This post is sponsored by Rubbermaid®; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Easy Meal Prep for Busy Moms
The day starts at 6:30 AM when the baby wakes up. There’s only one hour to get dressed, feed four kids, prepare two school lunches, and make sure everyone walks out the door fully dressed with teeth brushed. Thank goodness the baby doesn’t have teeth yet. Then the morning carpool to drop off three kids at three different schools within a 20-minute timeframe. Immediately after getting home, the baby naps and the cable guy comes to check the spotty internet. Laundry goes in the wash, the dishwasher gets emptied, and coffee gets reheated for the third time. Before picking up the toddler at noon, a package gets dropped off at the post office and the van gets refilled with gas. Just a quick run through the drive-thru will help keep the hunger at bay until dinner…
Sound familiar? This is what a typical day is like in our house. Sometimes it’s even worse! And yes, there have been times I’ve been a little too reliant on fast food to get me through the day. Because let’s face it: moms hardly ever have time to sit down, much less eat fresh or healthy food! And who has time to cook or prepare lunch when we our to-do lists are already a mile long?
Luckily, I’ve found a solution. I can eat nutritious foods that keep me on track in a healthy lifestyle — and it helps me save money! Ready for it? Just two words: MEAL PREP.
Meal prep? What’s that?
Meal prep is nothing more than preparing meals in advance. It’s having “fast food” ready to eat in your fridge! By having nutritious meals available for you to grab on the go, it is much easier to make healthy choices. No trips to the drive-thru, no ordering pizza when you’re hangry, and no digging that gross burrito out of the bottom of your freezer.
Ok so how do I meal prep?
First, you need to find a day to cook and prep all of your meals. For my family, Sunday works best. While the babies are napping and hubby watches football, I get everything going in the kitchen.
I start by figuring out what food we have in the house, then check the grocery sales for other things we may want to buy. From there, I plan out 3-4 different meals. This time I went with salmon with roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potato, salsa chicken with cilantro cauliflower rice and fajita veggies, and baked chicken breast with roasted organic carrots. Anything you love to eat will work! I went with just 3 servings of 3 meals – enough to feed Arien, Hunter, and me for a few days.
I usually throw some sort of meat in the slow cooker (chicken is great), and cook the rest in the oven. What gets cooked more quickly on the stove is next. I make sure to have fruit on hand for easy sides or snacks. On the days we don’t eat our prepped meals, we may eat leftovers or a simple salad. Occasionally I’ll prep a full week, but for us three days is plenty.
Ok I cooked. What next?
Once everything is prepared, it’s time to portion the meals into containers. By pre-portioning your meals, you avoid overeating. You also avoid the “what’s in that leftovers container at the back of the fridge” discussion at the end of the month. Yuck!
I prefer to use TakeAlongs® Meal Prep Containers that I found at Walmart. They include a divided base tray that can hold 3.7 cups of food. That’s plenty for an adult to use for meal prep, portion control, and pairing favorite food combos. The Quik Clik Seal lids ensure secure packaging, and the ridges allow for easy stacking and storage in the fridge and in the dreaded plastics cabinet. They are also top rack dishwasher safe, which makes my life even easier!
I’d love for you to grab these containers at Walmart (or even online – look how easy that is!) and try out meal prepping for yourself! I promise you it is quick and easy once you try it, and you’ll find that mealtime is a breeze during the week.
Need more meal ideas? Drop me a comment below and I’ll be happy to share some meals that you and your family are sure to love!