Keyword: Meal Prep for Busy Families
Meal prep for busy families will make your days infinitely easier, making it easier to cook at home, saving you tons of money and stress.
Your family’s needs are unique, and food prep can be tailored to your needs because it doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s methods, and you can take shortcuts.
Cooking Methods for Meal Prep
There are several cooking methods you can use to prep food for your family. I encourage you to use these methods together in meal planning to always have a variety of choices.
Batch cooking means that you double the recipe for 1 meal to save one for later. This is very helpful when planning my homeschool lunches because I can cut down on cooking lunch every other day.
It’s also common for people to make several days’ worth of food instead of just 1 so they can save lunches or snacks for the whole week.
This is making your own frozen foods.
People make large quantities of pizza, lasagna, sandwiches, etc., and freeze them to have snacks.
Another popular thing to freezer cook is slow cooker dinners. These usually require almost no cooking until the day you put them in the slow cooker. Then, you simply add the uncooked meat, any sauces or veggies, into a freezer bag, then freeze it! The day before you want to use it, place it in the freezer to defrost, then throw it in the slow cooker. Dinner with almost no effort.
Prepping individual ingredients is another great way to save time and money.
You can pre-cook meat, wash and slich fresh produce, or measure out the dry ingredients for baking and store them in zipper bags.
Meal Prep for Busy Families: Adapt It to Your Needs
Every family is unique, and so will be your food prep. Below, I have listed things you need to consider when you food prep.
Make sure you set aside enough time to assemble each recipe, let it cook and cool if needed, and clean up your kitchen.
I cannot stress the importance of planning to let your food cool before packaging it. The steam will make it mushy and wet if you wrap it up too soon.
Keep Recipes Separate
Separate working areas for each recipe will help make sure everything goes smoothly and that it stays organized.
Take Short Cuts
Don’t be afraid to take shortcuts like precut veggies or precooked meats if it means that you will actually use them. So, don’t try too hard!
Have Kids Help
Meal prep is an excellent way to teach kids valuable skills like measuring, cutting, and planning, and of course, cooking.
Tips for Cooking with Kids:
- Always start with washing kids’ hands with soap
- Wear an apron or old clothes
- If there is heat, kids need to sit or stand very still
- Only give them 1 task at a time
- Let kids practice cutting skills with butter knives before giving sharp knives.
- Soft foods like cheese, bananas avocados are great for this.
- You can teach school-age kids to measure ingredients
- Have Kids Help Clean
- Keep trash cleared
- Wipe up spills
- Put away items
- Rinse out bowls
- Older kids can wasahh dishes
Storing Your Prepped Food
Different foods should be stored in different ways; for example, you should always freeze bread dough if you are not using it soon. It will continue to rise and become unusable if you don’t.
Tools You Will Need
You will need some cheap kitchen tools to store all your prepped food. The great thing is that most you can get at the dollar store.
I have listed them below:
- Airtight storage containers like Tupperware
- Plastic wrap
- Zipper storage bags of different sizes
- Masking tape
- Permanent markers or pens
Make sure to label each package of food with what it is and the date you made it. This will ensure that you rotate the older items to the front, so none of the food goes bad.
If you’re making premade baking mixes, make sure you list any wet ingredients you need and the cooking temperature and time on the label.
Storing Things in the Freezer
If you are not going to use things within a few days, the freezer is the best way to store them.
The best way to package things is in a sealed and compressed freezer bag or individually wrapped in a plastic wrap and then a tinfoil layer.
Things that you can freeze:
- Most Fruits and Veggies
- Uncooked meats
- Yeast doughs
- Cooked bread
Things to avoid freezing:
- Fruits and veggies with high water content (like celery or watermelon)
- Cooked meats (affects the texture)
- Certain dairy products (sour cream, yogurt, etc. as they separate)
- Cooked Pasta (becomes mushy)
Things to Store in the Fridge
You can store anything you plan on using in 1-3 days in the fridge. I recommend storing everything in air-tight containers or tinfoil in the fridge.
Things you can store on the Counter
If you plan on using it within the week, bread, cookies, brownies, and most baked goods can be stored on the counter.
I recommend air-tight containers for them. Or, if you are wrapping up individual portions of bread, you can wrap them tightly in plastic wrap.
This is a more complete guide for storing food.
Meal prep can save you a lot of time, money, and stress.
Do you meal prep? Tell me about it below!
Do you want to see more about meal prep? Comment below and let me know!