“Master the Art of Meal Prep”
Blog Five: Monday, 29 April 2019
Written by Mandy Sacher, CEO of Wholesome Child
This week, let’s tuck into mastering the art of meal prepping for a family!
Now, it can be a popular misconception that meal prep means boring, overcooked and tasteless meals, but I’m here to change that thinking.
As a busy parent, meal planning is essential to healthy eating and clever menu planning can also save you time and money. If your family is transitioning to a healthier lifestyle, a few hours on the weekend cooking up a storm can reboot your food shopping and make cooking healthy meals a stress-free event! It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3…
1. Getting started
Menu planning doesn’t have to be complicated. Focus on recipes that use similar ingredients and are ‘multi-tasking meals’ – meals that can be used to make nutritious and simple lunches the next day. My favourite multi-tasking meals are…
- Beef and Veggie Meatballs. Cook up a batch on the weekend and serve them for dinner as rissoles and leftover with pasta the next night.
- Homemade Pizza. This is perfect for a lazy Sunday night dinner and can be sent to school the next day cold.
- Baked salmon. Serve your salmon with homemade oven baked fries for a mid-week dinner, then mash up the leftovers with a good quality, preservative-free mayo and send to school in a wrap.
- Roast chicken. Who can look past a good ol’ fashioned roast dinner? Roast a chook or two on the weekend, and shred or cut into small pieces to add to buckwheat pasta, sandwiches or even pizza toppings for the week.
2. Make a plan
Making a list of go-to meals is one of the easiest ways to harness the power of meal prep. Over the next few days, I’d encourage you to grab a pen and paper and make a list of your family’s favourite dishes. Group these into multi-tasking meals, then plan your week of meals with these in mind.
For variety, you could even consider trying one or two new recipes a week and use a few old favourites to fill in the gaps.
3. Meal-prep Sunday
The key to meal-planning success is to start batch cooking. A few hours preparation on the weekend will guarantee you a freezer full of healthy, home ‘convenience’ meals.
Here are my top meal-prep hacks:
- Many recipes (including all the recipes in the Wholesome Child Nutrition Guide and Cookbook) are suitable for freezing, so double (or triple!) the quantities and freeze the extra portions. If you do this every week for a couple of weeks your freezer will begin to fill with wholesome meals for the days you haven’t got time to cook.
- It’s not just family dinners that can be prepared in advance. My kids love Pear and Raspberry muffins so I always double the batch and freeze some for school lunches during the week.
- When roasting vegetablesor steaming cauliflower, make extra for the next night’s dinner or for use in Sweet Potato Pikelets or Cauliflower Pizza.
- Cooking whole grains can be time-consuming, so plan ahead and double the portions you are cooking and place the extras in the freezer. Cooked grains such as quinoa, brown rice and even millet can be frozen. Freeze and reheat as needed.
Like any new habit, menu planning gets easier with practice. Over time, you’ll figure out the best tips and tricks that work for you and your family.