Meal Prepping Basics
As parents, we’re all familiar with the dinnertime panic. The kids are back from their activities, you’re home from work and everyone is hungry. Now you have to choose a recipe, prepare and cook an entire meal. Who has time for all of that?! But there’s a simple mealtime solution for people with busy schedules: meal prepping.
Meal prepping isn’t just for the ultra organized. It can be simple, easy and even fun! It just means setting aside an afternoon to prepare your ingredients and meals for the week. Planning in advance helps ensure healthy, home cooked meals even when juggling schedules. By being prepared and having food ready, you won’t be reaching for processed options. You can stick to eating raw, natural foods!
How To Get Started
Before you begin preparing your meals in the kitchen there are a few things you need to figure out first. How many meals do you want ready? How many people will you be feeding? Will you prep once or twice a week? Once you narrow this down, pick a day when you will have time to spend uninterrupted (as much as possible anyway) in the kitchen. Most people choose Sunday afternoons.
Multiple Meals, Similar Ingredients
Next, choose your recipes and make a list. We suggest picking one meat or protein to use in a variety of meals. If you don’t want to be eating a ton of leftovers, try selecting veggies and proteins that can be used in a variety of recipes. The goal isn’t to have one meal to eat all week, but an assortment of meals with similar ingredients. Selecting your recipes in advance can help to choose which foods to buy. That way you can throw the prepared ingredients together and voila!
Choose Nutrient-Rich Ingredients
When selecting your ingredients and recipes for the week, choose nutrient-rich foods. By preparing your meals in advance, you can pack in healthy and robust meals for you and your family. Cooking at home allows you to know that the foods you are eating haven’t been processed or altered. They are full of naturally occurring foods.
When looking to sweeten your meals, turn to honey to maintain the raw and natural quality of your food. With Nate’s honey, you know that your honey has not been processed or altered. We gently strain our honey to remove leftover bee parts and chunks of wax and then lightly warm it so it can slip into our bottles. Choosing Nate’s honey is just like cooking at home—you know exactly what’s in your food and what’s not. Our honey is just pure honey!
Now that you have your list full of real, good-for-you foods, it’s time to tackle the grocery store. Good luck!
Divide and Conquer
It’s time to get prepping. Try to first divide your food by grains, vegetables and protein rather than individual meals. Think about all the veggies you’ll want during the week and either roast or sauté, or chop, marinate and store. Next, move on to your grains. If you’ll be having pasta or rice during the week, go ahead and make that (even double it for lunches!) and store.
As we mentioned before, using one protein makes it really easy. Try cooking something that is simply marinated and can be used in your different meals. Chicken is a favorite of ours, particularly this Grilled Honey Garlic Chicken Recipe.
Moms and dads are excellent multi-taskers. And meal prepping is no exception. While it may seem overwhelming to cook so many things at once, multitasking helps get the job done quickly. After you put your chicken or veggies in the oven, chop your other ingredients and portion out snacks. Have multiple things in the oven at once and boil your rice or pasta simultaneously. Don’t forget about the slow cooker! You can throw your ingredients in and have the rest of the day to prepare your other foods.
With a little planning and setting aside some time, your family can have delicious home cooked weeknight dinners. Amazing, right?! Meal prepping can also be a great chunk of time for yourself. Put your favorite music or TV show on and enjoy making delicious natural meals. Goodbye weeknight dinner panic!