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Tips for Family Meal Prep When You Don’t Have Time

by Angelique Platas

Feb 12, 2020

Photo: Elena Veselova | Dreamstime.com

Travel Tips

Whether you just have one precious day of the week (or spare few hours) to get it together for the school and work days ahead, the last thing you are thinking about are meals. Despite social media posts and detailed descriptions of meal prepping tips and tricks, you’re not the only one not on this bandwagon yet.


Sure, having grab-and-go breakfasts, lunches, healthy snacks and even prepped dinners is a great way to get some free time back during the week or ensure the kids are eating healthy even on the go, but it’s not always as simple as it seems — don’t worry, it can be. Follow our no-time guide with easy ways to meal prep while cutting a lot of corners.


First Thing’s First, Produce

Check out the produce section for weekly fixings like salad, carrots, celery and apples. Any versatile produce, like onions, peppers, spinach and mushrooms, can go either way — raw or cooked — so you have options throughout the week. Raw veggies can be added to any lunch bag for a healthy snack or added to the prepped stir-fry for dinner later. No waste, no problem.


Load Up on Staples

Large quantities of whole-grain rice, brown rice, quinoa or protein-loaded pasta, like Banza, can help your meal-prep day, hour, minute feel much more successful. With a pre-cooked (but not easily expired) protein base, your family can add pretty much anything to their portion for a hearty lunch, dinner or bus-ride snack — think quinoa with sliced grapes, walnuts and some dried fruit — and stay satisfied longer.


Meal prep. Photo: Kondratova | Dreamstime.com


Rice and beans are also great go-to ingredients as they can be a burrito bowl one day, stuffed pepper the next and crock-pot goodness after that.


Hit the Freezer Section

While grocery shopping, check out the frozen section for veggies, riced cauliflower, fruit and even Amy’s meals in a pinch — or a similar brand with little to no additives and chemicals. Items from the freezer section can have the same nutrients as fresh produce, but are already cut, prepped and in no rush to be prepared.


Purchasing pre-cut and prepared ingredients and meals can significantly cut down your meal-prepping time. With nutritional value labels breaking down serving size, you can easily lock in meals for the week.


Paying for Conveniences

No time (or energy) to peel, slice and dice? No problem, just opt for the pre-cut options, like pre-made salads, pre-cut fresh veggies, bowls of cut fruit and large quantities of dried fruit, nuts and healthy granolas and cereal. The dry goods can be made into a build-your-own trail mix for airport snacks, or added to yogurts for grab-and-go breakfasts. With pre-cut fruit and veg, you may pay a bit more, but if you know you’ll be more inclined to eat the already prepared produce, it’s worth it.


Save some time and consider having your groceries delivered. Yes, this is another added expense, but if it cuts out impulse buying and giving into the kids every whim to keep them happy, so it’s also worth it.


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