Have you been seeing #MealPrep photos on social media recently? The pictures of perfectly portioned lunches for the week are inspiring, but might be a little intimidating. What busy mom has time or energy to arrange each ingredient just so for Instagram-worthy meals for an entire week? But you can take these meal prep strategies and adapt them to make cooking for your family easier during the weeknight rush.
- Focus on one recipe. It might be tempting to jump in head first, but starting slow is a better way to prep meals ahead. Choose one recipe to make in bulk.
- Plan for just four days. For best quality and food safety, food should be eaten within four days. You can still make a large batch to share with the whole family.
- Focus on fruits and veggies. Chopping veggies for meals later in the week is a great prep habit to take up. You’ll appreciate it when you can throw together dinner in 15 minutes and not have to chop anything! Wash, prep, and portion fruits and veggies for grab and go snacks.
- Keep a salad in the fridge. It could technically fall under the previous tip, but it deserves its own call out. Invest in a salad spinner (it’s 100% worth it). Make a simple salad each week and eat with any meal that needs a quick side. A head of lettuce, a few carrots and a bell pepper or cucumber will be cheaper than a bagged salad and can be made in just a few minutes. Bonus points if you make your own salad dressing, which is another simple and cheaper alternative to premade dressings.
- Make meal basics in bulk. Cook a large batch of brown rice, dried beans, baked potatoes, or baked chicken thighs and use for multiple meals in the week. Change up the seasonings and you can use these in different meals without getting bored.
- Double up recipes and freeze for later. This is the simplest meal prep strategy. It doesn’t take much extra time or effort to make a double portion of whatever you’re cooking. Freeze the extra meal and use later. These recipes make good freezer meals.
With these tips, you can jump in on the meal prep trend without going crazy. When you get more comfortable, you can add more prep ahead tasks to your routine. Share your #mealprep photos with us on Facebook or Instagram.