Tips on Family Meal Prep
By Emily Lindholm
Fitting in healthy meals for a busy family can be a challenge. Whether or not you have toddlers at your feet or teenagers racing to get to soccer and dance practice, providing everyone with fresh, whole foods can quickly become an art form in and of itself.
Don't worry, you don't need to subscribe to a meal delivery service. Although these are great at times, they can get expensive. Instead, here are some tips on how to make meal prep easy.
Make a Meal Planning Night
The first order of business is to carve out some meal prepping time. Planning is everything. Taking some extra time out to plan and prep your meals will save you so much time in the long run.
Pick one or two nights each day of the week as your designated meal prep and planning time. Use this time to chop vegetables, pre-make sandwiches, fill containers, check the inventory of your kitchen, and make lists. Maintain consistency around using this time for meal prep and remain dedicated to it. You might become amazed at how much easier your life becomes just by planning and prepping consistently.
You will find more success with your meal prepping time when you combine it with planning. Make sure to stock your kitchen with the necessary tools, such as containers, pens and paper, cutting boards, and plastic bags if necessary.
Here are some key meal prep planning tips.
Make lists - Make a list of what you would like to have for the week. First, make a list of what you want to make, and then make a list of the ingredients you'll need.
Take inventory - Check your fridge and pantry. Make a list of the basics that you may be running low on. See if there's something on your planning list that you didn't know you already had. Taking inventory of your kitchen can help to save you money and help you avoid unnecessary trips to the store.
Stock up on the basics - Be sure to stay extra stocked on the basics! In my house, I cook a lot of soups. Two ingredients we cannot live without are garlic and onions. I always prep these first, always having chopped up garlic and onions ready to go. Garlic and onions are great base ingredients for most soups, so as long as I have these, I can get creative with the rest if I need to. Be committed to the basics, and everything else can be improvised if needed.
Be sure to have all the necessary containers ready to go before each meal prep. The habit of sticking to your meal prep days and remaining consistent with your planning may not happen automatically. Just stick with it, and once you see the benefits, it may become second nature. It will save you a lot of time and running around!
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