Being a “type A” personality, people always ask me how “I do it all?” Full time career, kids, stay fit, blog, cook, play sports, keep a house etc. I’m constantly teased with funny nicknames like “Martha” for my outward appearance of having it all together. Trust me, looks can be deceiving!

I’ll admit, I’m pretty on it. I’m a freak about time management and organization and that alone puts me ahead of the game. I believe that where most people fail these days is in the kitchen. Cooking for yourself and/or a family is hard work. If you don’t have a plan, you are in trouble. That is why I always “think past dinner.”

What do I mean by “think past dinner?” Well, simply put, I’m always thinking about how far the meal I’m cooking can go. Can I get two meals out of it, lunch tomorrow, leftovers for another dinner? If I’m grilling chicken, can I just add a few extra breast to the grill to throw on a salad the next day. In other words, I make my meals work for me!

When I cook protein, I almost always cook more than I need for one meal. For example, if I’m cooking a steak for my hubby and salmon for myself, I cook extra of both and then split it up into small lunches for myself throughout the week. That’s called “killing two birds with one stone!” Being busy means always thinking about what is ahead of you and how you can prepare for it. If I know my week is going to be crazy (like most weeks,) I plan for it. With two teenage boys who are rarely home (but still expect to eat,) my husbands late work nights, my evening team tennis etc. we are gone more than we are home. Therefore, if I can make a meal that will do “double duty,” you better believe I’m doing it.

For example, this week I grilled up extra chicken breast marinated in cilantro and lime. I used some of the chicken for dinner in a yummy Thai pasta. I then chopped some up for a healthy salad for me the following day. I knew I would be out the next night, so told my boys that they could make chicken quesadillas with some of the chicken for dinner (an easy and quick meal for boys) and then later in the week I actually had enough chicken leftover to add to my Mediterranean kale salad (on my site) for an entree salad. Now that’s making your food work for you!

Last week, I wrote a similar article about cooking meals ahead of time. Because I know this is where families fail, this blog is simply an expansion of last weeks. Do yourself and your family a favor and next time you are cooking your families Sunday dinner, throw on some extra chicken, toss some extra salad (I make a big salad and split it up into small containers,) chop up some extra fruit and veggies and pack them away for another day!

If you are like me and worry about what your family is eating while your away or you yourself find yourself grabbing the quickest, not so healthy thing you can find when you are rushed, plan ahead and the next time you are in the kitchen spend a few extra minutes and think past dinner!

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