Most people need some kind of help getting organized. Something I have discovered over the years is that the biggest favor you can do for yourself is organize the little things first, then try to tackle the really tough stuff. Once the little things are in order, the rest of life will generally fall into place much easier.
Life Organization Tips
One area that seems to defeat even the most organized person is meal planning. The busier the individual or family, the harder it is to plan healthy, delicious meals, and the harder it is to find time to prepare those meals. Follow the five tips below to get started. Once meal time is organized, you free yourself up to begin working on those other areas that need a little help.
- Plan your menus. This may sound a little too organized, but it will surprise how a little planning will go a long way. Plan a week at a time by looking at your calendar for the next week. If you have meetings, practices, games, or other obligations that leave you scrambling for time, knowing that the meal for that evening is already planned will reduce some of your stress.
- Cook a meal ahead of time; a crock pot is a great investment for this. A good crock pot will cook anything from soup to a roast and all you have to do is serve it up when you get home. Add a quick salad, and dinner is homemade and done. If you’ve never used a crock pot or slow cooker and aren’t sure how it works, there are many websites that can help. One good one is http://www.kraftfoods.com. It has plenty information on the types of crock pots, hints for the best results and a search engine that will allow you to enter the ingredients you have and search for a recipe using those ingredients. Check manufacturer websites as well. The site http://www.everycrockpot.com has loads of manufacturer information.
- Keep staples on hand. Ground beef, chicken or turkey can be used for spaghetti or other pasta dishes even if it’s frozen. Place your frozen meat in a large sauce pan, turn on medium heat and cover it. In about 15 minutes it will be thawed and partially cooked. Remove the lid and finish browning. Drain the fat, add your favorite sauce, cook and add your pasta, toss a salad, toast some garlic bread and dinner’s done. Other staples to keep on hand; potatoes, eggs, canned or frozen vegetables, and cheese. Basic ingredients can be used to improvise tasty meals in a hurry. If you are not one who can improvise well on your own, visit http://busycooks.about.com. This site will help you find recipes that are quick and easy and usually inexpensive.
- Never go grocery shopping when you are hungry. If you have planned your menus, shop for the things you need to fulfill that menu. Add things like fresh fruit, popcorn, chips or other snack foods to keep on hand for those between meal and late night kitchen raiding parties. Make a list and stick to it; that will help keep your budget and your waistline trim.
- Encourage the other people living in your home to participate in meal planning, shopping and preparation. Whether spouse, children or roommates, if you all work together, the meal process will go much smoother and will be an enjoyable event rather than an ordeal to be endured. This also goes for cleaning up afterward; the more hands, the quicker the job is done.
Meals are just a small part of daily life, but they are a daily part of life that can add to an already overloaded schedule if allowed to get out of hand. A little advance planning and preparation, a little cooperation from the entire family, and meals can be the least stressful and most enjoyable part of the day. Home cooked food tastes better, is better for you, and will render many special memories. Make the most of the time. And bon appetit!