When you’re pressed for time (and who isn’t), it’s a challenge to get wholesome meals on the table night after night. Tackle dinner dilemmas with tips, tricks and strategies that will make it more efficient and less stressful to pull nourishing meals together. Let’s get started…

Shop Smart Strategies

1) Start your shopping at home. Check what foods are on hand (fridge, pantry, freezer) and make note of foods that need to be eaten soon.

2) Make a list of meals you can make that include the foods you have on hand. Include some cook-ahead or make once, eat twice ideas to keep meal prep-time manageable. Ask the family for input of what they have a craving for.

3) Make a list of extra items you will need to round out the meals to ensure they are balanced with veggies, fruits, whole grains and protein. Check for store specials you can take advantage of. To save time at the store, sort the list according to grocery store layout – deli, frozen, dairy, meat, etc.

4) In-store, look for discounted items close to expiry to take advantage of some deep discounts. Buy only items that you can cook or use for meals right away to manage food waste. Once cooked, meats can keep refrigerated for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

5) Meal kits just might be the answer when pressed for time, but if you can prep your own meal kits at home, it helps manage the budget and reduce packaging waste. Some meal kits are just a recipe and portioned-out pasta, meat and veggies. You can do this!

5) Consider online grocery shopping if time is tight.

Eat Smart

Having balanced meals is important but it can be tricky to implement. Follow this healthy plate approach as a guide to proper proportions of wholesome foods.

Reality check: Canadians are getting close to half their calories from ultra processed foods from such as: doughnuts, pop, salty snacks, candy bars, ice cream, French fries and frozen pizza. For children ages 9 to 13 years of age, that number rises to 57%. These startling numbers can lead to having too much sodium and added sugar in our diets, and falling short of key nutrients such as protein, calcium, iron, and vitamins.

GET OUR COOK SMART STRATEGIES: here are three ways to check out our seven dinner dilemma recipe ideas…

1. THE BOOKLET

Check out three of our strategies here in this booklet Cook Smart Strategies. You can view the eBook or go to the Order Centre for your free printed copy.

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2. THE VIDEOS

Check out two Cook Smart Kitchen videos: Roast Beef Wraps or Asian Lettuce Cups 

3. BLOG POSTS

Check out our seven strategies – delicious recipes and time-saving tips:

Frozen Assets: Stocking your freezer helps you cook up convenience.

Cook Once Eat Twice: Leftovers offer the chance to be creative in the kitchen, turning something old into something new!

Super Speedy: Pick up thin-cut steaks. They come at a price point that won’t break the bank and pan-fry in minutes.

Leftovers = Appetizer Opportunity: Take a shortcut to appetizers by turning a weeknight family meal into appetizers the next night.

Hands Off Cooking: Dust off the slow-cooker so you can take advantage of having dinner cook while you’re away at work.

Weekend Make-ahead: Weekends are perfect for roast beef. And leftover roast beef is perfect to help make meals speedy during the week.

Double UP: Always cook up extra – it’s not extra work and will save you lots of time in the end.