Cooking a fresh meal takes time, which is why many people choose the easy route. Instead of preparing a meal, it’s quicker and easier to order takeout or visit a drive-thru. If you’ve ever ordered food or went through a drive-thru simply because you were too busy, we have the perfect thing for you: cooking tips for busy people.

With the right methods, cooking doesn’t need to take up all your time. I’ve found a few helpful ways to get things done in the kitchen even with my busy schedule.

The following are my favorite solutions for saving time in the kitchen.

Plan Your Meals for the Entire Week

Instead of waiting until you’re hungry to plan a meal, you should plan your meals ahead of time. In fact, I recommend that you plan your meals for the entire week.

Choose a day of the week when you’ve got a little bit of spare time. Sit down and create a list of five or six dinners and several breakfasts and lunches that you want to eat throughout the week.

Check your cupboards and make a list of any ingredients that you need.

Buying enough groceries for the week also reduces waste. You’re more likely to use the ingredients that you have instead of letting things spoil.

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cooking tips for when youre busy

Maintain a Well-Stocked Kitchen Pantry

Not everything in the kitchen needs to go in the fridge. There are many important ingredients with long shelf lives that you can keep in your cupboards.

I like to keep a variety of items in the cupboards. I stock up on canned goods, dried pasta, oils, herbs, and spices.

Maintaining a well-stocked kitchen pantry makes it easier to find recipes at the last minute. You’ll also be less tempted to get takeout when you have all the ingredients that you need for a homemade meal in your kitchen.

Always Use Leftovers

Leftovers provide the perfect solution for saving time. You don’t need to cook another meal as you already have a meal left over from the day before.

If you’re not a fan of leftovers, there are ways to reuse the ingredients. For example, you may reuse leftover meat in a sandwich or a wrap. Leftover pasta can be added to a salad.

You may even want to prepare extra food so that you always have some leftovers. If you’re preparing pasta, soup, stew, or any other easy-to-prepare meal, double up the recipe and store the extras.

These are just a few ways to cut corners and save time when you’ve got a busy schedule. If you save time in the kitchen, you’re more likely to keep eating healthy meals.

I also suggest that you try cooking the night before and use the microwave whenever possible.