It’s time to sharpen those kitchen skills. It’s time to become an iron chef. These Kitchen Hacks will impress and help you make some amazing food!
Trying to stay fit with a busy schedule?
Sometimes you just don’t have time in the day to get everything you had planned done while still managing to stick to your cutting meal plan. That’s why we created these kitchen hacks. They’ll help you stick to your goal of losing those extra pounds while still managing to fit in three meals a day. Eating healthfully and losing weight is made easier than ever by following a few tips. Save time and money while not sacrificing flavor by planning smartly and cooking ahead of time.
Save time and money while not sacrificing flavor by planning smartly and cooking ahead of time.
10 Top Kitchen Hacks
#1 Make DIY Smoothie Bags
Everyone can agree: Smoothies are delicious and very good for you. A well-made smoothie delivers healthy fiber, vitamins, and great taste. It can be a quick on-the-go breakfast for busy mornings. But, actually making one can turn into quite a production if you are not properly prepared. Washing and chopping all those fruits and leafy greens creates a lot of dishes and takes up a lot of time. Cut that time in half by prepping your own DIY smoothie bags.
You can make multiple bags to store in your freezer and add the suitable ingredients when the time is right to enjoy your healthy, frosty beverage. Simply cut up your fruits and leafy greens and seal them in single serving freezer-safe bags, labeling the bags with any added ingredients you may need for your smoothies, such as protein powder, Greek yogurt, cashew butter and almond milk.
Making your morning smoothie is as easy as pulling one of these bags from the freezer, placing the contents in the blender alongside your other ingredients, flipping the switch and letting the smoothie magic happen.
#2 Layer Up Some Mason Jar Salads
Stay on track with your healthy diet by prepping enough mason jar salads on a Sunday to get you through the entire work week. Chock full of healthy ingredients, these Pinterest-worthy lunches will be the envy of all your coworkers while also helping you shed unwanted pounds.
There is a right way to layer this type of packable salad so make sure you follow these steps to avoid soggy lettuce syndrome (SLS).
Start with a layer of your favorite healthy dressing at the bottom of jar. Next, top your dressing with hard veggies such as carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers or raw cauliflower. These veggies will marinate nicely with your dressing and don’t risk turning into mush. On top of the hard veggies, layer your choice of lettuce (romaine, red leaf, Boston or baby spinach for example) and any other delicate vegetables such as cabbage or alfalfa sprouts. Finally, add any protein you would like on your salad, such as grilled chicken, a hard-boiled egg or tofu on top.
Enjoying your salad is as simple as keeping it cold ’til lunchtime and shaking it up or pouring it out into a bowl. Then grab a fork and start feasting!
#3 Freeze Your Greens
There are few things more discouraging than realizing your forgotten farmer’s market kale has turned into a soupy, sticky mess at the bottom of your freezer drawer. If you’re anything like us, you want to reap the health benefits of leafy greens and minimize food waste whenever possible. Solution: Freeze your greens into ice cube sized vitamin powerhouses for use in smoothies, soups or sauces!
These little gems deliver a nutritious punch and help you stay slim by supplying you with plenty of healthy fiber to keep you feeling fuller, longer. Simply puree your greens of choice (collards, kale, Swiss chard, spinach, etc.) with a touch of water to create a smooth consistency in the blender or food processor. You can either blend the green varieties singularly or mix them together—whichever is more convenient.
Pour the greens puree into an ice cube tray. Then, seal the lid of the tray to ensure freshness and let solidify in the freezer. Pop out of the tray and blend up with the rest of your smoothie ingredients for an extra chlorophyll boost and tons of heart-healthy fiber!
#4 Mix Up Some Overnight Oats
Mason jar salads aren’t the only kitchen hack on this list that will make you look like a food stylist! Make a large batch of overnight oats and enjoy a heart-healthy and satisfying breakfast every morning for the rest of the week. Adding a simple healthy breakfast to your daily routine is a vital element to starting any weight-loss plan, and sticking to those goals is easier than ever with make-ahead overnight oats.
If you are new to making overnight oats, start off with one part oats (rolled oats, not steel cut) to one part cold liquid of your choice (we like coconut, almond and cashew milks). Experiment with the ratio until you reach your desired consistency. Chia seeds are a great addition to thicken up your oats and add heart-healthy omega-3s. But, keep in mind that any added dry ingredients will require that you put in a bit more liquid into your overnight oats. After mixing your oat mixture, let it marinate in the fridge in a sealed container for several hours or overnight.
Breakfast is as easy as spooning your overnight oats mix into a bowl and adding your favorite fruits, seeds, and nut butters to customize your breakfast and make it your own.
#5 Prep Wet Snacks
A big factor that often hinders weight loss is mindless snacking during the busier parts of the day.
How many times have you reached for a bag of chips when three o’clock comes around and dinner feels like nothing more than a distant promise?
Taking the time to prep low-calorie fruits and veggies to pack in portable containers will turn that three o’clock craving into a golden opportunity to squeeze more vitamins and minerals into your diet.
Wash, cut and refrigerate red bell peppers, celery, carrots, strawberries and other hardy fruits and veggies into single-serving BPA-free plastic or glass containers to last you through the week. Place the containers at eye-level in a fairly easy to access spot in your fridge to remind yourself to reach for the good stuff when the hunger pangs strike. Pack your cut fruits and veggies with small dip containers of complementing yogurt, hummus or low-fat dressings and give those salt-and-vinegar chips a run for their money.
#6 Whip Up Some “Nice”
With it’s cutesy name aside, “nice” cream is actually a genius way to satisfy your craving for the sugary, saturated fat filled variety while also helping you lose weight and increase your energy. And what’s better, it’s a perfectly viable excuse to eat ice cream for breakfast!
Nice cream could not be easier to make and requires very few ingredients. Frozen bananas provide the creamy base for this icy treat, with other fruits and nut butters added in to create a personal touch and unique flavor. Put extra blueberries, raspberries, mango, kiwis or any of your other favorite fruits in the freezer and break them out when making this recipe.
A food processor works best to achieve that creamy texture reminiscent of your favorite frozen dairy treats. Simply blend your frozen bananas and fruit with your choice of liquid until the mix runs smooth and all the chunks have been evened out. Try using coconut and nut milks for the liquid to gain a bit of protein.
Both taste delicious!
Spoon into a bowl or pour into popsicle molds to enjoy at a later time!
#7 Create a Meal Plan for the Week
Writing up a healthy simple meal plan for the week will not only help you stick to eating well, it will also help you reduce food waste and save money on meals. Come up with an ingredient list for what you will need to make everything and bring that list with you to the grocery store. This will leave the guesswork out of what to put in your shopping cart(healthy grocery guide) and save you time to research healthy kitchen hacks like the ones in this article.
If you have a game plan established for what you plan to eat for the week, you will be less likely to succumb to cravings, preventing you from reaching for that box of instant mac and cheese (you know, the one you should throw out or donate to a food drive).
Include recipes in your weekly meal plan that can be prepared in bulk, leaving you leftovers to freeze in plastic containers and stick in the freezer for the next time you don’t have the energy to cook.
#8 Freeze Your Grains
Don’t mix up this tip with the third one on our list. Greens are not the only thing that can be frozen nicely! You can also make big batches of rice, millet, quinoa, barley and other fiber-rich grains to reheat with a little water or to add to soups later in the week. Whole grains provide a great source of dietary fiber. This helps keep you feeling fuller longer and also is useful to improve blood cholesterol and fight obesity and diabetes.
While many people often feel that including whole grains in a healthy meal is an important element to making the meal feel complete, they are a pain to make and take way too long to be considered a convenient food. Fight the time trap by prepping large batches ahead of time and freezing single-serving pouches of the grain of your choice once cooked.
Add an extra splash of olive oil to help the grains maintain a loose texture and for added heart-healthy fats. Warm contents of the bags up in a saucepan on the stove or in the microwave and add fresh herbs or spices to make a quick, heart-healthy side dish any time of the day.
#9 Bake Some Egg Muffins
Egg muffins are a great on-the-go breakfast idea that requires few ingredients and little time. They also really deliver on flavor and nutrition. These little baked frittata-like muffins are just as easy (maybe easier) to make as scrambled eggs. But, unlike scrambled eggs, they can be stored in the freezer for busy mornings.
Scramble eggs with a fork or whisk and pour into small muffin tins, seasoning to your taste and adding other ingredients like turkey sausage, green bell pepper or chives. Bake at about 450 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until the tops of the muffins are set and slightly golden. Let the muffins cool. Then, remove them from the tins and either enjoy them on the spot with salsa or ketchup or place in the freezer for a healthy and speedy breakfast another day.
#10 Replace Dairy with Avocado When Baking
Subbing certain ingredients with avocado in baked goods boosts their nutrition value by contributing almost 20 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. The fat content in avocados is largely of the unsaturated type, making them an ideal replacement for ingredients like butter, cheese and cream, which are high in saturated fat. Also, the high water content in avocados lends a perfectly chewy and soft texture to cookies, brownies, bread and more.
Avocados can be exchanged at a one-to-one ratio with butter in most recipes while subbing avocados for oils requires the addition of another liquid to balance out thicker mixes or batters. What’s more, including avocados in your baked goods recipes takes the guilt factor out of enjoying muffins, cookies and even cakes (when baked with healthy ingredients) for breakfast!
Skipping meals is simply not an option no matter how busy your schedule. Make the time! Everyone has a few spare moments for these customizable, simple and convenient kitchen hacks. Taking the necessary measures to plan ahead and get your diet game plan straight will save you time to hit the gym or to spend with your family. And that’s a life hack we can get on board with!
By Lillian Dumont