Meal prepping is a great way to help you and your kids succeed this year! Helping your kids fuel up with nutritious, prepped meals makes for a smooth, healthy school year.
I am so excited to bring to you a brand new series on The Gingered Whisk! Every few weeks there will be a guest poster who is crazy knowledgeable in their field come teach us something new about how to get the most out of our lives in (and out of) the kitchen. Today, Kasey from The Well Fed Soul is here to teach us all about Meal Prepping! Kasey is a Physican’s Assistant and has a huge passion for helping women end that crappy dieting cycling and learn to live and eat joyfully, and treating your body to wholesome foods, physical activity and a nourished mind. I love her philosophy on balance!
September means your kids are back in school, you’re busier than ever with sports practices, music lessons, and gymnastics classes, but you really want to stay healthy through it all (and survive the school year).
You feel like you have zero time for anything when school starts back up. I may not totally be speaking from experience (no kids yet, ha!), but I did grow up with two much younger sisters who kept our family extremely busy. I remember many nights of PB&J’s and goldfish crackers eaten on the road to a practice. I loved PB&J’s fiercely, but they aren’t the most nutritious option for dinner! So how do you serve your family healthy dinners that come together in no time on a weeknight (and serve it early enough so your kid doesn’t get a stomachache while he’s at soccer practice)?
I know that most of us want to provide nutritious, wholesome meals for our kids as they grow. As a PA in primary care, I’m always pushing for more fruits, veggies, and whole grains, and less of the junk foods, processed foods, and fast foods. Especially in our children! But how do you do that easily?
Well, don’t worry too much. I’ve got you covered!
5 Easy Ways to Make Meal Prep Attainable and Affordable.
1. Get organized! Clear out your pantry and make room for nutritious options. Clean out old boxes of long forgotten food, making way for a new supply. Leave a few shelves open specifically designed for healthy on-the-go snacks for school lunches. Consider using these shelves for things like trail mixes, organic and low sugar granola bars, roasted chickpea packs, whole wheat and organic crackers, etc.
2. Meal plan ahead of time. Each week, write out a list of healthy lunches and dinners for the family. Purchase your groceries according to that plan, which will save you both time and money in the grocery store. Focus your meal planning around wholesome meals, rich in vitamins and minerals and a variety of colors.
For healthy back to school lunches, have enough extras to send your child (and yourself!) with a serving of fruits and vegetables, such as an apples or fresh fruit mixes, celery and peanut butter, fresh veggies and dip, and more!
TIP: When you’re meal planning, don’t forget to write down side dishes, too! Instead of writing down “Baked Lemon Chicken”, make sure you know what you’re serving with it.
3. Prep it all at once. When you get home from the store, take an hour to chop all your veggies for the week and pack them in individual containers. Prep chicken by portioning it into 1 or 1 ½ pound portions and storing in the refrigerator or freezer for easy use. Make grains like quinoa, and brown or black rice ahead of time to save yourself time prepping dinner during the week. Whip up any sauces, marinades, or dips you plan to use for the week, too. Separate your kids’ snacks into sandwich bags or containers so they’re ready to pack for lunches! And you’ll save even more time if you can get your kids to help you!
TIP: you and your kids are more likely to grab fresh fruits and veggies for snacks if they’re precut and ready to go!
4. Freezer meals and the slow cooker are life-savers. These are your secret weapons. Some meals can be prepped and stored in gallon-size bags, then stored in the freezer until you’re ready to cook! The slow cooker is an easy, hassle-free way to have a great meal ready for dinner without any work. Use it for soups or stews, turkey meatballs, stuffed bell peppers, curry, shredded taco or BBQ chicken… the list is endless.
The last huge time-saver: Meal Prep Nourish Bowls!
Nourish Bowls are a super simple way to put dinner on the table in just a few minutes and have enough leftovers for lunch for several days! All you need is some time on a Sunday, a batch of grains, fresh vegetables, and a great sauce! Nourish Bowls (or Buddha Bowls) are just that: nourishing bowls filled with complex carbohydrates, fibrous vegetables, fresh fruit, protein, and healthy fats – the perfect, filling meal for any weeknight.
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