My biggest time saver is grocery shopping with a purpose; I do my major shopping only twice a month. I plan 15 dinners and have food for breakfast, lunch and snacks. It is a monumental task with two boys and a hungry husband. Planning makes it work.
There are certain ingredients no kitchen should be without; most of the essential items can be bought in bulk. Staples include non-perishables like rice, couscous, salt, pepper, some spices, pastas and toiletries. Buy in bulk, replenish as needed and try to buy on sale.
I attempt to choose healthy options with the least amount of processed food as possible. Cooking from scratch helps. That being said if you have a few precious items and staples you will never want for a good meal. My 12 and 14-year-old boys have been able to make several meals for years. Starting simple and having a good cookbook will increase anyone’s skills over time. I leave the fruit all over the house like flowers. Since it is one of the only quick meals it is eaten. I buy frozen foods because my children enjoy corndogs and fish sticks and the like. It also gives them a chance to cook meals from start to finish with confidence.
Second, shop the perimeter. My local store has toiletries on one end and produce at the other with dairy, and meat in between. Having a list helps. If you make your time on the inside isles of the grocery limited you will eat better and save money.
Balance between fresh and canned, frozen or dried. In addition, some things we prefer to buy fresh, fish, shrimp should be purchased after fresh goods are eaten. Use fresh foods first. Antipasto, tuna, canned goods are great supplements. Try freezing your fresh veggies. With the right balance you can have tasty meals for two weeks.
Make your list for healthy meals, have budget, and stick to it. Allow discretionary funds to purchase milk, fruits and other perishables the second week. You can also buy soymilk, which keeps so you don’t have to return for two weeks. Allow three impulse buys and no more, if you must.
Have fun and enjoy your meals. Be sure to build in quick easy meals when time or energy is limited. Take your time and talk to each other, say grace or be thankful. Spend some time sharing your day with the people you love. Make dinner time a no TV, phone, games so you are not distracted from your meal.