Food Prep Series: Tips & Tricks For Beginners
Do your weeks feel like an endless circle of carpools, playgroups, mommy and me classes, music, soccer, tending to newborn babies or even working out of the house and then coming home to tend to your family? Whether you are a working mom or a stay at home mom one thing is for sure, time is truly of the essence and there is certainly not enough of it to go around. Along with all of the other duties that fall into a mom’s line of work, we know that you want to offer your family healthy, nutritious meals. Do you ever feel like this will require more time than you can possibly squeeze into your daily schedule? Don’t let the guilt overcome you! Carve out some time every week to prep your meals and you will be well on your way to a healthier, simpler weekly eating plan!
Implementing a food prep day or food prep routine into your week will help you save time throughout the week and will make eating healthier a much more obtainable goal! There are many different ways or methods of food prep. Some people use one day of the week to prep almost every meal they will eat for the remainder of the week while others use some allotted time to simply chop vegetables, prep some meals and plan out their menus. Whichever method works best for your family, we are here to offer some great “tips and tricks” to make food prep a smooth process.
Finding the Time
This is perhaps the single most important part of food prep. Unfortunately, time is hard to come by. Keep in mind though, just how important healthy eating truly is. Eating healthy doesn’t just make you feel good, it impacts so many aspects of your life. A healthy, balanced diet provides nutrients that your body needs to function properly. These nutrients keep your heart beating, give you energy, activate your brain and keep your muscles working. The vital nutrients also help build and strengthen bones, muscles, tendons and regulate body processes, such as blood pressure. Proper nutrition can lower your risk of developing a range of chronic diseases. And, of course, improving your eating habits will contribute to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. For these reasons and so many more, it is critical that you make healthy food choices for yourself, and your family. Food prep is a fantastic way for you to begin.
Tips For Finding the Time:
- Ask your husband or significant other to do an activity with the kids in another part of the house or take them out for a fun activity for a few hours.
- Consider having a mother’s helper come into your house to give you some time to get your food prep completed. Since you are already home, often a mother’s helper is less expensive than a babysitter.
- Do your kids take good naps? Allot one or two of their nap times to food prep. Grab a cup of coffee, crank up the tunes and get those veggies chopped!
- Do you have friends or family members that are constantly offering to help watch your child? Take them up on their offer! Never be too proud to accept help!
- As a last resort you can always use a little “TV Time” to get your food prep done! Pick an educational show for your child, and get yourself into the kitchen.
Prep Tips for beginners
- Have a plethora of Tupperware or storage containers available. You will need them!
Rubbermaid has a great collection of affordable tupperware. The lids are easy find and they attach to the bottoms of the containers.
- Do what works best for you. If cooking everything at once on one day is too much, then pick two days to meal prep
- If you are brand new to food prep, start slowly! Begin by prepping one to two meals for the first week and increase how much you are prepping as you become more comfortable. If you start off trying to do your whole weeks menu, you will become overwhelmed.
- Don’t try new or foreign recipes! When you are just starting out stick to recipes your know and already love! You can then be confident in the outcome of the recipe and the only thing you need to focus on is preparing it ahead of time. In time, when you are more comfortable, you will be able to add new, adventurous recipes in your repertoire.
- Prioritize! What would make the biggest difference in your week? This is HUGE! If you are strapped for time prep the meals that take the most time to make, or will make your life the easiest. If you’re most strapped for time in the morning, consider prepping your breakfasts for the week. Likewise, if you are strapped for time at the end of the day, focus on dinners.
- Food Prep isn’t just cooking! Though many do food prep by cooking all their meals for the week, develop a system that works for you. This could mean chopping up onions, peppers, and other vegetables ahead of time for recipes, washing fruits and vegetables so they are ready for snacks and portioning out nuts, crackers, or other food items for snacks. Other things you can do ahead of time include pre-cutting chicken or beef to be recipe-ready or getting all your beans soaked and cooked. Do whatever is most essential to your busy lifestyle!
- There is no right or wrong way to food prep Don’t get bogged down by feeling like it should be done a certain way. For food prep to be sustainable it needs to fit into your lifestyle. However you choose to food prep, be sure that it will save you time during the week. This could be as simple as hard boiling all of your eggs for week of grab and go breakfasts, or as complicated as prepping 5-7 days worth of meals. Find what works best for you and consider adding more into your prep cycle every week!
- Give it time to reap the benefits! Food prep is about making your life easier! Though this may mean a little more work upfront, the payoff will be great. Remember it takes 3 weeks to form a habit! Don’t throw the towel in if it doesn’t go quite as planned the first time. Keep at it long enough to see the benefits and experience the results.
Time to get Started
We want to help ease you into a new and healthier prepping and eating routine. As we said, the key to that is starting slowly. Pick a prep day and time that works is going to work best for you. Pick a few things that are going to make this week easier.
Try to add 2-3 of these into your rotation for the next few weeks:
- Pre-chopping vegetables used on a regular basis (onions, pepper, potatoes etc.)
- Hard boil a dozen eggs to use throughout the week
- Make a large serving of oatmeal in the crockpot or as overnight oats; save in fridge and reheat in the mornings
- Chop up your favorite vegetables for snacks and leave them stored in the fridge
- Pre-prep your favorite crockpot meal: Store everything in a baggies so all you have to do is combine in the crock pot with spice and go!
- Make 2 large salads to last throughout most of the week
- Cut up a large selection of fruit to use for snacks throughout the week
- Cook up a large portion of a meal that can be reused throughout the week: Meat or Vegetarian Chili is a great option
Photo Credits: It’s A Logical Life
Trackback from your site.
Jessica is a holistic health counselor and work from home mom living in the middle of nowhere USA with her sweet little boy! She suffers from a serious case of compulsive globe-trotting and is always counting the days until her next move or adventure. You can often find her trying to get in her exercise in by lunging through the park while chasing after her very energetic little boy! She is constantly fueled and energized by her love for healthy eating and occasionally copious amounts of caffeine.