Meal prepping is a great way to stay healthy, sane, and on-budget throughout the year. Or so they tell me. I’m the first to raise my hand and say that I’m not the perfect mom. And while I’d love to be the mom that can family meal prep to perfection each week, it’s just not me.
But, I am 100 percent the mom that meal preps once a week every few months. And in that time I’ve learned a thing or two about how to meal prep when you’re running a six-person household. What’s that saying? “Do as I say, not as I do?” Read on for my easy meal prep tips for a large family.
Although it only takes you a few minutes to eat a meal, it takes your body hours to completely digest the food.
Invest in Quality Storage Containers
It may seem like a no-brainer until you’re prepping soup and realizing none of your caps are totally secure! Been there. “But container packages are so expensive!” Been there, too. But look at those quality storage containers as an investment to last a good few years. Take the time now to ensure you’ve got a good variety of sizes and shapes and, of course, matching lids!
An apple a day does keep the doctor away. Apples can reduce levels of bad cholesterol to keep your heart healthy.
Create a Meal Prep Calendar
If your family is anything like mine, you’re feeding mouthfuls of picky eaters. One way I combat this is by creating a weekly calendar and letting the kids take turns in picking what they want to eat (within reason, of course).
But for snacks or lunches, it’s a great way to make sure everyone is eating what they like and also avoid falling into a meal prep rut. The last thing I want is them coming home with their lunchbox still full of uneaten food!
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Eating healthy now could protect your brain later. Diets high in vitamin E, vitamin C, flavonoids, vitamin B12 and fats found in fish have been linked to lower risk of dementia or cognitive impairments like Alzheimer’s disease.
Make the Most of Your Ingredients
Don’t feel like you have to just make five nights’ worth of the same steamed rice and veggies. It’s boring and you won’t want to eat it (cue take-out!). BUT, you can make the most of your ingredients by creating two different recipes to use throughout the week.
For example, you could use broccoli and chicken in a stir-fry and a casserole bake. Or try a couple of different veggies and superfoods sprinkled throughout your meals. Your kids will be eating healthy and loving each meal.
A healthy diet helps to protect against malnutrition in all its forms, as well as non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
Get the Whole Family to Join
Did someone say assembly line? This is my secret weapon when it comes to meal prepping lunches for the week, especially now that they’re back in school and my workload has doubled. I’m back to packing lunchboxes!
Granted, it was a lot easier when they were younger and looked at it like a game! Now, they’re wiser, but will still take part in a Schaffer assembly line so long as there’s good music and good food on the menu. This is ideal for things like sandwiches, veggies or wraps—just give each kid a “station” and let them work down the line.
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Eating at least 400 g, or five portions, of fruit and vegetables per day, reduces the risk of NCDs (2) and helps to ensure an adequate daily intake of dietary fiber.
Set Realistic Goals
Of course, we’d all love to be the kind of people that eat veggie-packed meals every day. I’d love to be a family meal prep wizard. But are we really going to do that? No. Let yourself off the hook a little and throw in some fruit snacks. It’ll be okay.