Our Top 10 Time Saving Tips to Meal Prep Like a Pro
Dinner time can be so stressful! You’re exhausted, the kids are hungry, you walk in the front door after a long day and all of a sudden there's homework, dinner to prepare and a long list of things to take care of before the morning.
This can lead us to make some not-so-good food choices by grabbing something fast and unhealthy. We've all been there.
That's why we're sharing our top 10 meal prep tips to help those crazy weeknights go a lot smoother without spending all day Sunday being stuck in your kitchen!
Imagine a home-cooked meal in minutes at the end of the day or the lunches being already packed. Time savers can be one of the most important things in our busy lives.
Our Top 10 Meal Prep Tips:
- Keep it simple and start small, even by making just one meal and throwing it in the freezer for the busiest night of the week can make such a difference.
- Storage containers make meal prepping so much easier. They allow you to pre-portion and store prepared items. Most containers are relatively inexpensive and reusable, which is a huge bonus! See through containers are also a definite plus!
- Plan ahead. Take a look at your family’s schedule for the week. Pick your most challenging meal time or your most hectic time of day. Choose the busiest times and focus on prepping for those days. This could be planning a breakfast, the week’s lunches, two dinners, whatever makes life easier for you. If you know you work late, or the kids have sports on Tuesday evenings, that’s when you can come home and breathe a little easier knowing dinner is taken care of. A great tip is to pick foods that can be used in other recipes. Tuesdays tacos can be Wednesdays taco salad! Get the whole family involved in planning. Check out our amazing recipe section for tons of meal ideas!
- Cook once, eat twice. Make bigger batches when you cook, so you can enjoy leftovers for lunch or dinner another time. Make sure it's something you don't mind eating again. Cook your family's favorites! Being able to pull your favorite meal out of the freezer and re-heating is such a time saver! Cook things whole and use the leftovers for other meals. For example, a whole chicken or roast can be used for dinner, leftovers for soup and salads. Cook a whole spaghetti squash and have noodles for two meals.
- Pre chop add-ins.Prep things to be cooked or put together at a later time. This is a great time saver and ensures things like salads are fresh when you go to eat them and all of the hard work is already done. Chop onions, peppers and your favorite veggies and store them in separate containers. These can be quickly thrown in salads, stir frys or as a quick snack with our delicious high protein dips. Another great time saver is to pre-chop your salad greens and toppings (Add dressings later), pre-boil eggs and grate some cheese to have on hand for the week. Pizza is an all time favorite end of the work-week meal. Having the toppings prepared before hand, combined with our 3 ingredient pizza crust recipe is sure to make pizza night a breeze!
- Don't forget snacks! We love snacks so much, they probably should be at the top of our list! Having snacks readily available ensures your family reaches for them over packaged snacks. Veggie sticks, and easy no bake protein balls are perfect to have on hand for when that snacking urge hits!
- Take advantage of your kitchen gadgets. Slow cookers and instant pots are your best friends! Prep soup ingredients and freeze in a large freezer bag and let your slow cooker or instant pot do all of the hard work. Imagine, the busiest night of the week, coming home and having a hot, ready meal waiting for you and your family thanks to the slow cooker, and your amazing planning skills, of course!
- Assemble smoothie ingredients and freeze, you can even freeze your favorite milk in ice cube trays and transfer to your smoothie bags when cubes are frozen. Such a quick and super easy smoothie, just add your favorite Nutralean or Nutravegan, water and blend! Perfect for any time of day! Check out all of our smoothie recipes here, you're sure to find a favorite or two!
- Splurge on a couple of convenience items. Spiralized zoodles (zucchini noodles ), riced cauliflower, (you can even find it in the frozen foods aisle now). Pre-chopped bagged salads, slaws and pre-cut veggies can be good to have on hand, but can get expensive on a daily basis. Pick a couple of splurges for that week that will make your life easier. Frozen vegetables and berries are a quick and affordable option.
- Easy Breakfasts! Cooking Bacon in oven such a huge time saver! Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and bake at 400F for about 15-20 min. This method is great for big batches and cooks up perfectly. As a bonus, parchment paper means the clean up is so easy! Choose individual portioned breakfasts to make ahead and freeze such as these easy, deliciously filling heavenly egg bites or these amazingly easy chocolate chip pancakes that are made in the oven, (no frying pan required!) and freeze so well! Just heat and go!
Special Mention: Get the whole family involved! Split up the chopping, cooking and assembling freezer bags or containers. Choose tasks based on the children's comfort level and abilities. It can actually be a fun, bonding experience while teaching them important cooking skills! There are so many memories to be made in the kitchen!
We hope these tips will make meal prepping easier and help your week to go a lot smoother! Do you have a favorite meal prep tip you would like to share? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you!
Thanks for reading!