I love eating healthy meals, but cooking from scratch can be time consuming. When you are trying to eat really clean or on a restricted diet you can’t use bottled, packaged or prepared ingredients, because they’re usually full of added chemicals and sugar. Instead, you have to do a lot of planning and prepping, which is why many people resort to eating takeout—and ditch the diet altogether.

If you have an allergy or illness, cooking for yourself is certainly one of the best things you can do to heal naturally. But how can you eat well when you don’t have all day to cook? Step 1: Talk to a chef!

I’ve learned tricks of the trade over the years and can create deliciously nutritious cuisine for an entire week in just a few hours. Of course, a lot of practice plays into my speed, but culinary tools, preparation, and organization can help professional and home cooks alike. To assist you on your journey, I’m sharing my best time-saving kitchen tips…

How To Save Time in the Kitchen

Use a Pressure Cooker

I tried a pressure cooker for the first time last month and now I’m hooked! I was teaching a client how to operate hers, and 100 minutes later we were enjoying the most tender and moist pulled pork. (It was even better than the 12-hour slow cooker version.) You can even make a whole chicken in 25 minutes or less. It really is the ultimate way to save time. I purchased this Instant Pot from Amazon, as well as Pressure Cooker Perfection by America’s Test Kitchen and The Healthy Pressure Cooker Cookbook by Janet A. Zimmerman.

Using a Pressure Cooker will speed up your cooking time. For example, beef short ribs take about 3 hours in the oven but are cooked in only 70 minutes in a pressure cooker.

Mise En Place

This French phrase roughly translates to “everything in place.” What it really means is: get organized! Take a look at your recipe(s) and plan an efficient strategy. This is how effective chefs operate in the kitchen. For example, if two of your recipes call for carrots, chop them all at once and place them into separate bowls. Do the same for all of the ingredients. Plus, measure out herbs and spices in advance. Make sure all your ingredients are out, chopped and measured BEFORE YOU START COOKING. This way, when it’s time to turn on the stove, everything is ready to go.

Double Each Recipe

If you follow the mantra, cook once eat twice, you will always have food available to you. My theory is that if you are in the kitchen cooking, you might as well make the most of your time. Make soup for 12, meatballs for 8 and roast enough veggies for the week. When you prepare extra portions, there will be nights when you won’t have to cook at all! Simply refrigerate and label your food after it’s cooked, and eat it for the next few days. Or, portion your meals and freeze them in individual airtight containers for another time.

Clean as You Go

You do not want to end up with a huge pile of dirty dishes.  Before you start cooking, give yourself space, clear off the counters, put anything away that you don’t need. Make sure the dish rack is empty, or put out a clean towel on the counter to place clean dishes.  As you cook, any time you empty a bowl, set it next to the sink. When you have a minute, say while something is sauteing, go rinse that bowl and set it on the towel. Now it’s ready for the next time you need it.

Sharpen Your Knife

This may sound like a no brainer, but when was the last time you sharpened your knives? A sharpened knife is one of the best tools you can have in your kitchen, while a dull knife makes it difficult to chop and get through your mise en place. Plus, a dull blade has a tendency to slip and can cause an accident. So save time (and your fingers) by sharpening your knives often.  This image shows how a knife is sharpened using a stone, but you can easily take your knives to a local kitchen store or look for a traveling sharpener that visits upscale grocery stores and farmers markets near you. And PLEASE never place your good knives in the dishwasher.

Hire a Chef

Even with the best tips and tricks, it can still be hard to find the time to cook. Better yet, maybe you don’t have an interest in cooking, but still want to enjoy homemade, high-quality meals. My team at The Holistic Chef will get your meals prepped, cooked and labeled. We prepare mindful menus, customized just for you. Best of all, we’ll save you up to 7 hours (or more) each week by alleviating the stress of planning, shopping and cooking.

If you don’t live in my area, look around for Personal Chefs in your area. Feel free to ask me if you need help finding a Chef that caters to your style of eating.

Make your dream a reality. You don’t need to toss your goals aside or put off feeling great any longer. If you don’t have the time or skills to make healthy meals, let us help you get food on the table. Contact me to learn more about my Personal Chef Services, and let’s get started.