Maybe it’s because the kids have gone back to school? Maybe it’s the results of a summer cooped up in air-conditioned buildings? Either way, fall tends to get busy for people. With a busy schedule, it can be hard to want to spend extra time in the kitchen, so here are a few time-saving tips to help you out.

When you do spend time in the kitchen, use that time wisely. Use the time spent waiting for casseroles to cook or water to boil for cleaning up. You’re already in the room and it saves you time cleaning after the meal.

Fall tends to get busy for people. With a busy schedule it can be hard to want to spend extra time in the kitchen.

Spending an hour meal planning may seem counterproductive, but it will help you spend less time (and usually money) wandering through the grocery store aisles and deciding what to eat for dinner each night. Start with what meals you can make out of your current pantry, then add meals to your list until you have your week covered. Any missing ingredients make up your shopping list.

Once you have your menu, post it for all to see. Even if you just have a list of meals, instead of assigning them a day of the week, it will make the age-old question of “What are we going to eat tonight?” much easier and faster to answer.

Storage containers are your new best friend! Having storage containers in a variety of sizes helps with a variety of time-saving tips. First, if you have time to prep ingredients, make that work to your advantage! Pre-chopping vegetables or pre-mixed dry ingredients for your planned meals can help save time on your busier days. Second is leftovers and lunch. No matter if you are making something special for lunch or enjoying yesterday’s leftovers, having a variety of storage containers can help when it is time to grab and go. Last, if you find you have extra ingredients when making your meal, put it in a storage container and freeze it for next week’s menu.

A snack station makes both snack time and lunch packing easier. It may take a moment to set up, but once complete, it’s easy to grab and go throughout the week. Making most of the healthy snacks will also help with making smart eating choices. Planning your grocery trip? A glance at the snack station should tell you want you need on your list.

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