“How do you do it all?” they ask. “All” as in clean little people, feed them the foods they will tolerate, get them ready for school unscathed, and manage to do all of the same for myself, everyday. The answer? I really don’t know. Some days I’m surprised myself, but I do know it can be done. It isn’t always (read rarely) perfect, but it does indeed happen. Most weeks the feeding thing is the one thing I know I will get done without a hitch. Why? Because, food is my love language. I love to cook, and I obsess over tasty things. I plan my menus down like I’m planning a party. It’s fun for me. That said, let’s talk about my love for meal prepping and how I make it work for me and my family of three.
- If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. The first key of really making your meal plan work for you is sitting down with your shopping list, and your weekly menu to get a plan of what you want to eat down. Plan it all, yes, even down to your snacks. I grocery shop each week on Fridays, with my plan and list in hand. I make note of how the schedule will look for the coming week, noting which days we have activities that may lead to an additional meal or snack. Knowing what you’re going to serve for the week is the first step into prepping your meals effectively.
- Choose a day to cook/prep, and be consistent with it. My cook and prep day is Sunday. I like starting out the week knowing that something tasty is on the horizon. Making sure you have all of your ingredients present and accounted for is also something to BEFORE your cook/prep day. There is nothing like starting a recipe, and you realize you’re missing a key ingredient.
- Purchase storage solutions that work for your cooking/storage and lunch taking needs. I like compartmentalized containers for lunches for me. I love the snack sized bags for kid treats. Reusable lunch-bags and bottles also come in handy. Making a soup? Grab a well insulated thermos to take to work. Kid sized containers for lunches are perfect too, those kiddie bento boxes, super fun! All in all, making sure you have the right tools for the job is key in getting your meal prep to work for you.
- Re-purpose your leftovers. This is MAJOR staple for when it comes to meal planning. If I roast a chicken on Sunday, I find ways to use the leftovers throughout the week- Chicken sandwiches, top a fantastic greens salad with the chicken, or the family fave, chicken salad (filled with nuts, grapes and berries), leftovers are a good way to use ALL of what you have for meals. No leftover goes unloved. Talk about a budget saver too.
- Ask for family input. Find out what meals your family loves to eat. There is no point in doing meal prep if it’s not going to be beneficial to your family. If you know little Katie likes turkey wraps- look at ways to incorporate turkey into the meal plan on certain weeks. A little thoughtfulness really does go a long way.
Meal prepping can be a great time and life saver for you and your family. Anything that saves me time is a win in my book. If you’re a meal prep maven, share some tips in the comments.