It’s 5 p.m. and you’ve been working all day, but alas, it’s time to fix dinner for your family. Your choices…a frozen lasagna, Chinese take-out or an easy (because you prepped it!) delicious meal that includes all the food groups and can be ready in no time! We’ve curated these ideas to help you prepare – in advance! – meals that are healthy and simple to prepare when it comes time to getting dinner on the table!

Make a meal plan. Pick a day each week to come up with ideas for meals for the following week or days. You can get the whole family involved and assign a day for them to select their favorite dinner. Try to keep the simpler menus to days you have a bit more time to prepare them.

Shop for all your ingredients in advance. Once you have your menu set for the week, shop for all your ingredients. If you think you’re going to prepare the same meal multiple times, purchase the items that you can keep in the freezer or cupboard for a long time. Try to purchase in bulk and when items are on sale.

Use foods that last well. Obviously dried foods like pastas and rice are a good selection because they keep for a long time. If you use fresh foods, use them early in the week. This guide illustrates how long you can safely store food.

Invest in the right tools. Sometimes easier food preparation comes with a small investment in the right tools and appliances. A cooking tool like an air fryer or a crock pot can take a lot of the work away and make meal preparation a lot easier. Research which ones are best for your lifestyle.

Use leftovers. When you plan one of your meals, make enough to either serve again for dinner the following evening with a new twist like a different starch or vegetable or to pack for lunch the next day. If you have enough for an entire new meal, pop it in the freezer for another day.

If you are continuing your search for a new home, please know Cornerstone Communities is still building homes in San Diego County. To see our homes, we are offering virtual tours on our website, you can chat with us online or we can schedule a private in-person appointment with you.