No time to cook? 6 time-crunch dinner strategies

Real, home-cooked food is one of the secrets to a killer body. When you cook it yourself, you know exactly what’s in there. It’s also a wonderful way to show love and share your passion for health, and it’s a great way to teach children about nutrition. If you’re stuck in a take-out rut because you have no time to cook, try these strategies for getting home-cooked food on the table in no time.

When you’re short on time, it pays to strategize. And once you get used to thinking a little bit ahead, it will become second nature. It’s so worth it!

Stock up on quick staples. Keep all of the quick-prep foods you love on hand: frozen shrimp in the freezer, prewashed spinach and baby kale in the fridge, canned organic beans and coconut milk in the cupboard. Cuts down on time-wasting runs to the store. Send yourself a text message or email to make sure you replace what you’ve used before you need it again.

Cook fast food. If you know this week is going to be off-the-charts hectic, and you’ll have no time to cook, grab a bunch of fast-cooking stuff at the grocery store—fish fillets, precooked chicken sausage, lean ground beef. Try our 30-minute-or-less recipes for Chicken Sausage with White Beans and Kale and Quick Baked Fish with Meyer Lemons.

Fall back on family-friendly recipes that you know everyone will eat, if you’re cooking for more than just yourself. (All of the recipes in The Fast Metabolism Diet are family tried-and-tested, by the way!)

Make leftovers on purpose. Grill double the number of chicken breasts you need tonight, and turn the extras into wraps tomorrow night. Two meals, half the effort.

Make even more leftovers and freeze them in individual portions. Voila, instant frozen dinners—only they’re home-cooked, healthy, and laser-focused on your metabolism. The Fast Metabolism Diet is packed with recipes that freeze beautifully for just this very reason. Chilis, soups, stews, rice bowls, and oatmeal work great. Rule of thumb: If you can buy it frozen at the grocery store, it probably freezes well.

Slow cook. Crock pots are heroic: Toss in ingredients in the morning, and come home to a wonderful meal. If you really want to get a lot of cooking out of the way, borrow a few slow cookers from family and friends. Get three or four recipes going at once—this way, you can actually get a month’s worth of dinners done in a weekend! Check out our slow-cooker recipes for Turkey, Buffalo or Veggie Chili, Rosemary Chicken Stew, Greek-Style Chicken, and Pepperoncini Pork Roast.

What are your time-saving tips? Tell us on the Facebook wall!