Easy Meal Prep Ideas for Exhausted Parents
Hunger is often at the root of the most annoying of kid behaviors. Everyone always talks about meal prepping and how much of a time saver it can be, but if your family is anything like ours meal prep often doesn't work - you make enough food for the whole week, but it's all eaten on day one! Here are some ideas that do work:
- Hard boil eggs - this works because nobody wants to eat a dozen hard boiled eggs on a Sunday night. The next day for lunch or in between Zoom classes they make a great snack.
- Pre-boil pasta/grains - boil a pack of pasta and stick it in the fridge. Warm it up with olive oil and some sauce anytime during the week that you’re strapped for time. You can also do this with rice, quinoa, potatoes.
- Prep veggies for dipping - healthy snacking is a lot harder when it involves prep time. Sometimes it's a lot easier to open up a bag of chips because you don't feel like washing, cutting and prepping veggies. Do it ahead of time! Wash and cut up celery, peppers, carrot etc. slices on the weekend, that way when hunger strikes you have everything ready to go.
- Grill/bake your meat of choice (mushrooms for vegetarian diets) - Marinade your chicken/steak/tofu/mushrooms a few hours ahead of time and when you're ready, pop it in the oven until thoroughly cooked. Cut it into slices and pack away into the fridge. Add to any of your meals all week.
- Prep smoothie ingredients in ziplocks and freeze - Mornings are usually the toughest time to eat healthy for families. Between showering, getting everyone ready for school/work there's barely enough time to brush your teeth. One easy way to get a healthy morning routine is by prepping your smoothie ingredients in a ziplock bag and freezing them. Throw it into a blender in the morning, add some milk and you've got yourself an easy breakfast.
Pre-cook oatmeal - If your little one is not a smoothie lover and prefers a hot breakfast, you can prepare a giant pot of oatmeal and store it in your fridge. Add a bit of milk and microwave for a minute each morning to get yourself an easy hot breakfast.
Pro Tip: most instant oatmeals are full of artificial flavoring, sugar and not to mention cost a lot more. Pour some uncooked oatmeal into a blender to make your own unsweetened instant oatmeal. Blend until the grains turn into coarse powder. Cook the same way you would store-bought instant oatmeal