What does it mean to food prep?
For me food prepping (preparing food ahead of time) is a way to keep my sanity during the busy school weeks. When we have food prepped and ready to go for lunches, dinners, snacks and breakfasts, we not only save time, we save money!
I typically grocery shop on a Friday or Saturday and food prep on Sunday afternoons. Sunday’s are slower days for us and it’s relaxing for me to be in the kitchen making good food for the week ahead. Get the whole family on board to help. Littles love to help in the kitchen, and big kids can help you cook!
What food items do I prep ahead?
Meat. Even though I eat vegan, I prep meat for my family. I will cook up all the chicken, beef, turkey burger, bacon, sausage etc. all on one day. Then I freeze it into portions for quick meal prep for spaghetti, tacos, chili, breakfasts, or whatever is on the menu for the week.
*Side note: our trash cans go out on Monday night, so when I cook up all the meat on Sunday, there’s no stinky wrappers sitting in the trash can all week!
Veggies. I wash, dry, cut up and prep all the veggies I can. We use these for salads, lunch boxes, snacks, fajitas, you name it!
Fruit. You’ve seen my vinegar wash for strawberries and blueberries. I buy in bulk, dump them into a large bowl. Cover with water and pour in 1/4 to 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (with the mother), stir and let set for one hour. Drain, rinse and set out on a towel to air dry completely. Then I put into mini serving reusable baggies for lunches or snacks.
*Side note: fruit has to be completely dry before putting back in the fridge.
Snacks: I buy snacks in bulk and portion them into smaller reusable baggies This saves money and time each morning. When you have a grab and go section in your pantry it makes packing lunches a breeze!
Muffins: I like to make a double batch of muffins (any kind) to freeze. Perfect for breakfast, snacks, or to have on hand for guests. They freeze so well.
Steel Cut Oats/Pancakes: I make a large batch of oatmeal and heat up a little each morning for breakfast. Add honey, walnuts and cinnamon for the yummiest breakfast ever. You can also do the same for pancakes; make a huge batch on Saturday or Sunday and freeze the rest…pop them in the toaster and you have a quick, hot, and home made breakfast!
Quinoa/Grains: I also will make up a batch of quinoa, lentils, rice, or couscous, etc. They make a great side dish when you add veggies, are good in salads, soups, tacos, etc. Having them made up ahead of time makes weeknight meal prep go quickly.
Chili/Soup: I love to make a big batch of chili or soup for dinner on Sunday. Freeze the rest and you’ve got a quick dinner all ready to go. Add a salad and bread and you’re done.
What do I use to freeze my food in?
I have slowing been phasing out plastic baggies and switching to reusable baggies whenever possible. Last week I showed you all the reusable lunch box inserts we have for the grandkids. Today I’ll show you the reusable silicone baggies I love and use daily.
*Side note: they are dishwasher safe, but I prefer to hand wash and dry them.
Half gallon reusable baggies made of silicone. Thick and durable! Perfect for freezing soups and chilis. I also use them to freeze cooked up meat of any kind. They hold a ton! So easy to have it already cooked up and ready to add to any recipe.
Keep all your frozen bags in this clear bin for easy access, not to mention great freezer organization.
Here are the reusable baggies I love and use. You can write a name in Sharpie for each member of your family. Wash and dry to use again and again.
These are my favorite reusable snack size bags. Portion out the perfect snack and reuse and reuse and reuse.
I love keeping other snack items in the fridge using this divided turn table. I keep one in my fridge and one in my pantry. Easy access to grab and go, or to help littles pack their own lunches.
Use these bins and labels to keep fresh foods contained and accessible as well. Be sure and measure your fridge first. These bins come in lots of different sizes to fit any space.
Well, you’ve spent one afternoon cooking and prepping. Sit back and enjoy the rest of the week. Trust me, food prepping works. I was a teacher when my kids were younger. Our weekdays were jam packed with school work, activities, sports, you name it. By having a plan for each week, it saved my sanity not to mention my time and money. It takes a little getting used to at first, but if you start simple and stay consistent with it, you’ll soon be a food prep pro!
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