Meal prep. I hate it. If I had all the time in the world, I probably still would not meal prep. Let’s be real: part of achieving a work/life balance is being efficient wherever and whenever possible. To be healthy, they say to plan and prep your meals. I can’t spend two to four hours of my precious Sunday meal prepping; however, I can spend a little time planning and shopping accordingly. Here are two simple things I do to plan for dinner each week:
I plan our dinner menu each week so I know exactly what to buy at the grocery store or Costco. I plan simple dinners because they are realistic for my family. I am not going to spend time making a complex meal when I really do not have the time. A few of our go-to dinners are salmon or salmon burger patties with sweet potatoes and a green veggie; chicken tacos or taco salad (double the meat so you have enough for two nights); cauliflower crust pizza from Costco, which is great for those busy nights when the kids have activities; and shrimp stir fry with brown rice, sauce, and heat-and-eat stir fry veggies-in-a-bag. All of these meal are super delicious and easy, and they only take 20 minutes to make.
Grab and go
Buy foods that are already prepped—grab and go style. It is a huge time saver because you do not need to spend hours prepping ingredients for the week. I buy cooked shredded chicken (also a great source of protein for a lunch salad), veggies that are already sliced or chopped, or veggies in a bag. A favorite in our house are frozen salmon burger patties from Costco: you can throw them on the grill or skillet frozen. On the occasion I need to chop an onion, I love using my Pampered Chef® chopper—it is easy to use and easy to clean. This is a staple in my kitchen.
With that being said, dinner does not always go as planned. Life happens and things come up. But at least when I have a plan sketched out, our evenings can be focused on our family instead of wasting time asking ourselves what we should have for dinner. Does anyone loathe that question as much as I do?
Also, our kids do not always eat what we eat. There are times where we whip up stuff for them on the side. There is a fine line between catering to their needs and picking battles. As a kid, I was forced to eat everything; to this day, I will gag if eat peas. For some reason, my kids love peas!
The key is to have things ready and then something you can throw in the oven, on the stove, or on the grill.
How do you plan your weekly meals? I would love to hear how you make meals happen in your busy household. If you have any 20-minute healthy dinner recipes, share them in the comments.