Food prepping can go a long way in helping to cut down on the time you spend in the kitchen while looking after children. Parents have many responsibilities when it comes to looking after a family, and it can start to feel like you never stop making meals and planning for the next one. Here are some tips to help save time in your busy schedule.
Make it a Part of Your Weekly Routine
Set aside time throughout the week to prepare food for the next set of meals. This can save plenty of time overall, and allows you to prep food at times which work better for you. For example, you may have more time to prepare food once the children have gone to bed, or try getting half of the work done before they wake up in the morning.
Set a Menu
Rather than shopping and planning without a solid idea of which meals you intend to make over the next few days, create a menu to work from. You can switch meals around or even replace them with something different as the week goes on, but having a list of what you need and how much you need to buy can help with cost-saving as well as food prepping.
You can use templates and tools to help create a menu or meal plan for the week. Using a handy tool like this meal plan template can give you inspiration and help you to save valuable time.
Use the Freezer
The freezer can help a lot with your meal prepping. You can chop up vegetables, fruits, herbs, and other types of fresh foods and store them in the freezer until you want to use them. Frozen fruit and vegetables can normally be eaten from frozen, so you can easily add them to your cooking or blend them into smoothies and juices when you need.
Buy Enough Containers
Running out of containers to use can be one of the most frustrating things about prepping meals in advance. Ensure you have enough containers for all the food that you intend to prep. Avoid using disposable food bags and other one-time use plastics, and invest in bamboo, recycled plastic, or metal containers to store your food. If you plan to store food in the freezer, check that the material of the containers is suitable for freezing.
Make Enough Space
Fresh food, cooked food, and leftovers from yesterday all need to be stored somewhere – and the best place is normally the refrigerator. One of the challenges of preparing food in large quantities is that you need to find somewhere to put it all before you use it up.
Clear out the refrigerator and make as much space as possible, especially before you start prepping the food. Some parents even buy an additional refrigerator to help store several extra days’ worth of prepped food.
Prep for Different Meals
You can save a lot of time in just one day by prepping all the meals and snacks you and your family will need. Make enough food to cover all the usual meals you would eat throughout the day, and make some additional snacks in case your children are hungry after school or in between meals.
Getting through every busy day as a parent can be made easier by preparing food in advance. Having a variety of nutritious foods readily available will not only make it easier for you to grab meals quickly, but you’ll also be able to cut down on the time spent making food for your children.