3 transparent plastic storage container bowls with black lids, filled with salads meal prepped in advance

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Looking for ways to save time and money while still enjoying healthy, delicious meals? Meal prep and planning may be the answer you’re looking for.

3 food containers containing meals prepped in advance, corn, cucumber, tomatoes and spring onions, olives, brown lentils
Photo credit: Pexels | Graphics: Crave Nutritional Cooking

In this article, I explore the benefits of meal prep and planning for busy people, along with tips for effective planning and must-have tools for successful meal prep.

We’ll also share nutritious and tasty meal prep ideas that are perfect for the whole family, as well as strategies for working moms looking to simplify their meal prep routine.

By the end of this article, you’ll have all the information you need to make meal prep a part of your lifestyle and enjoy the many benefits it has to offer.

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

Introduction: The Benefits of Meal Prep and Planning for Busy Lives

In today’s fast-paced world, it can be challenging to find time for healthy meal planning and preparation. However, with a little bit of effort and some helpful tips and tools, you can make meal prep a part of your lifestyle and enjoy the many benefits that come with it.

Meal prep not only saves you time and money but also ensures that you and your family are eating nutritious and delicious meals every day.

You need to make sure you and your family are consuming healthy-building nutrients in every dish. But you must also use meal prep as an opportunity to portion out and inject each batch with healing foods and ingredients too.

shredded red cabbage and grated carrot slaw salad, sprinkled with thin slices of fresh coriander herbs in a round white bowl.
Photo credit & Graphics: Crave Nutritional Cooking

In this article, I will explore the benefits of meal prep and planning for busy people and provide you with practical tips, essential tools, and healthy recipes to help you master meal prep and simplify your life.

Whether you’re a working mom or a working millennial looking to save time and eat healthier, this article is for you. So let’s get started!

Tips for Effective Meal Planning: How to Save Time and Money

When it comes to meal planning, there are a few key tips that can help save you time and money.

  1. First, plan your meals around what’s on sale at the grocery store. This will not only save you money, but it will also ensure that you’re using fresh ingredients. And that you don’t give into unhealthy cravings!

  2. Another tip is to make a list of all the ingredients you’ll need for the week before heading to the store. This will help you avoid impulse buys and ensure that you have everything you need for your meals.

  3. Consider batch cooking as well. This involves making large quantities of a recipe and then portioning it out for future meals. This can be especially helpful for busy weeknights when you don’t have time to cook from scratch.

Finally, don’t be afraid to use convenience items like pre-cut vegetables or canned beans. While they may cost a bit more than their whole counterparts, they can save you valuable time in the kitchen.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to effectively plan your meals, save money, and make meal prep a breeze.

Essential Tools: Must-Have Kitchen Equipment and Supplies

When it comes to meal prep, having the right tools and equipment can make all the difference in saving time and making the process more efficient.

Here are some essential kitchen tools and supplies that you should have on hand for successful meal prep:
  • Food Storage Containers: Invest in a variety of sizes and shapes of food storage containers to store prepped ingredients and meals.

    Glass containers are a great option as they are durable, microwave-safe, and don’t contain harmful chemicals like plastic.

Glass Food Storage

Always opt for glass if you can afford it. It’s more hygienic and environmentally friendly. Despite the BPA versions out there, I personally find glass odour-free and they look great to serve straight out of – this is not only a time-saving way of serving meals, but you’ll cut down on extra dishwashing and save water!

  • Cutting Boards: Having multiple cutting boards can help prevent cross-contamination between different types of foods. Choose cutting boards made of wood or plastic that are easy to clean and sanitize.

When you choosing plastic, ensure that it’s BPA-Free

Cutting Boards that are
BPA-FREE

These are great cutting boards, though plastic, it is BPA-FREE and dishwasher safe. Because it’s all about meal prep and saving you time, you need a machine dishwasher to help with keeping batch cooking and cleaning as stress-free as possible!

  • Knives: A good set of knives is essential for meal prep. Invest in a chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a serrated knife for slicing, dicing, and chopping.

Chef Knife – Santoku

This is a very popular knife for home cooking. I have two sets of chef’s knives, but this is the one I use for everything, every day. The small size santoku is a great addition too!

  • Blender/Food Processor: These appliances can be used for making sauces, dips, and smoothies, and can save time when prepping ingredients like vegetables and fruits.

Blender & Food processor

This is definitely my favorite kitchen tool/equipment. It’s that kind of thing you take everywhere, no matter where you’re living, it takes pride of place. That’s because it’s a healthy cooking tool that can save you time and most of all, MONEY! Budget-living is my style, so trust me when I say this will change the game for you.

  • Slow Cooker/Instant Pot: These appliances are perfect for busy days when you don’t have time to cook. You can prep ingredients in advance and let them cook while you’re at work or running errands.

Instant Pot

It’s no surprise that this is a best seller! It does it all and best of all, it doesn’t take up a lot of space. I love the one-touch-cooking options, when you need it. But, there’s so much more to try: It does the expected pressure cooking, so use this for all your ‘one-pot-wonder’ meals. It will slow-cook and cook rice for you. You can also make yogurt, steam and sauté, and of course, keep food warm.

  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accurate measurements are important for successful meal prep. Have a set of measuring cups and spoons on hand to ensure your recipes turn out correctly.

Stainless Steel Measuring cups and spoons

I strongly advocate using stainless steel as it is much more hygienic (than plastic). Especially if you plan to use it over a long period of time. These are high quality steel. It’s easily stackable and have engraved measurements which is much more durable.

By having these essential tools and supplies in your kitchen, meal prep will become easier and more efficient. You’ll be able to save time and money by prepping ingredients and meals in advance, making healthy eating a breeze even on the busiest of days.

Healthy Meal Prep Ideas: Nutritious and Delicious Recipes for the Whole Family

When it comes to meal prep, it’s important to prioritize nutrition and flavor. After all, what good is a prepped meal if nobody wants to eat it?

Luckily, there are plenty of healthy and delicious recipes out there that are perfect for meal prep.

Here are a few healthy recipe ideas to get you started:
  • Mason Jar Salads: Layering your favorite veggies, protein, and dressing in a mason jar makes for a convenient and portable lunch option. Try a Greek salad with chicken, feta, and olives or a taco salad with ground turkey, black beans, and avocado.
‘Pitcher’ Mason Jars

I love this spin on the classic mason jar. These are heavy duty and leak proof. Best part is the handle. This detail makes it safe to handle if the liquid is quite heavy. I always recommend a sealing ring on any lid as it keeps the contents airtight, and this version has it. What makes this one really special is that you can make a cold brew in it. As an avid iced tea drinker, I absolutely love it!

  • Sheet Pan Dinners: Roasting a variety of veggies and protein on a sheet pan is an easy way to make a complete meal with minimal cleanup. Try a sheet pan dinner with salmon, asparagus, sweet potatoes or chicken thighs, Brussels sprouts, and butternut squash.
  • Overnight Oats: For a quick and filling breakfast option, mix rolled oats, milk, and your favorite toppings (like fruit, nuts, and honey) in a jar and let it sit overnight in the fridge. In the morning, grab and go!
2 glass jars with overnight oats, chocolate chips and cream topping dripping over the edge; solid cream colour background in half the image displaying the headline  which reads  5 easy oats recipes overnight oats and button to click to blog post
Photo credit: Unsplash | Graphics: Crave Nutritional Cooking
  • Freezer-Friendly Soups and Stews: Soups and stews are great for meal prep because they can be made in large batches and frozen for later. Try a hearty lentil soup or a vegetable-packed minestrone.
yellow red lentil soup in round white bowl with silver spoon, drizzled with pieces of green kale
Photo Credit & Graphics: Crave Nutritional Cooking

Remember, the key to successful meal prep is finding recipes that work for you and your family’s tastes and preferences. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things!

Tips for Working Moms: Strategies for Success and Simplification

As a working mom, meal prep can be a lifesaver. It can save you time, money, and stress during the week. However, it can also feel overwhelming to add another task to your already busy schedule.

Here are some strategies for success and simplification when it comes to meal prep:
  • Plan ahead: Take some time on the weekend to plan out your meals for the week. Consider what ingredients you already have on hand and what meals can be made with those ingredients. This will save you time and money at the grocery store.
  • Keep it simple: Don’t feel like you need to make elaborate meals for every day of the week. Stick to simple recipes that can be made in bulk and easily reheated throughout the week.

  • Use your slow cooker: Slow cookers are a working mom’s best friend. You can throw all the ingredients in before work and come home to a hot, delicious meal.
Crockpot, a kitchen staple

This slow cooker is here to help you out with whatever you need. It can cook your food, keep it warm until you’re ready to eat, and even feed up to 9 people! The best part? It’s so easy to use. Just put the ingredients in the pot and turn it on—the slow cooker will do the rest. It’s perfect for busy days when you don’t have time to cook or when you’re not sure what to make for dinner.

Soups are the quickest dish to batch cook

  • Prep in batches: Instead of prepping individual meals, consider prepping ingredients in batches. For example, chop all your vegetables for the week at once or cook a large batch of rice that can be used in multiple meals.
two food containers containing meals prepped in advance, chickpeas, sliced avocados, rice and coriander leaves
Photo credit: Unsplash | Graphics: Crave Nutritional Cooking
  • Get the family involved: Meal prep doesn’t have to be a solo task. Get your partner or kids involved in the process. They can help with chopping vegetables or portioning out meals.

By implementing these strategies, meal prep can become a seamless part of your weekly routine. Not only will it save you time and stress, but it can also lead to healthier eating habits for you and your family.

Conclusion: Making Meal Prep a Part of Your Lifestyle

Prepping meals ahead of time, in batches, is a powerful tool for anyone looking to save time, money, and stress in their busy lives.

By taking the time to plan ahead, stock up on essential tools and supplies, and experiment with healthy and delicious recipes, you can transform your relationship with food and make mealtime a source of joy and nourishment.

Whether you’re a working mom juggling multiple responsibilities or simply someone who wants to eat well without breaking the bank, mastering meal prep is an achievable goal that can have a profound impact on your health and happiness.

So why not give it a try? With a little practice and patience, you’ll soon be a meal prep pro.

If you liked this blog post, you’ll love this article about healthy eating on a budget.

Would you like to see another blog post about smart meal planning?

Let me know in the comments section, I value your feedback.

*cravenutritionalcooking.com does not give medical advice. Where there is a reference to it, the phrasing is used to illustrate a point or give context to food and cooking for nutrition. It is not related to a specific condition or any specific individual. Always consult your healthcare professional for medical and dietetic advice before embarking on any type of eating plan or ingesting nutritional supplements.

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