Every day I hear these same words as my kids come home from school, “Mom, what’s for dinner?” What I don’t hear is, Mom, I had a wonderful day at school, or I learned something new today, I want to show you my artwork or I did great on my test, nope my kids want to know what is cooking in the kitchen.
I was going nutty trying to figure out what my family was going to eat each night. (Let’s not talk about lunch or breakfast, we can discuss that in a later post) I had a freezer, pantry and refridgerator full of food and yet I had no idea where to start; it was overwhelming. Trying to prepare fabulously nutritious meals 7 nights a week is a daunting task for anyone, throw in a full time job, plus a part time job, plus being a parent, volunteer work, sports, homework and trying to have some “me” time so that I can keep up with the rest of my family and I’m left with zero time to make an amazing dinner….. or so I thought.
I knew there had to be a better way, there’s no way that mom’s all across the world were driving through the fast food lane each night buying their kids some heavily processed garbage in a happy box. I turned to the internet and the Food Network channel in order to figure out what successful mom’s were doing to feed their families.
Pinterest became one of my favorite sources as I am able to create boards and pin foods that I can create at a later time. You can organize your food pins based on type of foods, freezer meals, meats, pastas, vegan, crockpot, Mexican, Italian the possibilities are endless. http://www.pinterest.com/bellanatalia
The Pioneer Woman has several wonderful recipes that are packed with flavor and easy to make. http://thepioneerwoman.com/
I love the Food Network! I love watching all of the wonderful shows plus using their website for inspiration. http://www.foodnetwork.com/
Once I figure out what I will be making, I write out a list of ingredients that I need. I check my pantry, freezer and fridge to see if I already have those items, plus it’s a great way to do an inventory check on staple items. I do my best to buy everything organic, use as many farm fresh products as I can, shop locally and limit processed foods whenever possible. We are not gluten free and fortunatley none of us have any food allergies, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t pay attention to what we are consuming. Our food today is nutrionally bankrupt it’s frightening, therefore we supplement with vitamins, Isa Fruits and Isa Greens.
The busier our lives become the more important it is that we prepare food for the week ahead of time .My husband and I got to work. We rolled up our sleeves and decided that we were going to become masters of the Sunday meal prep ritual. What is a “Sunday Meal Prep Ritual” you ask? It’s preparing food ahead of time in order to make your life easier. We’ve learned to block out a few hours every Sunday to meal prep, in doing so it saves several hours during the week. We write out a weekly menu on a dry erase board and have it visible so that the kids can read it and no longer ask us “What’s for dinner.”
Prepping 75% of our food for the week allows us (me) to have a healthy, stress free week when it comes to meal planning. Notice that I said 75% of our food is prepared. I bet you’re wondering what I’m preparing, it’s the essentials: grilled chicken, shredded chicken, hard boiled eggs, brown rice, ground turkey, roasted veggies, whole wheat pasta, lean steak, chopped fruits, chopped vegetables, Peruvian beans and sometimes I will bake some healthy chocolate chip cookies for the kids.
Once we’ve cooked, grilled and chopped all of the food it’s time to assemble my husband’s lunches and put those aside. He is a creature of habit and takes his homemade lunch to work everyday; it’s healthier and saves a ton of money. Next on the list, is to store all of the veggies, fruits and meats in separate containers. It’s easy to pull out the remaining ingredients needed, toss them all together and create something totally yummy. By making the brown rice ahead of time it’s easy to toss in chopped veggies crack open an egg and make a healthy version of Asian Fried Rice paired with Ground Turkey Lettuce Wraps for dinner. My go to meals for lunch are salads. I love grabbing a protein, tossing some veggies and greens, topping it off with some fresh salsa and a slice of avocado and I am one happy mom. The possibilities are endless and no we do not get tired of eating the same foods. The staple items might be the same, but the seasonings, the combinations and how they are paired is what makes a huge difference.
The prepped food usually gets us through Friday and then we are back in the kitchen making something scrumptious for Saturday night. I actually love cooking on Saturday as it gives me time to bond with my daughter and pass on family receipes that have been with us for many generations, such as lasagna.
Do what works best for your family. You can definitely pick any day of the week it doesn’t have to be on Sunday, Sunday just happens to be the day we have chosen. Mix and match, get creative, try new dishes, determine what your family likes and stick to it. One other benefit of meal prepping is that we have discovered that our kids love to take leftovers the following day to school. This eliminates buying processed breads, deli meats, etc… and puts more money into savings so that we can travel and explore new foods in other countries.
Still don’t know where to start? Message us, we are happy to help! Happy Meal Prepping.