I love meal prepping! Meal prep might seem like it takes a lot of time but in actuality it saves so much time in the long run. I get a lot of comments from friends that they can’t meal prep because their family won’t eat the foods they eat, or it’s not kid friendly. I’m no expert of families (seeing as I am single and don’t even own a pet) but I do know what kids like and I’ve got some creative ideas to meal prep for you and the whole family. I’m going to assume that the big issue for families is they don’t want to have to make 2 different meals each night. Don’t worry I’ve got you covered! Swap out a few sides here and there so you are able to stick to your fitness goals and add some sides for the kiddos so they enjoy their food!
So get out your Tupperware and put on your apron because we are about to come up with some creative ways to meal prep for YOUR GOALS and to keep the entire family happy.
The ultimate goals of meal prep is to save time during the weekday, take the guess work out of eating, and of course to eat healthy nutritious foods. Here are a few sample ideas of how YOUR meal prep can turn into a meal for the ENTIRE FAMILY without adding more prep work to your day. On a side note I personally like to cook most of my dinner the night of so it doesn’t feel like I’m eating leftovers (I’ll usually prep my protein ahead of time and make my sides night of). Plus dinner time is a great time to reconnect with your family. I’ve added some bonus meals, so if you end up making MORE than you need you can use it for another meal with a totally different flavor.
- Easy make ahead Egg Cups (see recipe here)
- FOR YOUR KIDS add your kids favorite ingredients to half of the batch (bacon, cheese, ham, potatoes, ketchup, etc…).
- FOR YOU stick to veggies and a protein or substitute out some yolks for just egg whites. Add a side of toast and the kids are DONE!
- You can also make these more like a frittatta (basically same recipe but just in a pizza pan or cookie sheet) and cut out slices and make a breakfast sandwich.
- These freeze really well so you can make a few batches at a time
- DIY Oatmeal Bar (overnight oats) Recipe Ideas Here
- I suggest make just a classic oatmeal and add different flavors each day of the week (cinnamon, maple syrup, honey, flavored extracts like vanilla, etc…)
- FOR YOUR KIDS add all of your kids favorite toppings on the table (fruits, granola, nuts, peanut butter, coconut flakes, maple syrup, sprinkles, etc…)
- FOR YOU oatmeal avoid any super sugary toppings and stick to a limited quantity of toppings (add some healthy peanut butter, chia seeds, Greek yogurt, vanilla extract, raspberries, or pumpkin seeds).
- FOR YOUR KIDS set aside fruits, veggie slices, popcorn, nuts, crackers, string cheese, chips and guac/salsa, hummus, and peanut butter dip (recipe here)
- FOR YOU avoid all the sugary options and stick to nuts, string cheese, veggie slices, homemade guac w/ veggies, protein shakes, and tuna packets, shredded chicken.
- Meatballs (made with ground turkey, beef, or ground chicken) recipe can be found here
- FOR YOUR KIDS make ahead your kids favorite pasta and get their favorite canned sauce.
- FOR YOU skip the pasta and make some zucchini noodles or roast spaghetti squash. Roast some tomatoes or pick out a pasta sauce that is low in sugar.
- BONUS ROUND: Taco Tuesday Night! If you have extra meatballs and your family is tired of eating them go ahead and chop up the meatballs in a pan with a little olive oil and add a packet of taco seasoning mix and a can of diced tomatoes.
- FOR YOUR KIDS add some shells and all the taco toppings (cheese, guac, sour cream, rice, beans, etc…)
- FOR YOU pick out a low carb tortilla option or just make a taco salad with a little bit of rice or beans and lettuce instead.
- EXTRA BONUS ROUND: still have meatballs left and can’t stand the thought of tacos AGAIN? Go ahead and make some chili. chop up those meatballs and add a chili seasoning packet (make according to directions) add green peppers, red peppers, onions, corn, beans, etc… (omit beans for your healthy bowl). create a chili bar for the kids (shredded cheese, sour cream, onion, gold fish, hot dogs, baked potato, etc..) The chili can be used for hot dogs on Saturday too!
- Chicken Fingers (Recipe here )
- FOR YOUR KIDS add a side of rice or french fries, veggies. and dips
- FOR YOU enjoy your chicken with sauteed veggies and rice or make a buffalo chicken salad with some Franks Red Hot Wing Sauce.
- Bonus Round: Use leftover chicken fingers and make chicken Parm for the kiddos. Just add pasta sauce, cheese, and bake a until golden brown and add their favorite pasta!
- Rotisserie Chicken Thanksgiving Dinner (pre-made chicken)
- FOR YOUR KIDS get all the fixin’s for your kids
- FOR YOU add salads, veggies, and avoid gravy and cranberry sauce
- BONUS ROUND: use leftover Rotisserie chicken and make salads, shredded chicken snacks, chicken salad with Greek yogurt instead of mayo, pasta salad, omelettes, chicken tacos, fajitas, taco bowls, etc…
- STILL NEED MORE IDEAS?
- Cauliflower pizza (have kids put their favorite toppings on one of them)
- Pasta salad with leftover baked chicken, veggies, etc…
- Bake chicken breast ahead of time and use it for different meals by adding new spices each night (curry, taco seasoning, bbq sauce, wing sauce, fajita seasoning)
- Use the crock pot to make chicken. Just add chicken broth and chicken breast. Flavor the chicken with your choice of seasoning when you are ready to eat.
- Save the pancakes and other delicious foods for the weekend
- Save time by buying already cooked meats/dips/sliced veggies
- Use leftovers for lunches
- Make ahead the major items like the protein and make different sides each night
- pre package all of you and your families snacks so it’s just a grab and go during the week
- avoid sugary sauces and toppings for you
- let your kids add their own toppings so they can have some fun with it too
- lead by example! Hopefully eating healthy will help educate your kids on what’s healthy and how to eat healthy too!
- Think outside the box! How can you recreate flavors without cooking a WHOLE NEW MEAL?
- use lettuce wraps, celery boats, zucchini noodles, zucchini boats, squashes, and different salad mixes to change things ups for YOU.
- have your kids help in the kitchen! Rolling meatballs is fun for the WHOLE family!
I may not have a family, but I’ll tell you that eating the SAME foods every day sometimes gets boring so I’ve had to think outside the box of how I could recreate my meals. I re-purpose my meatballs ALL the time when I’m tired of the flavor. I’ve also used shredded chicken in a bunch of different ways because c’mon who loves to eat the same chicken for a week straight!
Hopefully this helps! I’ve got tons more ideas so don’t hesitate to contact me and we can think of some other options!
Live, Love, Laugh, & Lift