Meal Prep Made Easy: Meal Prep for the Busy Family

by - 8:09 PM

Everyone warns you that having a baby will change your life. And it is true. You’ll probably have less sleep, a lot more responsibility, and less time for preparing healthy meals.

Imagine with me for a second...

If you typically spend 10 minutes making breakfast, 20 minutes packing lunch & snacks (assuming you take a lunch rather than buying it) and 45 minutes cooking dinner, in a typical workweek you’re spending up to 375 minutes or over 6 hours just preparing food! When you add a toddler's meal to this mix it seems as though you spend endless amount of time chopping, pureeing, etc.

If you are anything like most busy parents, this means you rely on convenience and commercially-prepared foods for at least part of your family's diet. Today I want to give you 3 steps to make your meal prepping more efficient without sacrificing your taste buds or your health.

Plan – “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Prepare your grocery list based one your meals for the week prior to going to the grocery store. This will not only ensure you have all you need for your meal prep, it will also save you time in the grocery store. 

Prep – I've have found preparing all your meals one day of the week (preferably on Sunday) is a great way to manage portion sizes and macro-nutrient intake. It also helps eliminate trips out for fast food when you don't have time or don't feel like cooking. 

  • Pick an hour of the week that works for you and set it aside for meal prep. Remember, setting aside 1 hour is saving you 5 hours.
  • Preheat your oven for 400 degrees. 
  • Cut your protein into the portions you wish to have, Season it, and place it on a pan covered with aluminum foil for easy clean up. If baked or sweet potatoes are part of your meal prep, wash them and prepare them as you wish then place them on a pan covered in aluminum foil. Cook proteins for 20 minutes or until finished. Cook potatoes an additional 20-30 minutes.
  • While these are cooking, prepare your vegetables. Usually, I prefer things I can steam in the microwave like broccoli and spinach. This should take 5-10 minutes.
Portion – Use the additional time your proteins and potatoes are cooking in the oven, to set out containers to portion your meals. Once the vegetables are finished, portion them into your containers. When the proteins finish portion them into containers. When the potatoes finish, portion them into containers. Use additional time in between to portion snacks for the week.

This whole process takes me less than an hour for breakfast, lunch, and two snacks for 5 days. During this hour, I use the same chicken I baked to portion for my one year old son's protein for the week.

The above picture is my actual meals for last week. Breakfast: breakfast bowl (potatoes, eggs, salsa and cheese), Snack 1: protein shake & banana, Lunch: 6 oz chicken, spinach with olive oil and sea salt, and pasta salad, Snack 2: greek yogurt with strawberries, blueberries, and granola.

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