When my family doesn’t have meals planned and prepped, this is what dinner looks like:
For the Kids: grilled cheese, chicken nuggets, cheese quesadillas, mac and cheese. It is a processed food carb bonanza. Surprised? My family is just like yours. Quick food that I know my 7 year old will eat checks the box – Feed the kids.
For the Adults: it can look similar to be honest – if we are really hungry we’ll finish off whet they don’t eat. Maybe we’ll make a sandwich. Or if we are lucky, there are frozen leftovers in the freezer.
I am sure you can relate.
We hit a point where we knew we had to make changes – to make sure we were all eating less processed foods, and more balanced foods between protein, carbohydrates and fat. We turned to meal prepping on the weekends as a solution. With healthy options readily available, we can more easily avoid the “kiddie food” and “filling the void” habits while getting food on the table in a short amount of time.
But in order to make meal planning and meal Prep a long term solution for our family, it couldn’t consume our weekends. I didn’t want it to cut into our family time!
Here are my Meal Prep Solutions for Busy Families:
- Don’t try to do it all in one day! Deciding on what to eat, making a grocery list, grocery shopping and then cooking is A LOT for one day. We want to eat better, but we also want to see our loved ones! So split it up – spread out the tasks across a few days.
- Plan the Meals on Thursday/Friday: Make a menu for the coming week. Grab a recipe or two that you want to make. Choose an extra protein to have on hand. And make your grocery list. Nutrition is easier with a plan. Winging it can quickly lead to the fall back foods you’re trying to avoid.
- Don’t grocery shop on the day you cook. It’s already an hour or two of your day! Another great alternative is ordering your groceries for delivery. Most grocery stores offer the service, and Instacart is available in our area as well. The fees range from $6-$15, but hear me out. I tend to save money by avoiding the tempting processed foods. Since I’m not passing the cookie aisle, it is easier to avoid the cookies! And I can easily monitor what I am spending as I go to make sure I stay on budget. I can even shop in my PJ’s and have the groceries delivered when it works best for our schedule.
- Food Prep Sunday! Making 1-2 well planned meals and cutting some fresh veggies for the week should only take around 2 hours. Get into the grove! Turn up the radio! Get the kids to participate. Stay focused and get it done.
Starting something new can take time – and a little trial and error. Stay patient and meal prep will quickly become part of the routine.