As the country reopens, family schedules are inching toward their pre-lockdown levels of busyness. Sports, extracurricular activities, school, work and social commitments all leave families looking for ways to save time, money and energy in the kitchen.

Make your family mealtime more efficient and enjoyable with these tips:

Plan Meals in Advance

Scheduling meals eliminates the stress of pulling something together at the last minute or wasting precious time figuring out what you have on hand to make. Planning ahead can also help ensure you’re preparing nutritious, well-rounded meals instead of making last-minute decisions that often include less healthy choices. When you plan a week at a time, you can take into account how to use ingredients across multiple meals to save money and preparation time. When planning out meals, keep in mind that leftovers from a protein main dish can be repurposed to top an entree salad or incorporated into a pasta or casserole dish later in the week.

Shop Smarter

Limiting your meal prep time can actually start at the store if you shop for budget-friendly prepared ingredients that do some of the work for you. You can find side dishes that are ready to heat and serve, along with shortcuts like meats that come marinated and require minimal preparation to assemble a meal. Affordable and time-saving options like Tyson Seasoned & Marinated Proteins are already seasoned and marinated so you can skip trimming and prepping the meat and get straight to cooking. For example, the Sweet Teriyaki Seasoned Pork Loin Filets let you create dishes with international flair while options like the Garlic & Parmesan or Steakhouse Seasoned Pork Loin Filets are versatile enough for a wide range of meals on busy weeknights.

Find Easy Yet Enjoyable Recipes

Prepared ingredients are also an easy way to get out of a mealtime rut and explore new recipes or a style of cuisine that might be unfamiliar to your family. All the seasonings are already perfectly blended, so you can skip the guesswork and be confident your dish will turn out as expected. Recipes that involve ready-to-make ingredients are also typically budget-friendly since you don’t have to invest in seasonings and spices separately. Fewer ingredients also typically add up to more efficient preparation and less time in the kitchen.

Tips to Save Time, Money and Energy in the Kitchen

Recruit Help

Rather than asking one family member to shoulder meal preparation responsibilities alone, delegate age-appropriate tasks to the rest of your family. Even the littlest members of the household can help with jobs like setting the table. Older kids can assist with meal prep and getting drinks ready. If cooperation is lacking, consider creating contests to have the kids racing to complete their tasks first. Even if your time around the table is brief, bringing the family together in the kitchen can help maximize your quality time together.

Limit Cleanup Time

Shop for ingredients that can be used in numerous timesaving ways and think in terms of the entire meal preparation process, including cleanup. For example, versatile Tyson Seasoned & Marinated Proteins can be cooked using quick-prep appliances like an air fryer or with a grill that requires minimal cleaning after you’re done cooking. You can also choose simple recipes and one-dish meals to cut down on dirty dishes. Stir-fry, stews and sheet pan meals are all options that help limit the amount of time you have to spend cleaning up when dinner is over.

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