila, dinner is ready!
Time Spent: 10 minutes.
Get the recipe: Fajita Salad
Add some healthy veggies to your diet in f an easy-to-assemble salad. This fajita salad is teaming with peppers, onions, lettuce and chicken, making it a healthy and fast recipe to make for dinner that bursts with flavour.
Time Spent: 20 minutes.
Get the recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings
This tasty and family favourite meal requires little time. In the morning, set up your slow cooker and add your pre-chopped onions, celery, carrots, potatoes and chicken breast. Before you’re ready to serve, toast some buttermilk biscuits or bread.
Time Spent: 10 minutes.
Check out Save-on-Foods website and app for weekly recipes. Did you know you can save even more time and shop online for all of your grocery needs? Let’s get to it!
The University District blog is a resource for Calgarians who want to live, work, play, visit or buy in the northwest. We will provide you with information, stories, news and inspiration about the things that matter so you can live a more inspired, active and connected life in NW Calgary at University District… Life works here.