We just came out of a busy season of life. Our kids were involved in sports, we had many commitments and just a lot of different things happening at once. It was fun and we enjoyed the busyness; it was just really full.
Instead of our evenings being empty, we had a busy schedule and we found that prepping and cooking dinner each night was no longer doable for us.
We were either eating dinner at 4:00pm and eating unhealthy snacks when we got home. Or we were waiting to eat dinner after we got home, and we’d be famished because it was so late. It just wasn’t working.
We resorted to eating out a lot which got to be expensive because we would still try to eat healthy. Of course, sometimes we would get the kids convenient food and even Brian and I would give in occasionally.
That became a problem because I don’t do well when I don’t eat clean. I get sick and it’s just not good. You can read about how I healed my gut health here.
This way of doing meals felt messy. I felt out of control and really frustrated about how we were eating. We were never sitting down and eating a meal together as a family. I knew things had to change.
Meal prepping was the only solution I could think of. I’ve done food prepping before. I recorded a whole podcast episode on how I simplified meal planning by learning to food prep. You can listen to it here.
I’d prep some basic foods but then I’d have to decide what of this food I’m going to put together for a meal. I knew even that was too much. I needed to have dinner off my mind completely.
I was determined to find a way to make meal prep as simple, useful and worth it as possible and, once I did, I ended up liking it so much that I’ve started prepping pretty much all of our meals.
Mama, if you’re like me and meal prepping is something you dread or you’re afraid of, I get it. I want to help you. Here are some tips that I found to make meal prep simple and mealtime easy during busy seasons.
Find recipes you know you will enjoy.
One of my fears about meal prepping was that I’d make something and then when it came time to eat it, I wouldn’t want it anymore. But I found that if I chose recipes that sounded good to me or that I already knew I’d like, I would look forward to the meal and not feel that way.
Choose meals that can be easily prepped in advance.
Pinterest has a ton of good ideas for meal-planning or you can invest in something a little more in-depth. I put my money where my mouth is and purchased Nutrition Stripped’s Master Meal Planning Guide and invested in this area of our family’s life. McKell Hill is the founder of NutritionStripped.com and she has a lot of helpful resources and recipes for eating well. If you’re interested in McKel’s Master meal Planning Guide, you can find it here!
Go grocery shopping for all your ingredients at once.
Make a list and get it done. Pick up the basics you eat too. I know my family likes watermelon so, even though watermelon isn’t a part of the recipes I’m making that week, I buy watermelon. You know your family so get the basic things you know you’re going to eat as well.
HERE’S A FREEBIE FOR YOU, SWEET MAMA!
It’s time to be intentional about the things you allow into your home!
Let me help you, mama!
Pick one day a week and spend about two hours prepping meals for the coming week.
For me, it’s typically Saturday or Sunday so that I have enough meals to last through the week. If you know that you will want to have some flexibility and variety in your meals, you don’t have to have something prepared for every meal.
Pick three dinners, two lunches and two breakfasts that you and your family will eat that week.
If you’re not picky you could even pick one lunch and one breakfast and three dinners or something like that. Whatever works for your family.
Only prep what won’t get soggy.
You can just use your brain on this one, but an example would be salad dressing and toppings. Wait until it’s time to eat your salad and then put your dressing and avocado or whatever you like on top.
A weeknight meal in our house now looks like me heating up a cast-iron skillet on the stove and throwing in the rice and chicken I cooked on Saturday.
Then I’ll add in the seasonings and add dressing to the salad that’s already prepped in the fridge and I’m done. Dinner’s done.
Essentially, I’m just heating up dinner if it’s already prepped and cooked which saves so much time!
I know it can be hard to give up time on your weekend to meal prep but remind yourself what your priorities are. Remember that out of the 168 hours in your week, two or three hours (at most) really isn’t that much.
You have to make time for what matters to you.
You have to make a choice about what you want and make how you live line up with that. Otherwise you’re just kind of floundering through life and not living intentionally.
Meal prepping doesn’t come natural to me. It’s been a struggle for me since I became a wife and mother. Just when I feel like I get the hang of it, life changes or we’ll get into a busy season or something will shift that makes me have to change or tweak again.
But I had to get real with myself. If I wanted this busy season and I wanted the kids in sports and I wanted to eat together as a family and not spend a million dollars, then I had to compromise somehow.
Don’t overthink it. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by all the options or problems. Just find a solution and decide there’s no other way but to live an intentional life.
Remember, mamas, you’re in charge! Be empowered! Get out there and make it happen!
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