As each day wanes and grows old, less and less time is left for making balanced meals.

In our struggle to find a quick and easy meal, we often find ourselves eating out or eating gross, fatty foods, falling into the same traps over and over again. Fast food and other unhealthy, quick snacks tend to be more expensive and more nutritionally lacking than meals made at home.

To make a quick, healthy, and balanced meal, consider following these simple steps:

1. Make freezer meals ahead

Use some of your extra time at the end of the week to prepare and freeze the food you will eat during the next week. You can even make food for months later, as long as you keep it adequately frozen.

2. Freeze small portions

When you freeze your meals, do so in small, meal-sized portions. This prevents you from needing to re-freeze your food, which you shouldn't be doing anyway.

3. Hold the spices!

The process of freezing actually accentuates the taste of salt and other spices. Leave some of the spices out and, if needed, add more later.

4. Store food correctly

Keep food in sealed bags or containers. To do this most efficiently, take the soon-to-be-frozen goods out of their package, put the meals into a plastic container, and then put the container in the fridge. Once the food has cooled, place it in a plastic, Ziploc bag. Be sure to write the date you froze your future meal before placing it in the freezer.

5. Always have fresh vegetables on hand

To complement your meal, and to make it healthier, make a salad with fresh vegetables. Wash veggies before eating. When you serve your salad, add your favorite dressing or sauce.

6. Serve fruity desserts

To top off your meal, there is nothing better, or healthier, than a fruity dessert.

With a little extra planning you can serve healthy meals to your family any night of the week.

Translated and adapted by David Hall from the original article Como preparar refeições rápidas by Marilia Condé Aguilar.

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