Hi, this is Kate, talking about motherhood and, more specifically, meal prep ideas to help save you time. While this post focuses on busy moms, it’s because this blog is all about women. So we’re not saying dads aren’t doing their part too – yes, sharing parental responsibilities is terrific. OK, let’s start with meal prep benefits for the family, health-wise and more, before moving on to the recipe ideas.
Meal Prep Benefits
Being a mom means your responsibilities are many and your schedule is super busy. From soccer practice to dentist appointments, you’re running around town every day with little spare time. Avoiding fast food and fitting in nutritious and yummy meal options for your kids can be a daily struggle.
While you know regularly eating out isn’t ideal, it’s easy to pull into a drive-through when you’re on the go. According to a CDC study, 34.3 percent of all American children ate fast food on a given day between 2011 and 2012. Grab-and-go meals are convenient in a fast-paced world, and busy moms have to manage many things to pull off a home-cooked dinner.
However, home-cooked meals can promote healthy family relationships and improved well-being, according to the Institute for Family Studies. Although there are plenty of stresses for busy mothers, one solution for serving your children healthy food is meal prep.
Yes, many moms have hopped on the bandwagon of strategically planning meals for the week. With the right approach, meal prep benefits can include saving money, time, and worry. It involves using a template, intentionally grocery shopping and picking an afternoon to get your cooking done.
Simple and Fast Meal Prep Ideas
Keeping the choices simple and accessible helps save parents fuss and time. Pick out breakfast, lunch, snack time, supper, and dessert options that you can make in a snap. The following 7 ideas are kid-friendly choices perfect for a busy mom’s meal prep.
1. English Muffin Sandwiches
When you’re trying to get everyone dressed and all the backpacks zipped in the morning, a speedy breakfast option is essential. With tasty English muffin sandwiches, you can quickly feed your kids and head out the door. Another of this muffin meal prep’s benefits is it’s simple with minimal ingredients, and you can store the sandwiches in the freezer until you need them.
2. Baked Oatmeal Cups
For kids who don’t like the consistency of oatmeal, delicious baked oatmeal cups with blueberries can appease picky eaters. They are small and compact, and children can effortlessly hold onto these in the car for a breakfast on the road. You can confidently serve these as a low-sugar option packed with wholesome fruit.
3. Meal Prep Ideas: Buffalo Chicken Wraps
Finding creative ways to spruce up packed lunches for school is a challenge busy moms face. A flavorful buffalo chicken wrap can get your little ones giddy when they pull open their lunch bag or want a snack on a road trip. Go easy on the level of spiciness for sensitive tummies though.
4. Cheesy Turkey Kabobs
Kabobs are a fun way to switch things up for your family. Kids can slide off each piece for a fun meal, and you can even involve them in this and other meal prep ideas. They can help arrange a little tower of turkey and cheese, for example. Consider dressing up the kabobs with tomatoes, cucumbers and olives.
5. Roasted Chickpeas
Enhance snack time with protein-rich chickpeas that children can munch on after school. These roasted legumes are high in vitamins, fiber and taste. Chickpeas are filling and satisfyingly crunchy. They can boost your family’s health too. Remember we said earlier about meal prep benefits including better health?!
6. Dried Fruit
A quick bite after a sports game should be refreshing but powerful. Dried apples, mangoes and apricots are sweet but satisfying snacks. High in antioxidants, dried fruit can replace sugary foods in your kids’ diet. With a long shelf life, they can be a go-to side to many meals too.
7. Stovetop Macaroni With Sausage and Peas
Making supper at the end of a long day can take effort, but you can speed up things by stirring up a dish packed with savory morsels. Macaroni and cheese, a crowd favorite, can be a breeze on a weekday when you’ve bought the ingredients the last time you were at the grocery store. Then your entire family can dig into this dinner. It’s one of the most comforting meal prep ideas.
+ a Bonus Idea!
Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas
Consolidating your cooking to one sheet pan can cut down a lot of the steps you usually take to make supper, as well as reducing the number of dishes to wash after it. Fancy fajita-style steak is an appetizing option for adults and children. Slice your bell peppers and prepare your meat at the beginning of the week, so you can throw them all on without much hassle. Being organized ahead of time helps busy moms enjoy one of the best meal prep benefits: saving time later.
Use Meal Prep Ideas to Your Advantage
Despite the chaos busy moms handle, they still manage to keep life rich and rewarding for their kids. Meal prep ideas like the ones above help to prioritize your family’s health and enhance their routine. Provide your children with healthy, inviting meals with a little planning and coordination.
About the Writer
Kate is a lifestyle and wellness journalist from Pennsylvania. She particularly enjoys writing about topics related to women’s health and well-being. If you like her work, you can subscribe to her blog, So Well, So Woman.