Providing my family with good food is becoming more and more of a priority to me, but I absolutely detest the food prep that goes along with that. (I must be in the majority with that mindset based off of the high consumption of convenience foods in this country.)
Food preparation can take up a lot of space in my head, with meal planning and grocery lists and “I want a snack!” and recipes I want to try and reading labels and “what should we bring to the family reunion tomorrow?”
I’ve been experimenting with the best place to have my meal planning sheet, and the best way to keep a grocery list – on my phone, on paper, hanging up, on the counter? I want to keep it simple so that it’s not stressful for me to figure out what we need from the store and what recipes I’m trying and need to buy for.
Freezer cooking has been a saving grace for me, and even as I explore more healthful options, I’m having to look a little harder, but it’s well worth it. This past weekend, I whipped up some meatloaf with a lot of veggies in it, cooked and shredded chicken to have on hand, and made my own taco seasoning.
Breakfasts also go pretty well, because I’ve realized that by keeping a few things on hand in the freezer – muffins, egg and sausage cups (my favorite) and breakfast burritos (Evan’s favorite) – there is always something homemade and filling that takes less than a minute to prepare.
A few weeks ago, I tried something new, inspired by Crystal from MoneySavingMom: I pre-made my salads for the week. I love having a good salad for lunch, but dread the time it takes to throw it all together. It worked beautifully, and I loved it… and then I fell off the bandwagon.
So this week, I’m jumping back on and trying it again. You only have to get the ingredients out once, and it takes 5 seconds to throw your salad from a jar to a plate (I like my dressing good and mixed, so a plate is necessary for me vs. eating straight from the jar). And I’ve found that when I pre-make it, I’m much more likely to throw in extra vegetables like broccoli and carrots that I just don’t have time to cut up and add each day.
Now for snacks. I just need to get into the habit of heading to the fridge – for fruit, or cheese slices, or hummus – instead of to the pantry for Doritos. I think that will be a work in progress!
How do you take the time aspect out of food preparation each day? And send any good freezer recipes or easy snack ideas my way too – especially kid-friendly ones! I’d like to continue learning some simple ways to provide healthy food for my family all day long, without it taking up my entire day and without bombarding my brain with what to prepare, how to prepare, what to buy, and more.