Family Meal Prep (PLUS: 10 Tips on How to Get Started)
This Family Meal Prep is a great way to start the week out on a healthy note! Having a selection of healthy foods that are ready to eat or cook with, will save you time (and your sanity) during the busy week. PLUS – 10 Tips on how to get started meal prepping.
Family Meal Prep
I’ve never really been one for meal prepping on the weekend. It seemed daunting and overwhelming to have the girls hanging around (and all over me) while I was trying to zoom through the kitchen and make a stock-pile of food for the week.
But then I realized last fall, that I was struggling to get healthy meals on the table each night. The girls have after school activities 3 nights of the week, which means we get home super late, there is homework and baths to get done and no plan for a dinner. It was an all out mad dash to come home and get food on the table. Which means there was a ton of quesadillas, cereal and other not so healthy meals being served.
So after months of struggling, I finally wised up!
I started meal prepping sporadically last fall and I realized that the weeks that I committed to the time on a Sunday morning to food prep, were by far the most organized and less chaotic weeks of the month.
So, this year I am committing 1 hour each weekend to meal plan and prep food for my family.
These foods can be items for lunches, dinners or snacks.
I usually do a mixture all of those meals, based on what is happening that week.
Do you feel imtimidated by meal prepping? I think that is totally normal! It’s a big chunk of time and energy to dedicate to something, that for some of us, is hard to wrap our heads around.
10 Tips on how to get started
- Set a time limit: by setting a time limit you know what you are getting yourself into. You might not be able to get your entire food prep list done your first week, but whatever you do get done is great! You will appreciate all your hard work during the busy week, promise!
- Start Small: Don’t think you need to cook all of the meals you are going to eat for the entire week on your first time meal prepping! You can slowly work you way to that if that is your goal, but I have found that no matter how many foods get prepped on the weekend are super helpful throughout the week. So start with a goal of getting 5 or so items done on the weekend and go from there. You will catch on and become a master food prepper in no time at all.
- Have a Selection of Different Food Items: I find it helpful to have some items that just need to be chopped and washed and a couple that need to be cooked.
- Make a Meal Plan: sit down and make a sketch of what your week looks like. That way you can see what days you need to have prepped dinners ready to go.
- Shop your Pantry, Fridge and Freezer First: make sure you check out what you already have in your house before you meal plan. This will save you both time and money, plus it will cut down on your food waste.
- Grocery Shop or Better Yet, get your Groceries Delivered: if meal prepping sounds overwhelming as is, then I would suggest you have your groceries delivered (if that’s an option) the first couple of weeks that you have committed to meal prepping. It’s just one less thing for you to have to do. If it’s not an option, schedule time to grocery shop before the day you start meal prepping.
- Empty your Dishwasher Beforehand: I love it when my dishwasher is completely (or almost) empty. That way all you have do for clean up is do a quick rinse of your dishes before tossing them into the dishwasher and hitting the Start button.
- Clean out your Fridge Beforehand: having your fridge cleaned out of all the old leftovers, half eaten bags of salad and random foods will help you make room for all of your newly prepared foods. Don’t forget to wash your tuberware before you start your meal prepping so you have lots of containers to work with.
- Ask Your Family for Ideas or Meals they Want that Week: one way I curb picky-eating is that I always ask my girls what they want to eat for dinners and lunches the week ahead. Sometimes they get really specific (like the blueberry oatmeal Ellie asked for this week) and sometimes it’s just a general request. And yes, pizza is almost always on their lists 😉. Which is totally fine with me! Friday night, we usually make or order in pizza. I add tons of veggies to their plates and I don’t worry about it too much.
- Have Your Family Help: you can definitely set up a station and get your kids slicing and dicing those fruits and veggies for you. For me, that is sometimes beyond overwhelming for me. But other weeks, I have some extra time and don’t mind them making a mess and helping out. You be the judge of this with your family, and it’s totally okay to just put them in front of a screen and enjoy your hour of food prepping for a healthy week. I definitely put my husband to work, he usually does the dishes, helps with the chopping or takes the girls to the park so I can prep away with my own music blasting.
What Foods we Eat
Here is an overview of what type of foods we eat as a family.
- Elliette (7): requested the blueberry oatmeal and will eat pretty much anything.
- Parker (5): asked for eggs and is selective around carbs but is pretty open to most other foods.
- Hubby: is a vegetarian.
- Me: I am having some stomach issues (I’m currently testing for SIBO, if you know what that is) and have a limited diet that is gluten-free, sugar-free, soy-free, bean-free, limited dairy and am trying to eat only cooked veggies, white rice and lots of meat. This isn’t my preferred diet, but it makes my stomach not feel like it will explode, so I are going with it for now.
With my husband and I eating on different food spectrums, I know first-hand how hard it is when everyone in the family eats different foods. I am a firm believer that my kids eat what foods we adults eat, so I try to vary it up with ton of produce paired with a variety of different proteins and grains.
Meal Plan for the Week
Monday – Gluten-Free Kale Pesto Pasta with Broccoli
Tuesday – Kale Salad – chicken on mine, chopped broccoli and cauliflower on my husbands and rice on the side for the girls
Wednesday – Sheet Pan Shrimp Tacos – hubby will have black bean and pepper tacos
Thursday – leftovers or snack plates (we get home at 6:30 on Thursdays and I’ve given up trying to make a regular dinner)
Friday – Pizza and Movie Night!
Saturday – leftovers
Sunday – Sheet Pan Veggies with Chicken and Tofu – will use up any veggies we didn’t eat during the week and make extra chicken and tofu for salads for the upcoming week.
What I prepped this week for Family Meal Prep:
All of the recipes are below in the recipe card.
- washed and chopped kale
- washed grapes
- cut cantaloupe
- chopped broccoli and cauliflower
- cut and grated carrots
- made rice in the instant pot
- made hard boiled eggs in the instant pot
- blueberry oatmeal
- kale hemp seed pesto
- spiced chicken
Total Time: 1 hour (including washing dishes)
Process of Prepping these Foods:
- I put the eggs in the instant pot (I use the 5/5/5 method – 5 minutes on manual, 5 minutes natural release, 5 minutes in an ice bath
- Then I washed the grapes and plucked them from the stems (my girls won’t eat grapes if they are attached to the stems🙄), and cut the cantaloupe into chunks and slices.
- Next up I chopped the carrots and grated some for salads, chopped up a head of broccoli and cauliflower and washed and chopped some kale.
- Once the hard boiled eggs were done, I rinsed out the instant pot and then made the rice. I can only eat white Jasmine rice but you can cook any grain for the week that your prefer.
- I had some leftover rotisserie chicken, so I chopped that up and added some spices to jazz it up a little by sautéing it in a skillet.
- While the chicken was heating up I added the oatmeal and blueberries to the stove and cooked that for 8 minutes.
- Finally, I got out the food processor and made the kale hemp seed pesto.
- I had a cup of coffee and then got to work on the dishes, which only took me 5 minutes or so since I just tossed everything in the dishwasher and hit the start button 😆.
I wanna know, what do you find challenging about meal planning or food prepping? I would love to answer all your questions below!
DID YOU MEAL PREP?
I’D LOVE TO KNOW HOW IT TURNED OUT! LEAVE A COMMENT AND A ⭐️ RATING BELOW 👇
Get the recipe: Family Meal Prep – How to Get Started
- 1 Ib cooked chicken
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp coconut aminos
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp italian sesoning
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- salt and pepper, to taste
Kale Hemp Seed Pesto
- 1/2 cup kale, packed
- 1 cup basil, packed
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds, or nut or your choice
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 cups water or milk
- 1 1/2 cups old-fashion oats
- 1 cup blueberries
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla
Other Foods to Prep
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 lb carrots
- 1 head broccoli
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 bunch grapes
- 1 cantaloupe
- 1 dozen eggs
- 2 cups rice, or other grain
- 3 cups water or stock
- Heat a skillet over medium heat, drizzle in the olive oil and heat for a minute. Then place the chicken in the skillet and spirnkle all the spices on top, stirring until gently browned. If using raw chicken, place a drizzle of olive oil in the skillet and heat on medium heat before browning the chicken before adding all of the spices.
Kale Pesto with Hemp Seeds
- Place all of the ingredients, except the olive oil into a food processor. Turn on the food processor and slowly add the olive oil into the pesto, scraping down the sides of the food processor, until the pesto is completely combined and to your liking.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a gently boil. Add in the oats, blueberries, cinnamona and vanilla and turn down the heat to low. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until the oats have soaked up the water and are tender.
Rice and Eggs in Instant Pot
- For the Eggs – place the eggs ontop of the trivet. Add 1 cup of water to the bottom. Select 5 minutes on Manual Pressure. Do a 5 Minute Natural release. Place the cooked eggs in a large bowl filled with ice and water for 5 minutes. Take the eggs out and place on a towel until dried.
- For the Rice – wash the rice in a fine mesh colander and place in the Instant Pot, add water. Select the Rice function and let cook. Manual release after cooking time is done, fluff with a fork.
Other Foods to Prep
- Chop the broccoli, cauliflower, canteloupe, kale and carrots.
- Wash the grapes.