Tuesday, February 28, 2017

How I Meal Prep For My Family

Every parent knows that it's hard to cook when you have a young child around who needs supervision.  When I do make meals, I try to have Scarlett in the kitchen with me or in the living room watching TV where I can see her from the kitchen.  If she's in the kitchen, she's opening every single cabinet and taking items out.  She's very strong and now can open my pull-out drawer freezer too and start going through the frozen food.  It's stressful and makes it hard to focus on what you're making! It's easier for me to make meals in advance when Scarlett's eating in her high chair or napping.

I've gotten into a good rhythm lately with meals for the week that is actually working well for my family.  Each Sunday I sit down with my husband and I write down what each dinner will be for the 5 nights of the week.  When I go grocery shopping it's a joy to actually buy items that you know you'll be cooking and what ingredients go with them for each meal.  I used to buy packages of chicken and come up with ways to use them in my head, but that's really not sustainable.  It's a lot easier to use each item for a specific meal each day, then buy willy-nilly and hope you come up with dinners for them.

Let's say you make a chicken casserole on Monday night for dinner.  The idea behind this system is that you'll have enough leftovers to eat it again on Tuesday, which saves you a day of cooking.  The huge benefit is that you don't have to worry about what to make on Tuesday! It's been a huge weight off of my shoulders not to think of what we're having every single day hours before I make it. Since Scarlett eats dinner at 5 pm, way before my husband gets home from work, she may have leftovers of our previous meal for dinner.  If there's nothing left from that meal, then she gets a completely separate meal made just for her.  My husband and I eat together when he gets home.

Since I stay at home with Scarlett during the week, I make her a fresh breakfast and lunch every day.  Some days there may be leftovers from lunch the previous day, and she'll eat that.  She loves eggs, toast, and yogurt for breakfast among others.  For lunch she usually has turkey meatballs with veggies, or peanut butter and jelly, or something along those lines.

Life is so much easier when you plan meals in advance and it becomes a true joy to cook.  I only have so many hours in the day, why lose time worrying and stressing over meals each day?

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