One of my friends recently told me that she doesn’t know how I meal prep without it taking 3-4 hours. Meal prep does not have to take hours to have several meals ready for the week.
This is a quick walk through of my meal planning weekend so you can see that meal prep doesn’t have to take HOURS and HOURS. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
By the end of my meal prep hour I will have:
3 breakfasts which I will split with my daughter. My husband is a Cheerios and milk kinda guy, so no prep there.
3 lunches for my husband.
3 lunches for my daughter and I.
Plenty of snacks for the whole week: Hard boiled eggs, fresh fruit, Greek yogurt.
Dinner for Sunday, which will also leave leftovers for dinners the next two days.
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I do not always have time to prep lunches, so the easiest way to prep is to kill two birds with one stone. Plan a large dinner on Saturday or Sunday, which will give us leftovers for lunches. Once done with dinner I can quickly portion out the left overs into some smaller lunch containers so we can grab-and-go.
Since Saturday was a hot hot hot day (104 degrees! ICK!!) I kept dinner simple. 10 minutes to prep altogether. There was absolutely no way we were heating up the stove or oven, and going outside to grill would have been just as terrible.
I used an already made rotisserie chicken because it was way too hot to cook. Peeled the skin and broke a part the whole chicken and cut it up.
Separated out the amount we would need for dinner this night, and put the rest in a tight container for three lunches throughout the week. I tossed together a kale salad (it was one of those pre-packaged ones)
4. I made a quick sauce with Greek yogurt, lemon, and minced garlic.
Added some fruit and cherry tomatoes as a side and dinner was done.
The leftover chicken, kale salad and sauce will serve as our lunches for Monday through Wednesday, they will be served in wraps.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Sunday Meal Prep:
Most of my meal prepping happens on Sundays, but it doesn’t have to take the whole day. This meal prep takes about an hour.
Step 1: Start boiling the water for the eggs.
Step 2: Prep the overnight oats. These literally take 5 minutes to prep. They are the best! I do them three days at a time because if I do all five days the texture and consistency get kinda sticky by Friday. This recipe is super simple- Click here
*As a side note, I will add the yummy toppings in the mornings which take me 1 minute. This week I am doing Trail mix and honey.
Step 3: Prep my husband’s lunches. He eats the same thing every day and he’s okay with that. He’s a fan of sandwiches, so this week is PB and J. I also prep three in advance. If I do the full week, they get yucky. If I prep a deli meat and cheese sandwich with mayo and mustard, I separate the toppings such as lettuce and tomatoes into a separate bag so they don’t get wilty and gross.
>> For those of you doing the math, you will notice there is a problem. I am missing 2 more days of the work week. On Wednesday night I will repeat this process by making two more oats and 2 more sandwiches. This isn’t too bad because these are easy meals which will take me10 minutes total.
*As a side note he will take a sandwich, two pieces of fruit or veggies, and a granola bar every day for lunch and snacks.
Step 4: By now the egg water is boiling. I put the eggs in, and set the timer for 12-13 minutes.
Step 5: While the eggs are boiling wash all the fresh fruit that shouldn’t be cut up, peel off the stickers and put back in the fridge.
Step 6: This week I bought a Watermelon, so I am also cutting this up. I am portioning out a large chunk to bring with us to a kids play date this week, and 5 small containers for my husband.
Step 7: Cut up the veggies for later in the evening. We are grilling chicken, veggies (bell peppers) and potato’s. Since the cutting board is out now I may as well just get it done, even though it’s 10 in the morning.
Step 8: By now the eggs are done. Put them in an ice bath. This is the only method that has worked for me when it comes to making sure they peel easily. Let them sit for another 10 minutes or so in the ice water.
Step 10: Dry the eggs and put them in the fridge. Fortunately, this time there weren’t any casualties. That almost never happens.
Step 11: Play with my kid all day long because that prep took me an hour, and only dirtied up one cutting board, 1 knife, 1 strainer, and the pot for the eggs.
For Funsies Step: Okay okay okay… So one of my main goals is to make sure my kiddo knows how to make herself nutritious healthy food, so we are teaching her young. I decided to add zucchini muffins into the week day snacks. This is kind of an added step because I wanted to do something fun with her, and we were having a lazy Sunday. Plus she likes cooking or baking with me. This is also a great way to teach following instructions. It is not a needed snack if you don’t have time, but it’s an awesome treat, and they are seriously delicious. BUT if you don’t have time it isn’t necessary.
Step 12: The hubby is grilling the family up the chicken thighs, potatoes, and veggies tonight while I hang with the kid and watch a movie. This meal takes about 45 minutes or so. But we purposely make a large quantity so that we will have plenty of leftovers. We will use the leftovers to make two more dinners this week with minimal effort.
Don’t forget to organize the fridge. There is a lot of prepped snacks, lunches, and dinners. The last thing we want is to have all of that delicious prepped food pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten.
Monday Night: Chicken Burrito Bowls
We are obsessed with burrito bowls. For Monday dinner I made some brown rice in the rice cooker. The kiddo helped me mash up some guacamole. Then we topped it all off with the chicken and bell pepper leftovers.
Tuesday Night: Chicken Tacos
We are also obsessed with soft tacos. Heat up the chicken and veggies from Sunday night, and a few corn tortillas. Use the leftover guacamole from the night before and dinner is done.
Wednesday Night: Spinach Scrambled Eggs and Fruit
There are some nights where I am running on empty. Scrambled eggs take very little time. So scrambled eggs and fruit it is. Plus the kiddo likes helping me mix the eggs, and the fruit is already cut up. Also, for some reason she will only eat Spinach in eggs. SCORE!
We also can’t forget Meal Prep Step 13: Prep 2 more overnight oats and 2 more sandwiches.
If I have run out of the leftovers from the weekend, I will often throw together a chicken salad or tuna salad for the next two days and put it in a wrap or on top of a spinach salad. This takes less than 10 minutes.
Thursday dinner: Turkey Burger with Avocado on Whole Wheat Thins
I’m a fan of 12-minute power meals on Thursday’s such as a turkey burger with avocado and a side of veggies or salmon and a side veggie. Both are easy, and I pull them from the freezer so I don’t have to worry about the meat being expired.
This happened to be the week that was Amazon Prime week, and I was a sucker and purchased one of those air fryers, so I gave that a go with sweet potato fries.
Friday dinner: Date Night In/ Steak Dinner and Sweet Potato Fries
Before we adopted our daughter I didn’t want to leave her often even if she was just sleeping. Our normal day-to-day babysitters were our parents and I didn’t want to take advantage of them. So we tried to keep date nights to a minimum. The problem is that we were going on dates regularly before baby girl came along, and I truly believe dating your spouse is important to keep the marriage strong. But with baby girl around we were never going out and we weren’t setting that time aside for us anymore.
Soon we adopted “date nights in” at least once every two weeks. Once our kiddo hits the hay, we cook up a delicious dinner, chat and listen to music. I love this dinner because it doesn’t take a lot of effort, and it is AH-MAZING!
Don’t worry, the kiddo ate too. She had a quesadilla with some cherry tomatoes and avocado. Which she enjoyed because she helped make it.
What are some easy meal prep snacks or tips that you use? We are all busy parents. Let’s face it, food should not be something that stresses us out. It is meant to fuel us and give us the energy we need to chase these kiddos around. It’s also the fuel they need to develop those developing brains. What are some easy meal prep suggestions that you use?
Interested in trying out this easy dinner menu?
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Hope this helps! Happy Prepping!