You have wrapped up another work day, are racing out the door to pick up your kids, get them to their activities in time, and also need to feed your family. When we don’t have a plan we find ourselves in line at the drive through or cooking another frozen pizza. Prepping food and standing over the stove is the last thing on your to-do list. With some planning it is possible to save time, save money, and provide healthy meal options for your family all week long with little effort.
Fortunately, there is a solution that can help you save time and won’t leave you hungry. Must-haves in our kitchen, in addition to the standard kitchen appliances are our Instapot and Air fryer. Meal prepping is a great way to save you from spending hours every single day in the kitchen. There are a few different ways to meal prep. A simple way to start could be to pick a day, for our family it is Sunday, and pick a main entrée that you can include in every meal. For example, you may cook up chicken breasts and then over the course of a few days use them in different meals. This could include: chicken and rice, chicken and broccoli, chicken and a sweet potato, and chicken salad. Whatever the combination, it will save you time having everything planned out. Our family loves to use Snapware glass storage containers. We will weigh and portion out the food and freeze. A rough rule of thumb for portions are 4-6 oz of protein, 1/2 cup rice or potato, and 1-2 cups of vegetables. This makes for fast meals on the go to eat at work, as well.
Not having a plan or being prepared tends to lead to unhealthy food choices. Let’s face it at the end of the day you may be physically and mentally tired and then have to cook for your family. This may lead to you grabbing that frozen pizza, package of mac-n-cheese, or going out to eat! Eating out can be expensive when you do it frequently. With prepping ahead of time, this will help you stay on track budget-wise and limit the fast food stops on the way home.
It is common knowledge that eating more healthy foods will help you feel better. Don’t believe me? Try eating clean for a week and then making a trip to McDonald’s. You see, our bodies aren’t equipped to eat over-processed greasy foods on a regular basis. By incorporating healthier foods into your daily diet, your body can get the nutrients it needs to run efficiently! Also, when eating smaller portions more frequently throughout the day, your metabolism can increase, and you can burn more calories. I invite you to try meal prepping. Make this a family event. Create simple tasks and instructions your children can follow. You are creating life-long healthy eating habits for them. After all, our health is most important for us to be the best we can be!
–Melanie Dockter, DC CACCP