As a mother of 2 myself, I know how busy you are. The last thing you want to worry about is what you’re serving the family for dinner, right? The best way to combat this challenge is by planning AND spending the time to actually meal prep.
I used to write meal plans all day every day. Ok, maybe not THAT extreme but I did write many meal plans as well as put together comprehensible meal prep videos to go along with the plans. Speaking from that experience and from the many testimonies received, all the frustration in the beginning is well worth it.
How do busy moms meal prep?
Naturally, you should have a few meal ideas in mind. Or even better get it on paper, digitally written or whatever floats your boat. I used to write all the meal plans for Super Healthy Kids and to get the members started here is what I typically suggested:
- plan 4 dinners, 2 or 3 lunches, 2 breakfasts and a snack (this keeps you sane on the road towards a meal planning maven)
- check the fridge and pantry before heading to the grocery store (you may have an alternate food option on hand that could save a little money OR you could have a few frozen leftovers to use up)
- be sure to have enough storage containers and be mindful of your schedule because prepped food won’t last forever
- if it’s in your budget, buy the precut produce
- enlist in the family for some extra hands (even the littlest ones can help)
What should I meal prep?
This is definitely something you will adjust according to your personal preference but here are a few things that I typically prep.
- grains (they actually freeze great, too!)
- veggies (except mushrooms since they can become mushy)
- muffins and breads
- frozen smoothie bags
- some animal proteins (chicken, pork, shrimp, sausage)
How long do meal preps last?
As I mentioned before, I have written several meal plans with the busy mom in mind and put together prep plans as well. If the food prepped is not going in the freezer then here are my best time frames to keep the food you have prepped.
- Carrots, celery and potatoes can be kept for several days if you cover with water in an airtight container. Just be sure to change the water every few days.
- Bell peppers, cucumbers, spiralized veggies, if stored in an airtight container (canning jars work best) can last for 3-4 days and sometimes even longer (the smaller the size cut of veggies and the more moisture, the less time they will last).
- Salad greens, if stored in an airtight container with a paper towel, can last for a week.
- Fresh berries store best when in an airtight container lined with a paper towel. They will stay fresh for 5-7 days (but who has them uneaten that long anyways?). I have recently been using an aerated container that is pretty cool. With these containers the liquid and moisture pools on the bottom while the berries are kept above it in the mesh section.
- Grains and pastas should be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Cooked animal proteins should be used within 3-5 days when stored in an airtight container.
- Raw proteins (because sometimes I prefer to simple cut up chicken or pork ahead of time) should be used within the time specified on the package.
So how about a sample meal prep?
Check out the video here and more specifics on how I prep as a busy mom! Oh yeah! Keep scrolling for links for a few other recipes featured in this video.
Banana Chocolate Muffins
- 1 1/4 cup flour, all purpose
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 5 tablespoons avocado oil or melted butter
- 3 medium bananas, ripe
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. Line muffin tin with liners or spray lightly with cooking spray.
- Add all dry ingredients, through the nutmeg, to a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, add eggs, sugar and oil. Whisk together. Mash bananas and add to wet mixture.
- Gradually stir the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix until just combined being sure that all the dry ingredients have been fully incorporated.
- Pour batter into muffin pan, evenly filling each cup. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
The prep video above included the muffin recipe as well as Ground Turkey Tacos, Egg Muffins Recipe, Chicken Parmesan and Energy Bites. In addition to those recipes I had also prepped carrot sticks and cucumber slices since I was already cutting veggies for the recipes.
Love the idea of meal prepping but dread the planning aspect of it? Well, be sure to grab this meal plan, meal prep guide that even includes a grocery list! This is sure to get your started on the right foot.