First things first, you don't have to prep all your meals in one day, but you do have to PLAN them. If you're frugal like me, and on a time crunch, you'll want something healthy, easy, and convenient.
So where do we start? Check your pantry and freezer for anything you can use. That'll save you some money! If you're a coupon clipper like me, you can plan to use those as well. (Look back at previous posts about Meal Prepping on a budget for more details).
Recipes are literally floating all around you, you just have to utilize them! I personally like crockpot meals, freezer meals, & quick 15 minute meals like skillet meals. Pick 5 meals for Monday - Friday (or 7 meals if you want to plan Saturday and Sunday in advanced too), and write them on the calendar. From there, create your grocery list & head to the store! You can either toss it all in the crockpot before work, make it ahead of time like me, or make it the night of - choose whatever works best for you and your family!
After the store, wash/cut the produce that can be used in snacks or lunches. Invest in containers that help keep produce fresh for longer! Wash apples, peaches, etc and toss them in the fruit crisper. Wash lettuce and put in salad spinner. Wash carrots and put in container for an easy snack. (These are just some examples)
Now, lunches. Don't over complicate it! There's endless combinations that are healthy, well balanced, ANNNND children friendly. I remember the middle school days... I wanted lunchables, but it was the last thing my parents would buy me. They were expensive and had ZERO nutritional value. Make lunches fun by creating DIY lunchables and offering the kiddos, or your husband, options!
Here are some of my favorite things that alone can be used as a snack, or combined can create a meal:
- Boars head lunchmeat (deli section-still technically processed but doesn't contain nitrites.)
- Sargento cheese
- Ezekiel tortillas
- Mixed nuts
- Hard boiled eggs
- Peanut butter (I love Justin's Peanut Butter! Comes in mini packets for lunches, or you can buy the tub and put it in separate containers. Dip carrots, celery, peanut butter, or crackers!)
- Nut Thins crackers- Fresh fruit (apples to dip in peanut butter, berries, banana, etc)
- Fresh Veggies
- Lara Bars, Kind Bars, AdvoBars (my favs!!)
Now, mix & match!
- Turkey, cheese stick, crackers, hummus, carrots, berries, and trail mix.
-turkey wrap, string cheese, crackers, hummus, carrots, and hard boiled egg.
Add some taco seasoning or salsa & your favorite Tex Mex seasoning, and you have a taco salad!
- Turkey Wrap, carrots, berries, hard boiled egg.
Other easy meals can be created using a rotisserie chicken and some imagination! Add some hot sauce to the chicken, or pizza sauce, and make a quesadilla!
If you don't want to prepare dinners ahead of time, that's ok! Shred a rotisserie chicken and toss it in a crock pot with some chopped veggies & Soup Mix, and you have a delicious fall soup by dinner time.
Marinate a pork tenderloin & throw it in a crockpot with red potatos, carrots, and onions. 6-8 hours on low, and your house will smell HEAVENLY!
If crockpots aren't for you, Google skillet meals! Super easy, and typically take 10-30mins. This is a Mexican skillet meal that I am obsessed with.
This process isn't meant to be overwhelming, which is why my next challenge group is focusing on Families!!! So whether you're solo or you're a family of many, I would LOVE for you to join my challenge group. It will focus on meal planning for the week, eating clean, gaining energy, and becoming more active.
How do you enroll? Message me or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will set up a time to talk details. Warning : I will ask many questions, but it is only so I can customize this for you/your family! You pick your recipes, and I will help you execute the plan. I am SO excited about this challenge - it's a first of its kind! :) once you learn this process, I PROMISE that your weeks will be more organized and less overwhelming.
Have a blessed week! I'm logging off to eat some chicken & veggie soup while watching college football. <3
In good health,