Learn how to make meal prep easier and faster by following these simple guidelines! Planning and preparing healthy meals for the week seems like a daunting task if you’re a working mom. But there are simple things you can do (like using fast, healthy recipes!) to make your meal prep easy. Use the tips on how to meal prep for beginners to make the transition to healthy eating a little easier.
Many moms believe that spending house meal prepping for the week is the key to success. For weight loss, healthy snacking, healthy kids etc. There are a lot of benefits to prepping your meals in advance.
However, for most working moms, learning how to make meal prep easier is crucial.
A lot of my clients get overwhelmed the minute they hear the words “meal prep”. The truth is, with kiddos we don’t have the time to spend two hours in the kitchen each and every Sunday morning prepping full meals for the week (oh hell no!).
While easy meal prep ideas help, it’s still a lot of time.
But I think I can fix that for you!
Why I No Longer Prep EVERYTHING
Way back in the day, I used to be ALL ABOUT meal prep. Like any traditional fitness junkie (sans kids) I was in the kitchen every Sunday morning making sure I was set up for the week to smash goals with all my healthy food *insert eye roll*.
Nowadays, the thought of spending so much time whipping up these healthy meals is just laughable.
I believe in having healthy, easy food, snacks, and recipes on hand- but I also value my time.
Once you have kiddos, a few hours on Sunday is kind of a big deal. And spending it in the kitchen (regardless of how simple the easy meal prep ideas are) when you could be out playing isn't practical.
To moms, it's just "one more thing". And while having every single meal ready in the fridge is amazing, we won't make it a priority because it's too effing annoying.
If making that many meals is going to stress you out trying to get it all done, it's honestly not worth it.
Tips To Make Meal Prep Easier For Buys Moms
So, how do you have it all then?
How do you find the time to whip up these easy meal prep ideas and stay sane?
The secret: it’s not about making time; it’s about making your meal prep easier
Instead of trying to squeeze more into your day (you can’t) or sacrificing family time on a sunny day, follow the meal tips below and learn how to meal prep for beginners and make it PRACTICAL, not time-consuming.
Make Meal Prep Easier: Keep it simple
This is the most crucial meal prep tips.
You do not need to make five dinners every single Sunday. You’ll go insane (even if they are easy meal prep ideas).
Instead, just focus on prepping the three big things:
A grain + a protein + veggies
There's no need to make all your meals on Sunday. Instead, keep it simple by prepping a grain + a protein + veggies to set you up for the week. Then, learn to cook smart with these tips #busymomhack #mealprep #mealprepping… Click To Tweet
Cook-off a huge batch of rice or quinoa so you have it on hand (for recipes like this quinoa and veggie wrap)
Likewise, batch cook your proteins (chicken, eggs etc)
Make sure your veggies are washed and cut (spiralize beets if you’re going to use them, peel, and chop carrots).
That’s it. Sounds insanely simple and probably too good to be true right?
But I promise it saves you a shit ton of time! Easy meal prep ideas are crucial.
To make meal prep easier, keep it far more simple than you think. For big meals, do the bare minimum.
Use No Bake Recipes
I don’t tend to prep a lot of dinner recipes when I’m in the kitchen because I use super simple dinner recipes (like this 15-minute zoodle bowl) to begin with.
But I do have kids who eat an insane number of snacks. And since I believe in quality food, I like to have those on hand.
Whipping up a batch of oat balls, protein bars, and energy bars takes under fifteen minutes. Do this while your proteins and grains are cooking. Personally, I actually do this while kiddos are eating lunch at some point on the weekend. They sit at the counter to eat and I mix stuff in a bowl. It makes meal prep easier because there's no "one time to meal prep".
If you have easy meal prep ideas, everything becomes a lot faster. And no-bake recipes are the easiest recipes of all!
Prioritize To Make Meal Prep Easier
I love whipping up big batches of pancakes or waffles, freezing them (or just throwing them into the fridge and heating int ht e toaster), and then just heating them up for a super, stress-free morning. But I do this on a Saturday morning when I’m already making these things.
Adding in indulgent things like this only makes your meal prep drag on forever and your meal prep for the week becomes stressful and annoying. If you make pancakes for the family on a Saturday morning, just double the batch then. Don’t waste time trying to do it all in one day.
Set your priorities.
- Make the basics for dinner (cook off the big stuff, no need to fully make and portion)
- Have healthy snacks on hand (easy, no-bake recipes are your friend)
- If you’re a salad person, portion them
No one says you need to make all the healthy, easy recipes when you meal prep. Know your limits. When learning how to meal prep as a beginner this is even more important. I wasted a lot of time making meatloaf, shepherds pie, and spaghetti all in one day when I started out. It's time-consuming and makes you dread that day.
Meal Planning & Easy Recipe Selection
Having easy meal prep ideas on hand is crucial. I live off having my main staples cooked off and just throwing those together in a variety of bowls.
There is no way I would survive as a working mom if I needed to fully make shepherd pie, casserole, cashew chicken etc all on a Sunday morning.
There is no way I would survive as a working mom if I needed to fully make shepherd pie, casserole, cashew chicken etc all on a Sunday morning #screwmealprep #nomealprep #healthyfoodchoices #healthyfood #workingmom Click To Tweet
Having healthy, easy recipes to make is key to easy meal prep for the week.
Every so often, I love taking the time to whip up some crazy simple vegan burger patties or something special but to make my regular meal prep easier, I stick with simple.
If you need a plan to follow, here is 1 MONTH OF SIMPE, REAL FOOD BASED DINNER RECIPE IDEAS.
Below is also a list of some of my favorites staple dinner recipes for busy nights. They make great easy meal prep ideas because they don’t require a ton of prep work. Just have your basics cooked in the fridge, toss together and call it dinner.
- Beet and Orange Buddha Bowl
- Thai Veggie Curry Bowl From Fairy Burger
- Chicken pesto pasta
- Chicken & Shrimp Stir Fry From Low Carb Yum!
- Grilled veggie and hummus wraps
- Deconstructed Veggie Sushi Bowl From Fit Foodie Mama
- Tangy lemon noodle bowl
- Egg Roll In A Bowl From Whole New Mom!
- One pan lemon chicken
- Warm BLT Salad From Tessa Domestic Diva
Know Your Limits
If you have more time one weekend, by all means whip up extra batches of something (like these super easy vegan burger patties).
But if you’re short on time, keep it simple.
Don’t stress yourself out over trying to get all these meals fully completed when you if you do the basics then you can throw something together quickly anyways.
Also, be smart! If midweek you need to make muffins or balls or ANYTHING, double batch. Always. It’s just as easy to make one batch of muffins (these morning glory ones are a new favorite of ours) as it is to make one.
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Crazy Healthy Dinner Ideas Made In Under 30 Minutes
If you’re looking for even easier, healthy dinner recipes, check out The Busy Moms E-Cookbook,- simple dinners for busy moms where I’ve gathered 30 healthy dinner recipes that can be made in thirty minutes or less.
From easy vegan tacos to beef and quinoa chili, simple chicken pasta to a bok choy and mushroom bowl. These dinner recipes share a few things in common:
- They are healthy and simple to make
- All of the recipes are dairy-free or could easily be made dairy-free
- The majority of the recipes are gluten-free
- All of the recipes are real-food based and focus on nutrients not fillers
- They’re all tasty!
To make dinner-time even LESS stressful, I’ve also included several bonus tips on food prep, pantry staples and how to make healthy eating simple. Grab your copy of The Busy Mom’s E-Cookbook
How To Meal Prep For Beginners: My "Schedule"
If you want to know what my week looks like in terms of meal prepping, this is it! As I mentioned, I'm against really making full meals as I prefer to do a lot of throw together things.
I believe that finding a system that works for you and your family is what makes the difference between being "stuck" in the kitchen and staying sane.
Saturday - cook-off any extra meat for the week with dinner (normally I just cook about 3 extra chicken breasts). If I'm feeling fancy or have time, I may make meatballs
Sunday - cook off either quinoa or rice in a huge batch, cook some quinoa noodles for pasta salad, and roast some chickpeas. Cook extra pancakes when we make them for breakfast.
Wednesday - stock up on bars and energy balls for the freezer. I do this while my youngest is eating lunch and we make them together.
As you can see, I don't have one specific day to meal prep. I simply add it to our week when we're already cooking. For breakfast, we rotate through the same three breakfasts during the week (overnight oats, chia pudding, pancakes, avocado toast, and fruit). For the overnight oats and chia pudding, I make that the night before when I'm making my daughter's lunch for the next day.
I typically get lunches ready the night before with a mixup of what's in the fridge (I make veggie and hummus wraps, pasta salad, energy balls, bars, and fruit).
I don't enjoy spending hours in the kitchen once per week but I don't mind adding 15 minutes to dinner to get everything ready for the next day. As I mentioned, find a system that works for YOU. And this might be a bit of trial and error.
And my biggest tip when it comes to meal prep for beginners? You don't need to reinvent the wheel! Pick 8-10 meals and 4 breakfasts that you enjoy and simply rotate through them. This makes meal prep easier as well as your grocery bill.
Don’t forget to pin these tips on How To Make Meal Prep Easier!
Having healthy food options prepped and stocked definitely makes your life as a working mom easier. However, the meal prep itself doesn’t have to be lengthy or stressful. Use these tips as well as easy meal prep ideas to keep it short, simple and healthy.