You might have read our recent post about why we have given up a large chunk of our Sunday each week over to cooking giant batches of food and storing it in brightly colored containers to consume later in the week.
We thought we would give a little more detail about how we go about planning and then prepping for the week.
The very first step is asking my beloved husband and children what they would like to eat for breakfasts, lunches and dinners in the upcoming days. This usually gives me a variety of answers - all forms of I don't know, I don't care, or I am a cat today, meow. (Yes, really.)
The next step is looking through the fridge for all perishable items that need to be used up before they become science projects. This results in a large pile on the kitchen counter. We like to refer to it as Fridge Mountain.
For planning we try to keep things simple - usually three dinners, two breakfast items and sandwiches and salads for lunches. Since we are making good sized batches - this lasts until Friday with the minimum amount possible to throw out.
Breakfasts - Oatmeal with flax, coconut oil and fruit is a quick and nutritious breakfast. So why make it ahead? There is nothing as loud as a hungry child who's breakfast has been stuck in the freezer to cool. We like to avoid that headache early in the morning. It's easy to just add a little hot water to the cold oatmeal and mix it up to edible consistency. We also make pancakes and muffins ahead - double the batch and store in the fridge or freezer.
Lunches - Kid lunches in our house are "toast". It's Berlin Bakery Bread, toasted lightly with peanut or sunflower seed butter and jelly. Cut into square or triangles depending on the child. If you give the wrong shape to my five year old you will hear about it for DAYS. We also cut up fruits and veggies ahead. We get away with doing two days ahead at a time to avoid staleness. Grownup lunches are either sandwiches, salads or the same stuff as dinners - also made or portioned ahead.
Dinners - PASTA! It's a GREAT make ahead item. My kids will ALWAYS eat pasta. The two year old demands it for breakfast. Add frozen veggies to the boiling water at the same time to save both dishes and time. Pizza is another favorite that does really well in the fridge for a few days.
For soups I love my instant pot. It's great for cooking beans with no soaking required. You can also make perfect quinoa each and every time without watching a pot!
As far as cooking logistics go - I start with the items that take the most time and then fit everything else around those. So while pizza dough rises I make "toast" and cut up veggies. While pasta boils I make hard boiled eggs in the instant pot.
We also make a list of all the things we intend to cook and cross off as we go. It helps keep us (me) on task and prevents forgotten items.
Hopefully you enjoyed hearing about our crazy adventures with food prep. If you liked this post - please share!
Have you tried meal prepping for your family? Share your tips and tricks in the comments!