Going through a kitchen remodel? We've been through it and while it's totally worth it, meal preparation can be difficult! I've rounded up our favorite go-to easy meals during a kitchen renovation that will be a total life saver during this crazy time.
One of the most common questions that I got during our kitchen renovation was if we were eating out all of the time. The short answer: NO! We very rarely eat out, maybe once every week or two, and that didn't really change during our kitchen renovation.
We were able to cook and eat healthy during our kitchen renovation with just a little bit of planning, some helpful ingredients and products, and some easy but delicious recipes to get us through.
If you're planning a kitchen renovation soon, keep reading to find out how you can keep eating healthy during the renovation and prep meals during a kitchen renovation!
First, have a plan. You can check out my blog post on how to survive a kitchen renovation for steps to set up a temporary kitchen and my suggested kitchen appliances and tools, or keep reading below.
After your kitchen is set up, you'll want to comprise a list of go-to delicious meals and snacks that will be helpful to eat healthy during the kitchen renovation. This isn't the time to get fancy with meal prepping. Stick to some basics, and discover new convenience foods - there are some out there that can be healthy! I'm sharing my favorites below.
Toaster Oven - one of my friends loaned us their toaster oven/convection oven and it was super helpful for making frozen pizza and cookies!
Slow Cooker - not surprisingly, our slow cooker was one of our most used small appliances for easy dinners during our kitchen remodel. I've listed my go-to easy meals during a kitchen remodel below, and many of them are slow cooker recipes!
Hot Plate - my kids are big fans of macaroni and cheese, so I had to find a way to be able to make it for them during our kitchen reno. Enter: the hot plate! It takes up minimal space, which is great, and is also very affordable.
Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot - for nights when I needed dinner on the table fast, my Instant Pot saved me!
Panini Maker - grilled cheese sandwiches and paninis were go-to meals for us during our kitchen renovation. With the one that we have (this one) we were also were able to make French toast, eggs, bacon, and burgers, as it doubles as a griddle!
Air Fryer - our air fryer saved us so many nights during dinner time! I used it for things like tater tots and chicken nuggets, but also for cooking chicken breasts, fish sticks, Brussels sprouts, and salmon!
Electric Kettle - this is great for making hot water for tea, coffee, instant soups, and anything you'd need hot water for.
Mini Fridge - during our kitchen renovation, we still had our large refrigerator outside, but having a mini fridge was super convenient for beverages and our daily go-to items. We kept eggs, milk, butter, and jelly in there, among other things. Note: if you're adding a beverage fridge to your new kitchen, this would be a great use for it before it is added!
Coffee Maker - coffee is a daily MUST have for us so we kept our normal coffee maker out in our make-shift kitchen for our daily cups of jo.
Electric Wok - we pulled out this appliance more during our kitchen renovation than we had in the 10 years that we have owned it. It was super helpful for stir fries, scrambled eggs, and taco meat.
Grill - if your project is during warmer months, grilling should be your go-to way to cook! It's outside so you're not making a mess inside, there are so many things to cook on a grill, and it's just yummy. Be sure to check out my guide to Summer Freezer Meals for a ton of freezer meals that can be grilled.
In addition to the small appliances that are helpful, there were other tools that I made sure were accessible for every day cooking.
Disposable plates/paper plates. Doing dishes during a kitchen renovation is no fun. I didn't use disposable plates every night, but I did have compostable plates on hand for meals that I just didn't want to have to do dishes after!
A butchers block island. We had one of these that we used in our old house for some storage, and it was incredibly handy during the kitchen renovation. It was my prep counter for my temporary cooking space, and also storage for the few kitchen items I had.
Folding table. If your dining room table is in storage to keep it safe from the construction, I'd highly recommend a cheap folding table for family meals. During a chaotic time when everything is out of order, it still feels really nice to sit down at a table (as opposed to the floor or on a couch!) to have a family dinner.
Each week, I would have a plan for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, and I would do as much prep in advance as possible. If I already had the chopping board out, I might as well chop a bunch of things for the week so I wouldn't have to do it every night.
2 main breakfasts to rotate throughout the week
3-4 snack options
2-3 lunch options to rotate
4-5 dinner options - the other days we would have leftovers and maybe takeout.
As mentioned above, I would typically choose and grocery shop for 2 main breakfasts throughout the week. That way, everyone had a choice of what they wanted, and there was some variety.
Instant Plain Oatmeal with Bananas, Honey, and Peanut Butter - major go-to for my kids. I like buying the plain oatmeal without added sugar and then add honey and fruit to sweeten it to our liking.
Peanut Butter/Avocado Toast - easy, simple, protein packed!
Hard Boiled Eggs - I made a batch of these pretty frequently in my Instant Pot to have as a quick source of protein in the morning or as a snack. I also packed them in my kids' lunches because they love them.
Greek Yogurt with Berries and Granola
Freezer Friendly Breakfast Burritos - I made a large batch of these twice during our kitchen renovation. My husband loved having these on hand to heat up before heading out the door for work.
Smoothie Packets - This was another option that I made prior to the renovation starting. I basically put all of the components of one smoothie except the milk (which usually came out to two servings) into a plastic baggie. Then when we wanted a smoothie, we would simply empty the contents into our blender, add milk, and breakfast would be served! My favorite easy smoothies during our kitchen remodel were my Greek Yogurt Smoothies and Peach Smoothie.
Dinner was definitely the most important meal of the day for us to plan in advance during our kitchen remodel. My go-to recipes were slow cooker recipes, instant pot recipes, and air fryer recipes.
Instant Pot Chicken Taco Soup - no chopping and so delicious!
One Skillet Chicken Teriyaki and Rice - I love using my electric wok for this!
One Skillet Mexican Chicken and Rice - an entire meal in one skillet.
Instant Pot Broccoli Cheddar Soup - I loved using pre-chopped veggies like broccoli, shredded carrots, and frozen chopped onions in this for an even easier soup.
Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup - again, using pre-chopped vegetables makes this soup a breeze.
Instant Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup - so easy and good!
Instant Pot Tandoori Chicken - A delicious chicken dinner that is perfect to serve with a side of microwave steamed broccoli and frozen brown rice from Trader Joe's.
Instant Pot Pulled Pork Banh Mi Sliders - Buy pre-made pickled veggies or kimchi instead of the homemade version that I have and this will be even easier!
Instant Pot Chicken Taco Rice Bowls - another super easy, low prep work meal that the whole family loves.
I hope this post was helpful for staying healthy during a kitchen renovation! A good meal plan and preparation will go a long ways - and just get creative with your space! Keep in mind - it's a temporary situation and soon you'll be cooking in your dream kitchen!
Sometimes you just don't want to think about having to prepare a meal and want something fast and easy without having to get takeout. Not every home-cooked meal has to be completely from scratch, so here are some meals we made when we needed something quick.
One last thing! Freezer meals are a lifesaver when we have a regularly functioning kitchen and are even MORE helpful when you are cooking in a makeshift kitchen. Be sure to check out my Guide to Cooking Freezer Meals which shows you how to prep 14+ meals in 2 hours! If you have access to a deep freezer during your renovation project, I would highly recommend making a batch of freezer meals to cook.