Easy Meals for the Busy Professional

To harried modern professionals -- especially the singles among us -- easy meals are always welcome. Often there just isn't enough time in the workweek to waste any of it in the kitchen, beyond preparing the occasional sandwich.

On the other hand, you do need to eat decent meals regularly, if only for health's sake. You've always got the option of eating out, but then you run into the huge problem of cost. Even buying one meal a day can easily cost $100 weekly.

So let's look at a few options for making sure you eat well without paying through the nose.

Quick Cooking

Plenty of chefs have published quickie-meal cookbooks; Rachel Ray has built a career on them. Grab a handful. They'll happily tell you how to put together hot, fresh meals in a half-hour or less, generally from simple ingredients. This is great, especially if you like to cook.

But you may not have half an hour to spare on some days. Worse, if you view cooking as just another necessary chore, then on days you come home late or exhausted you may just decide to blow it off and head for the nearest burger joint.

Workin' for the Weekend

With a little advanced planning, you don't have to worry about where your next meal is coming from. Most of us take the weekends off to catch up on the rest of life... and one of those catch-up items could be cooking.

Why not roll up your sleeves and get to work in the kitchen for a few hours next Saturday? Focus on creating individual lunches and dinners for the following week, and even breakfasts if you're ambitious.

If you like cooking, it can be a nice change of pace; and even if you don't, you can get it over and done with all at once.

Cool Beans

Start by working out a meal plan for the week. This shouldn't take long. Then, after obtaining the ingredients you'll need, head to the kitchen and start cooking.

You'll need to freeze all but the meals you plan to eat first; those can go in the refrigerator. All you need to store them in are freezer-safe containers, like Tupperware; sealable large baggies (great for labeling by day); or a vacuum sealer system, like Seal-a-Meal.

When it's time to eat, just toss the meal into the microwave, and it'll be ready to eat in just a few minutes.

Imperfect Solution

The freezer-microwave option won't replace fresh meals. But the bottom line is that unless you want to beggar yourself by eating out every day, it may be the best way to ensure you have a nice selection of easy meals on hand.

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