By Carol Harrison, RD

Since the pandemic began, many Canadians have been preparing more meals at home. While this is a positive change, cooking fatigue is beginning to set in – and when that happens, convenience foods and takeout meals start to look awfully tempting. Help your clients stay on track with these three easy ways to refresh a kitchen routine.

  1. Save time with big-batch cooking.

Cooking and freezing a big batch of a versatile dish is one of my favourite life hacks – it’s like a gift to our future selves. Not only does batch cooking save time, but you can take advantage of lower pricing on bulk-packaged fresh ingredients. Big Batch Mexicali Beef is a great example: cook once and you’ll have several portions of tasty, protein-rich lean meat ready to add to pasta sauce, chili, quesadillas, soups, and casseroles.

Find the recipe in the Cook Smart Strategies resource below.

Good to know: By law, lean ground meats – whether ground beef, chicken or turkey – all have the same maximum fat content. Lean is lean, regardless of the type of meat.

Get more easy dinner ideas from Cook Smart Strategies.

  1. Add new flavours.

We all have our go-to dishes, but nearly nine months into the pandemic, they might be getting a little tired. Cooking with what’s in season is one easy way to add variety. Other ideas to liven things up: try a new recipe each week (main course or side dish), give familiar dishes a flavour twist with different herbs and spices.

Good to know: Remind your clients that frozen produce is just as nutritious as fresh, and it’s often more budget friendly.

Read tips on meal planning from Dietitians of Canada.

  1. Lean on your slow cooker

The slow cooker has made a big comeback in the past few years, as more home cooks discover the benefits: it’s convenient (you don’t need to tend to it constantly), budget-friendly (longer cooking tenderizes cheaper cuts of meat, such as roasts and pork shoulders), energy-efficient and easy to clean. Slow cookers are also terrific for big-batch cooking, from applesauce and pasta sauce to chili and beef pot roast.

Get tips on freezing foods safely.

About Carol Harrison, RD

Carol Harrison is a registered dietitian who loves her daily workouts! She has a food nutrition communications company in Toronto. Follow Carol on Twitter and Instagram.