Meal prepping for your family

Meal prepping isn’t just reserved for calorie-counting gym-goers, it’s a fantastic tool that makes cooking healthy meals for your family a whole lot easier.

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘you are what you eat’, and while it may ring true, sometimes there just isn’t time in a mum’s busy schedule to ensure that every meal is a healthy one. This is where the magic of meal prepping comes into play – a method of preparing and cooking meals in bulk and in advance.

We all want to be around for as long as possible in order to see our children mature into fully-formed adults, and perhaps even have kids of their own. A healthy diet is fundamental to achieving this kind of longevity. It will ensure that not only will you live to see your grandchildren grow up, you will be sprightly enough to run around and play with them!

Saving time and money

Time and money are the two most valuable commodities in the world, and while trying to raise a family it can seem like we don’t have enough of either! More often than not, things that save us time, cost us money, and things that save us money, cost us time. Meal prepping is one of the rare instances of something that can save up both time and money, while ensuring we stay healthy and consistent with our nutrition.

Consistently planning out meals, shopping in advance and cooking in bulk may seem overwhelming but it will actually make life so much easier. Cooking time is consolidated into a couple of bulk cooks per week, as is the grocery shopping. You are far less likely to reach for unhealthy convenience foods if there are healthy, pre-prepared meals that just need to be warmed up. Eating out will be reserved for intentional times, as opposed to a necessity because there wasn’t anything in the fridge. So with the motivation to eat well and to ensure that our children do so alongside us, let’s take a look at where to start with meal prepping.

Tips for meal prepping for your family

Here are five tips to help make your meal prepping a success.

Plan ahead

In meal prepping, planning is essential and the first step is to draw up a meal plan for the week. Decide whether you’re going to have different meals every evening or if you’re going to eat the same dinner two nights in a row. From the list of meals that you create, write down all of the ingredients and from this, create your shopping list. Each family has different requirements, so examine what your own family’s needs are. Does anyone have any specific dietary requirements? Are you going to be meal prepping lunches as well as dinners? Questions such as these will help to put together a  bespoke meal prepping plan for your family.

Divide and conquer

Some mums feel swamped by the very thought of meal prepping. Hours spent in the kitchen, buying all the groceries at once and finding a way to store the food can be enough to put people off. It doesn’t have to be that way – meal prepping is best done one step at a time. Pick one day to get your groceries and do the majority of your cooking on a different day. Be prepared that you might need a smaller midweek visit to the supermarket to ensure you have fresh veggies, or to pick up something you may have forgotten on the main trip. Split the jobs up and everything becomes much more manageable.

Get creative

Another complaint that some people have about meal prepping is that they don’t want to eat the same food over and over again. It doesn’t have to be that way! Get creative with your meal plan and don’t be afraid to mix it up. You can streamline the process by overlapping some meals that share ingredients, but also feel free to cook a series of completely different meals. When it comes to these choices, do what works for you and your family. It’s easier if everyone’s tastes align, as trying to cater to each individual can create even more work. So find a middle ground that works for each member of your family and make sure to have a variety of meals to keep things interesting.

Fill up your freezer

One genuine obstacle to successful meal prepping is storage. If you don’t have somewhere to keep all of the food fresh, the plan will fall apart. A collection of airtight containers and ample freezer space are the most popular solution. The containers will work better at keeping your delicious food fresh than just putting tinfoil over the dish. If you have limited freezer space, consider investing in a countertop or a chest freezer if you have room at home. You’ll be able to store as much pre-prepared food as you need, saving you valuable time that you can spend with your loved ones.

Leave space for living

On social media, people who meal prep often present a perfect ( and unrealistic!) image of what it’s actually like. Remember that not every meal has to look like something from a cookbook, and mistakes will be made along the way. Sticking at it is the goal so try not to compare your efforts to those that you see online.

One final note is that meal prepping is a tool that you can use to ensure your family is eating healthily without taking up your whole week. Time is precious and should be spent enjoying life whenever possible. So make sure that you do still go out for dinner or have an impromptu pizza night at home! Meal prepping is not a restrictive idea, it instead allows us to spend intentional time with our loved ones, focusing on what matters most.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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