How To Meal Prep Like A Pro

Have you ever seen pictures of perfectly prepared food in little containers and wonder how other moms do it?

Perhaps you think you are too busy to cook, so you resort to serving frozen dinners each night.

While there’s no shame in doing the best you can, there are ways you can learn to meal-prep and serve healthy nutritious food to your family, without spending hours cooking every night.

Here are 4 simple tips to help you get started:

  1. Plan Ahead:Having all your meals prepped and accessible isn’t something that magically happens.

It takes deliberate planning, and well thought out steps.

First, take the time to research what you actually want to cook. There are hundreds of healthy recipes online, pick out a few with similar ingredients, and begin your plan.

Start small. Preparing recipes with 20 ingredients might be overkill.

Look for items such as black beans or stock that can be used to prepare multiple items.

  1. Shop Smart:Before you head to the grocery store, do an inventory of what you already have.

You might have forgotten about the can of stock in the back of your cupboard or the veggies you just bought.

Of course, check for expiration dates, and throw out any expired food. But before you spend your hard-earned money, make sure you don’t already have the item you’re looking for.

Once in the store, stick to your list. It may be tempting to head to the frozen food section and pick some pre-packaged foods, but resist the temptation.

Filling up on frozen food (which is also loaded up with preservatives) won’t fully satisfy you, so you’ll still be hungry a few hours later.

Remind yourself you are making healthy meals with real food, which is sure to be a hit with your family!

  1. Get Ready To Cook: Once you’ve figured out what you’re making, and have bought the ingredients, now it’s time to get ready to cook!

Parents reported the best way to get started:

“The trick is to have all the ingredients prepped and measured, so when the recipe calls for it there isn’t much to do except add it in. That’s exactly what you’re trying to accomplish here—to make cooking go as smoothly as possible.

Take out all the ingredients you’ll need based on the recipe’s ingredient list. Read each recipe thoroughly, including the instructions, so you understand each step you need to take. Wash, chop, dice, mince, zest, or juice any vegetable, fruit, herb, seed, or nut needed. Marinate any meats, fish, or poultry.

Prepare any other ingredients you’ll need for each recipe so they’re ready to be used.”

  1. Freeze Properly:In order to preserve the quality and safety of your food, proper food storage is a must.

While it’s alright to refrigerate the food you’ll eat that week, it’s critical you freeze and store the rest.

Parents reported:

“Once the dish is complete, divide it into portions for the refrigerator or freezer.

For a dish like meatballs, you may decide to divide it into two large containers, one for the refrigerator and one for the freezer.

If you’re planning on bringing a 4-ounce serving of Lemony Chicken Breasts (page 159) with a side of quinoa to work, then pack those two items together in a single container.

If you made muffins or quiches, wrap them individually so you can grab and go.

Portion out spiced nuts or popcorn for easy-to-grab snack packs for work.

Sometimes you won’t be cooking the dish until right before you eat it, like an egg scramble or smoothie, but you can still package the ingredients together so they’re ready to go.”

Remember, making quick snack packs will save you time – and stop you from heading to the vending machines.

Meal-prepping can seem daunting, and overwhelming.

But don’t let the process overwhelm you.

By taking simple steps, such as finding healthy recipes, sticking to your shopping list, and storing your food properly, you’ll be a meal-prep pro in no time.

And, you just might find cooking fun again!

What is your favorite meal to batch-cook?

Have you found any meal-prep tips that may be helpful to other busy moms?

Tell us your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below.