Ideally, there’s always time for a nice family dinner. However, during those busy weeks, you may not have time to prepare an elaborate meal or sit everyone down at the dinner table each night. If you often find yourself in this situation you might turn to unhealthy options for a quick meal. However, there are ways that you can simplify meal prep to create healthier meals on your family’s busiest weeks. In this article we will suggest six different ways you can simplify your meal prep during the week.
Create a Meal Plan
Many families struggle with trying to figure out what to make each night. By creating a meal plan ahead of time, you can keep this from happening. Write down a list of all of the meals that you want to make. You can also ask your kids and spouse for suggestions and make a list of all of their favorites. If you can, try to choose meals to make during a week that use the same ingredients in different ways to cut down on food waste. Before you go grocery shopping, go through your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry to determine what you need to buy from the store. This will help ensure that you have all of the necessary ingredients to make each of your meals.
Have a List of Go-to Meals
If you’re tired of eating the same things for dinner every week, start replacing some of your old food choices with brand new, healthy ones. Instead of having to figure it all out on your own, grab a recipe book that can empower your family with the nutrients that will help you all have energy and building blocks. Start a meal prep plan, complete with lists and spreadsheets, so that you don’t have to make tough decisions when you’re hungry. This will help you easily choose what to make for dinner when you are having a hard time coming up with new ideas. You can even organize your spreadsheet based on how long each meal takes to prepare so that you are able to easily identify ones that are going to take the least amount of time when you are feeling extra busy.
Invest in the Right Small Appliances
Having the right small appliances can make all of the difference when it comes to meal prep. If you have a piece of meat that you want to slow cook, you can throw it into a crockpot in the morning, and it will be ready by the time that you get home. If you don’t have a lot of time in the morning to prepare a crockpot, a pressure cooker is a great option. You can use it to cook an entire meal in less than 30 minutes. Chopping tools can also help you cut down on the amount of time you spend prepping ingredients.
Make Simple Portable Meals
Some nights, there is just no time to sit down for dinner. You might be rushing kids to sports practices, music classes, church activities, or any number of other places. In this case, you might want to make something that can be quickly prepared and taken with them. Having them balance a plate of spaghetti on their laps on the way to soccer practice is a recipe for disaster.
Sandwiches and similar items are often a good choice for when you and your kids are on the go. Versatile ingredients like kaiser buns can be used to make sandwiches, paninis, or sliders for your kids to take with them. These are great because the buns make them easy to hold without making a mess. They’re also kid friendly, meaning that your picky eaters won’t have much to complain about when you’re short on time.
Prepare What You Can Ahead of Time
There are many different parts of meal prep that you can do ahead of time to prepare your family’s meals for a busy week. Wash and chop vegetables at the beginning of the week and store them in the fridge or freezer so that they’re ready to go on busy weeknights. Precook some of your meat, and place it in the freezer so that you can quickly heat it up when you need to use it. In order to make it easier, you should get everyone involved. There are plenty of things that your kids can do to help you prepare what you can ahead of time.
Order Meal Delivery Services
If you are a busy mom who is short on time, investing in meal delivery services can be worthwhile. You can order the ingredients to make your meals if you still want to feel like you are eating a home cooked meal rather than picking up some fast food. These delivery services often have the ingredients already measured out and sometimes even chopped for you. This makes meal prep as simple as possible for you. It can also take the stress of coming up with a meal plan every week off of your shoulders. Look into some local options for meal delivery near you.
If you are like a lot of families, you probably struggle to get food on the table in a timely manner during your busiest of weeks. Fortunately, there are some ways that you can simplify meal prep so that you can feed your family fairly quickly. Use some of the above tips to start reducing your daily stress and make dinner preparation as easy as possible for you.