Ready for one of the best adulting hacks I’ve learned over the years? MEAL PREP! As a busy mama with little to no free time, I can’t waste my energy on chopping and cooking every part of every meal every single day. (I’m exhausted just writing that!)
Why I Recommend Meal Prepping:
- It saves time when most of the meal is already prepared in advance. Wash and chop fruits/veggies, cook the protein & grains that can just be reheated, and create marinades/dressings that can be used later in the week. When it’s time to eat, everything just needs to be combined!
- Portion control! Planning meals/snacks in advance and doling out what you will need helps regulate what you eat.
- Eating healthier: oftentimes, when we’re in a rush (aka just got home from the kids’ soccer game and everyone is hangry and needs food stat), the easy way out is to reach for something quick without thinking, which often leads to less nutritious eating. When a meal is pre-planned, you can actually figure out what healthy options you want to feed your family to ensure everyone gets the vitamins + nutrients needed for a well-balanced diet.
- Saves you money and reduces waste! With meal prepping, you know the exact ingredients you’ll need for the week, so no more wasting money on groceries that you don’t end up using. It also reduces the cost of eating out or ordering food in when you don’t know what to make for a meal. Wastage of food is such a pet peeve of mine, and meal prepping solves this problem!
Tips For Meal Prepping:
- Get yourself some leak-proof, freezer-safe food storage containers. We love our Zoku 11-piece Neat Stack because they nest into each other (saves space in our kitchen cabinets), have leak-proof lids, are color coordinated with exact measurements on the sides of the containers, and come with a freezer pack that snaps onto the lid so you can take your lunch with you on-the-go. Zoku also makes a Pocket Utensil Set that’s designed to replace single use plastic ware. The nesting set contains a spoon, fork, and knife in a slim travel case. We use the containers + travel utensils together for picnics, lunchboxes, etc. Use code LIVLAUGHCOOK for 10% off all Zoku products on their website www.zokuhome.com
- Cook in large batches so you have leftovers for multiple meals throughout the week.
- Make sure you also freeze whatever you won’t be able to eat for the week.
- Get the kids involved! I find that when I involve my children in the meal prep and cooking process, they’re more interested in eating the food we create together.
- Make a list of easy meal prep ideas so that you always have inspiration on hand for make ahead meals.
- Be sure to also check out 6 Easy Eco-friendly Swaps for Packing a Waste-free Lunch
Family-Friendly Meal Prep Recipes
Quinoa is one of our favorite grains to meal prep because it’s a great source of plant protein, is gluten free, high in fiber, and contains loads of vitamins. It’s also super easy to meal prep + freeze! This meal combines healthy fats from creamy avocado, the aromatic fresh flavors of dill, salty feta, cook + crisp cucumbers, and sweet tomatoes in this wow-factor salad. As with all salads, make sure to add the citrus dressing once you’re ready to eat it and not before when prepping for the week!
Watermelon Salad with Feta
The bold flavors of sweet watermelon, refreshing mint, and tangy lime pair so well together for a light summer meal. Easy to meal prep, all it takes is some washing and cutting of fruits, spinach, and cheese to prepare this fun main or side dish. It’s one of our favorite picnic meals!
Vegan Rainbow Rolls
These vegan veggie rolls are a great way to pack a bunch of different veggies into one meal. They’re paired with aromatic herbs, protein rich chickpeas, and a creamy sweet peanut butter dipping sauce. This recipe is great for meal prepping because all of the chopping of veggies + fruit can be done beforehand!
Summer Bean + Corn Pasta Salad
As a vegetarian mama, beans are my go-to for a rich protein source. I find that they pair well with corn and come together for a full meal when combined into a pasta salad. This summer dish works well as a main meal or side and can be meal prepped by cooking the pasta beforehand, in addition to chopping your veggies and roasting the corn.
This post is sponsored by Zoku Home and also contains affiliate links. All writing and opinions are my own.
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