Moms, tell the truth, when you hear people talk about weekly food prep are you like:
Because I totally am.
As much as I love the idea that all my food will be prepped and ready to go on the weekend, I just don’t have multiple hours to spend in the kitchen to make that happen. To be completely honest with you, even if I did have the time, that’s not how I would choose to spend my time at this point in my life.
I’ve got these two goofballs to chase around. .
Right now, I just can’t, and I don’t want to, do these big “perfect” weekly meal preps each week.
I can however commit to doing just a little bit. Just a few things in the kitchen on Sundays while I’m already making dinner, that will make my life easier during the week.
When there is nutritious food that is easily available in my kitchen, my family will eat it. Shocking right?
If your life is feeling really busy right now, but you know it’s time to give a little more attention to your nutrition then read on my friends. I’ve got 5 tips for your imperfect food prep AND some sample recipes that would work great for you to try.
5 Simple Tips for Imperfect Food Prep
- Don’t try to do everything. What are a few things you could do that would make a big difference in your week?
What is that you’re currently struggling with?
Is it breakfast? Consistently eating vegetables? Getting enough protein?
You can’t do everything unless you’ve got 2-4 hours to devote to meal prep each week. So what are the biggest rocks for you right now? If we could improve 1 or a few areas of your eating habits which would have the biggest overall impact on your health and your goals?
Focus your time and attention on those 1-3 things.
For me, it’s vegetables and lunch. Though I love veggies, I usually forget to eat them until dinner time and when it comes to lunch I find myself eating out a lot. Devoting my food prep time to pre-chopping some veggies and having a couple of lunch options on hand makes the most difference for me.
Healthy eating has a bit of a snowball effect. The more you do it, the more likely you are to keep going. For example, if you eat a healthy breakfast, have a salad full of protein and veggies at lunch, well then you’re going to be less likely to order a pizza and have 3 beers with dinner. Not to mention, if you do decide to do the pizza and beer for dinner, well at least you’ve filled your body with nutritious food the rest of the day.
Again, perfection is not required. How can you do better than you did last week?
2. Chop some veggies. Bonus points for pre-cooking some to have on hand.
Chop some carrot sticks, celery, cucumber, literally anything that sounds good here. I’ve found that throwing some vegetables on the counter at snack time or when I’m making dinner is a really easy way to get my family to eat more of them. They are especially popular with dips like hummus, guacamole, homemade tzatziki, or a yogurt ranch.
Currently we are really digging the individual hummus cups from Sabra.
When it comes to pre-roasting veggies it’s actually SUPER easy.
Grab some veggies like zucchini, asparagus, green beans, Brussel sprouts and combine with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on a foil lined baking sheet and cook for 15-20 minutes at 375. You’ll want the veggies to be bright green in color but not still crunchy.
Sweet potatoes are another easy one to pre-roast and throw in with eggs in the morning or anytime you need a carb. Those will need to cook a bit longer 20-30 min at 400 degrees depending on how large you cut them.
3. Make a snack, preferably one high in protein
When I do take the time to food prep, I always like making a snack to have on hand for mid-afternoon. I try to go with something that both the kids and I will eat (Tyler is a lost cause on our snacks).
Current go too include muffins (Blueberry Banana adapted from this recipe, chocolate chip protein are good options), hard boiled eggs, and protein balls (peanut butter and birthday cake are our favorites).
4. Get a jump start on breakfast
Breakfast is an area that so many of us struggle with because if you have kids then your mornings are probably insane.
Am I right?
You’ve got yourself to get ready, one or multiple children, pets to feed, and someone (maybe you) is probably losing their shit. There’s just not a lot left over in that timeframe to make a hot, nutritious breakfast.
Giving yourself a little bit of help on the weekend can make a big difference.
Pre-cooking some ground breakfast sausage to throw in with eggs, getting overnight oats going, smoothie packets, or an egg bake are all great ideas. I have individual recipe ideas linked below for you.
5. Whip up a versatile protein you can eat throughout the week.
I’m all about convenience. How can I get the most bang for my buck when it comes to cooking?
Make a roast, use the leftovers for enchiladas.
Make soup, eat lunch for a week.
You get the idea.
I’m a big fan of throwing one thing together that we can eat for multiple different meals. This is often the easiest part of food prep because I’ll use the crockpot to do the heavy lifting for me.
Recently I made crockpot BBQ Chicken the leftovers I can use in salads, for bbq chicken pizza, and in bbq chicken quesadillas.
Another option is crockpot burrito bowls, the chicken you can use in tacos, quesadillas, over nachos, on top of a salad, or in a wrap.
Usually, whatever the main food I’m trying to make here we will eat for dinner and I’ll make sure we have more than enough for leftovers through the week (sometimes that means doubling the recipe).
Sample Meals To Prep
- Breakfast Burritos
A bit of a staple around here. I usually double or triple the recipe and keep them frozen. It will save you time if you throw one in the fridge the night before to thaw a bit. THIS is my go to recipe (I like to make my own taco seasoning though).
3. Burrito Bowls
4. BBQ Chicken
Muffins are one of our favorite go to snacks in this house. Sometimes I go the higher protein route and other times I choose ones with solid ingredients and not a lot of sugar.
- Pumpkin Muffins:
- 1 c. Almond Flour
- 3⁄4 c. Canned pumpkin
- 1/3 c. Maple syrup or honey
- 1⁄4 c. Coconut oil, melted
- 1⁄4 c. Coconut flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp. Cinnamon,
- 1⁄4 tsp. each: nutmeg, cloves, ginger
- 1⁄2 tsp. each: baking soda and baking powder
- 1⁄4 c. Mini Chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients. Bake 20 min or until set.
6. Energy Balls
They are fairly easy to make, you can freeze them (I.e. Double the recipe always), and kids generally dig them.
7. Egg Bake
Some mornings even making eggs can feel like a bit much. My family is a big fan of egg bakes and they are pretty damn easy. Find 1,000 different recipes on pinterest. Here is the one I use:
- 8 Whole Eggs
- 2/3 Cup Egg Whites
- 1 lb ground chicken breakfast sausage
- Chopped Onion
- Chopped Spinach
- 1/2 cup (give or take) shredded mozzarella cheese
- Seasoning to taste. I like the Breakfast Blend from Primal Palate
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 min. I prefer to use a 7×11 size pyrex dish to avoid the egg bake getting too thick
8. Snack Box
For the bargain price of $7-$9 you can pick up a snack box at your local meal prep store or Starbucks. Orrrrr while you’re doing some food prep you can throw a few of your own together.
9. Overnight Oats
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of overnight oats. Try as I might the consistency just doesn’t work for me. However, they are very popular with my clients so I thought I’d include a few of the recipes they have approved.
10. Roasted Veggies
I’m a big fan of roasting some veggies that I can eat for dinner AND will still taste good the next day. Ideas include green beans, zucchini, asparagus, brussel sprouts, and sweet potatoes.
The key to veggie roasting is cooking the veggies to a point where they are done, but still have a bright green color and some crunch.
You don’t have to get crazy with seasonings. A little olive oil, salt, pepper, and maybe garlic is sufficient. Follow Laurie King and check out her instagram stories for her weekly veggie prep.
Alright, so now you know that food prep doesn’t have to be this big undertaking. SOMETHING is better than nothing always and if you feel stressed about the entire idea, just pick 1 thing to each week. Simply chopping some carrots and cucumbers goes a long way to up my families veggie intake (as long as I remember to put said veggies on the counter for them to eat).
Good luck and let me know in the comments what food prep looks like at your house.