One of the most common excuses for not eating healthy is lack of time. With people busy between work and their families, the easiest thing to do is to pick up dinner instead of cookie. Active families like mine need to eat healthy, so it’s important to do everything you can to eat at home as often as possible (we eat at home at least five to six nights a week). Meal prepping is the best way to make meals at home when you have a hectic schedule. Here are meal prep hacks that will keep your family eating healthy.
1. Meal Plan
Meal planning is an extremely important part of prep. Create a calendar that has every meal planned out until your next grocery shopping trip. While some people like to plan out breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, that can be planning overkill for some families. Planning dinners is the most important part, so at least plan those, and then wing the rest if you don’t feel the need to plan every small detail. Once you have planned each meal, add all of the ingredients that you need to your grocery list to make each dinner.
2. Cook in Advance
Cooked meals stay fresh in the fridge for several days, so you can cook several meals to reheat during the week. Choose items that won’t try out when they’re reheated. For example, you can cook spaghetti, enchiladas, a casserole, and a few other meals all in one day. Let them cool at room temperature, label them, and then place them in the refrigerator until the day you plan to eat them.
3. Crock Pot Meals
Prepping crock pot meals is another great way to prep in advance. You can take all the ingredients to make one crock pot meal and store it in a one-gallon Ziploc freezer bag. Placer bag in the freezer, uncooked, and pour it in the crock pot the morning of the day that you want to eat it for dinner. Having about five to six crock pot meals prepped will give you more options and allow you to have something easy in the freezer that will make very little time to prepare. Put everything in your slow cooker during breakfast and it will be ready after work. If you don’t know many recipes, you can dress up the same ones with different sauces and dressings. Hampton Creek is popular for creating the Hampton Creek mayo. They also have healthy ranch, chipotle, and other delicious sauces and dressings that you can add to your dishes.
4. Prep Snacks
Prepping snacks is just as important as prepping dinners. Do you find yourself running to the gas station to grab snacks on the go? Instead of getting stopping or trying to figure out what type of snacks to eat, prep some snacks. Fill Ziploc bags with an apple and a handful of strawberries. Fill other bags with some crackers and some sliced cheese. As you get some meal prepping practice, you’ll find yourself coming up with more combinations. When it’s time to run to to tennis tournaments or dance practice, everyone can grab a bag full of the snacks that they enjoy.
5. Re-Organize Your Fridge
Fridge organization is one of the biggest problems when it comes to prepping foods. Most people have a row of yogurt, a drawer of apples, and so on. Basically, all of your foods are grouped together. What’s wrong with that? It makes it more difficult to prep for the week. Dedicate different areas of your fridge for each week. Many people use baskets to organize their shelves around their home. Using them for your fridge can help too. Put all of your Ziploc bags full of snacks for Monday in one basket. Put the snacks for Tuesday in another basket and so on.
Meal prepping is the best way to make sure your family eats healthy every day. You’ll save money and time.