It’s common to eat out and order in while your kitchen is under renovation. But restaurant food eventually gets boring and your health can suffer from daily fast food meals. With a bit of forethought, you can eat better during your kitchen renovation.
Prepare & Plan Ahead
Preparing for a kitchen remodel should include setting up a temporary kitchen (click here for easy-to-follow steps) and some simple meal planning. This post will give you plenty of ideas to get you started.
After reading this post and collecting some recipes, create a list of meals you can make during your kitchen renovation. The number of meals in your list is up to you. If you choose 7 meals, you can rotate through them each week. If you choose 20 meals, you won’t have to repeat them as often and you’ll have more options.
Your meal plan list doesn’t have to be detailed or structured. You don’t need to designate which meal you’ll eat on specific days. Even a simple meal plan like “BBQ chicken, potatoes, and bagged salad” will take the guesswork out of what to eat during your renovation.
Stock Your Freezer
Make some meals ahead of time to keep in your freezer. With a fully stocked freezer, simply reheating a one-dish meal in a toaster oven or crockpot is a breeze during your kitchen remodel.
You can stock your freezer quickly and easily by batch cooking. In the weeks leading up to your renovation, double up on some of the meals you prepare and freeze half. It won’t take you more than a few minutes more. Freeze these meals in foil pans for less cleanup and to save space.
Take Advantage of Pre-Made Foods
During your kitchen renovation, simplicity is essential. Take advantage of pre-prepared foods from the grocery store. Splurge on pre-chopped vegetables and fruit to save time and space in your temporary kitchen. Vacuum-packed or canned produce, bottled sauces and dips, canned beans and lentils will simplify your meal prep.
Stock your pantry with snack foods like granola bars, nuts, dried fruit, and other convenient items. Even if you’re not a fan of processed foods, some canned soups and other packaged foods might be a more affordable and healthier option than another fast food meal during your reno. You’ll be grateful for them on days when you’re running behind or are too tired to think about cooking.
Remember the deli at your grocery store. Treat yourself to a pre-cooked chicken and some of the freshly made salads or side dishes available there. You’ll even find freshly made sandwiches that would make an easy lunch.
Plan for a Break from Cooking
Even with advance planning and preparation, there will be days you don’t have the energy (or space) to cook. Budget for some meals out during your renovation. It will be more than a nice break from preparing food; you’ll be glad for a change of scenery and a different place to relax for a while.
For a real treat, consider planning a weekend getaway during your kitchen remodel. Two or three days out of your house with meals being served to you will be welcome refreshment.
Make Meals a Social Event
The disruption of a renovation in your home doesn’t have to impact your social life. It can actually serve as a valuable time to create new memories and build relationships around food!
- Invite yourself to a friend’s home for dinner, but offer to do the cooking, or make it a potluck and bring something simple like store-bought buns or salad.
- Plan a batch-cooking event at a friend’s house. Everyone works together and goes home with a few freezer meals.
- Visit some elderly friends or relatives and share a meal with them. They’ll be grateful for your company.
- Visit a local park with a firepit and cook “camp-style” – hot dogs, smores, foil-wrapped potatoes, etc.
- Go on a picnic.
Quick & Easy Meal Ideas to Make During Your Kitchen Reno
Let’s face it: the hardest part of feeding your family is figuring out what to make. If you know what you’re going to cook and have the ingredients, the rest is a simple matter of following instructions to cook it.
These ideas will help you plan what to eat during your kitchen renovation.
Keep breakfast meals quick and cold with as little clean-up as possible.
- Yogurt with granola and fruit
- Hard-boiled eggs (prepare a dozen at once) and fruit
- Apples or bananas with nut butter
- Overnight oats
- Chia pudding
- Instant oatmeal packets
- Protein bars
The midday meal can be tricky. If you work outside of your home, it’s tempting to take the easy road and eat out for lunch every day. Here are a few ideas to minimize that option:
- Pre-made salads or sandwiches from the grocery store deli
- Sandwich wraps (lettuce or tortilla)
- Soups (canned or purchased from a deli)
- An old-fashioned bagged lunch with fresh veggie sticks (can buy prepared at the grocery store), applesauce or fruit cup, and a sandwich (peanut butter and jam is easy)
- Pre-mixed tuna packets
- Sushi rolls (bought from the grocery store)
- Any of the breakfast options above
- Leftovers from last night’s supper
Supper food options depend a lot on your personal tastes. Remember to plan for some freezer meals and use your barbecue. Here are a few ideas:
For the BBQ
- Chicken breasts or thighs
- Foil-wrapped potatoes
- Pork chops or tenderloin
- Shrimp skewers
- Fish fillets
- Hot dogs
From the Freezer
- Spaghetti sauce with pasta
- Meat pies
- Pulled pork (easy to make in a crockpot)
- Fish sticks
- Chicken fingers
- French fries
- Mashed potatoes (these can be made ahead of your reno and frozen for easy reheating)
- Bagged salads
- Prepared raw vegetables (buy a veggie platter from the grocery store for the week)
- Canned vegetables
- Rice, pasta, quinoa (prepared on hot plate, in microwave, or steamer)
- Grilled vegetables (wrap in foil packets and cook on your BBQ)
Snacks & Dessert
Snacks are easy because the stores are filled with options that require zero preparation. Some examples:
- Dried fruit
- Trail mix
- Granola bars
- Yogurt cups
- Fruit cups
- Fruit bars
- Tortilla chips & salsa
- Cheese slices (can purchase pre-sliced)
- Pepperoni sticks
- Homemade energy balls or bars (can be frozen in advance)
Learn to Love Leftovers
Redefine leftovers for your family. Planned leftovers are delicious leftovers. For example, cook a pork shoulder roast in your crockpot one night with potatoes, carrots, and onions. The next couple of days, use the leftover pork to make tacos and pulled pork sandwiches.
It takes some creativity but it’s possible to serve leftovers without feeling like you’re eating the same thing all the time. Leftover rotisserie chicken, for example, can become a casserole or be added to a pan of nachos or a pot of soup.
Leftovers served in this way are cost-effective and save you effort in cooking and cleanup.
Keep Things Simple for Easier Cooking & Cleanup
Cleanup can be simplified by using disposable dishes and cookware. It might be an added expense, but it’s temporary and can help you survive the renovation stage. If environmental effects concern you, there are recyclable, compostable and biodegradable options.
Cover baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick foil. Use a disposable liner for your crockpot. Anything to reduce the amount of cleaning you’ll have to do after cooking is a good thing right now.
Keep cleanup in mind when stocking your renovation pantry. The more ingredients and dishes you use to prepare and eat your meal, the more you’ll have to clean up. You don’t need every single ingredient you usually have on hand. Choose some basics (like vinegar, olive oil, hot sauce, and soy sauce) and make do with those during your kitchen remodel.
When choosing foods to cook, think about the cleaning process. Meals that create sticky dishes will require more cleanup than less saucy foods.
Cooking Essentials During a Kitchen Renovation
A well-stocked temporary renovation kitchen will include at least some of the following:
- Fridge – even a small bar fridge will help
- Hot plate – for anything you can cook on a stovetop
- Crockpot and/or Instapot
- Electric kettle
- Toaster oven
- Rice cooker (not essential, but helpful)
- Air fryer (not essential, but useful)
- 1 non-stick pan or an electric skillet
- 1 pot
Another option is camping gear. If you don’t camp, friends or family who do may have a camp stove you could use.
Ask friends and family for any of these items if you don’t have them. You can borrow them during your kitchen renovation. Alternatively, check thrift stores. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to set up a highly functioning temporary kitchen.
Healthy Meals When You Have No Kitchen
It is possible to eat healthy meals during your kitchen remodel. Use these tips to prepare for your kitchen renovation. You’ll feel better physically and be better able to cope with the craziness of renovation life.
For help in planning a stress-free renovation, contact a Riverstone renovation specialist today.