When it comes to making healthy choices at meal times and managing our work-life balance, time can often get the better of us, which can lead to making unhealthy decisions. Meal prepping is one of the best ways to reinforce positive eating habits.
Meal prepping allows you to pre-plan meals that include a variety of fresh, whole foods that are crucial in providing you and your family’s bodies with enough energy to get through the day and enjoy life!
I’ve put together my top tips to help optimise the way you integrate meal prepping into your life, which will ultimately save you money, seriously benefit your health, and in turn free up your time that’s far better spent on your loved ones.
Create a weekly menu and shopping list
If you don’t live close to a supermarket, there is nothing worse come meal time than realising you’ve forgotten an essential ingredient to the meal. It can also be quite overwhelming to make a healthy choice when there’s nothing in your fridge and the kids’ tummies are rumbling!
This is where a weekly menu and shopping list comes in handy. By purchasing your weekly shop items once a week, you decrease the total time spent at the shops and you also remove the need for those pesky midweek dashes, which helps to create more time to spend with your family in the evenings.
A weekly menu also increases the likelihood of preparing nutritious meals and additionally helps to reduce food waste! I recommend setting aside a specific time each week when you’re feeling particularly inspired to create your meal plan and shopping list, whether that’s on your own or if it involves the whole family, which doubles as a great way to teach your children about making healthy eating choices!
Choose meals that include a protein, wholegrains and fruits or vegetables
When meal prepping for your family’s weekly menu, try to create balanced meals for each occasion. A balanced meal should include a protein, such as meat, eggs, nuts or beans, a few serves of fruit or vegetables and whole grains like pasta, oats or wholemeal bread.
Having a whole week planned of delicious, balanced meals will ensure that everyone in the family will have enough energy to get through the work or school day and for the fun moments too!
Take into account you and your family’s lifestyle
If you’re hard-pressed getting everyone out the door in the morning, choose meals that have shorter preparation times. Always look at the method of a recipe and if it’s lengthy, check if it’s freezer-friendly or can be made the evening before, which can be especially helpful for feeding kids in the morning!
As I mentioned earlier it’s important to eat balanced meals for energy, but it’s equally important to plan meals that match you and your family’s energy output too. If you have ravenous teenagers or your kids play a different sport every night of the week, they’ll likely need to eat more protein and carbs to push through the day’s activities.
I also recommend cooking for more than one meal when you can too. If I’m making curry or pasta, for example, I’ll cook enough for the next evening too which completely opens up our evening to enjoy!
Don’t forget to add a protein-rich snack for when hunger strikes
Don’t forget to account for snack times in your family’s meal plan! If you don’t have healthy snacks on hand, it can be tempting to choose unhealthy options like chips or biscuits.
Instead, opt for a protein-rich snack like fruit pieces dipped into a 100% natural peanut butter like Mayver’s. The protein in the peanut butter will help keep you fuller for longer and tie you over between meals.
My other favourite snacks include a smoothie with a handful of nuts, milk and a banana, a sushi roll with brown rice, peanut butter balls or even whole grain crackers with a nut spread like Mayver’s, cheese or avocado!
In addition to being an ambassador for Mayver’s, Susie Burrell is one of Australia’s leading dietitians, known for her extensive background in both nutrition and psychology and for her practical, easy to understand approach to diet, nutrition and wellbeing. Susie holds a Master’s Degree in Coaching Psychology at Sydney University, loves going on long walks around Sydney and is kept pretty busy with her twin boys, Gus & Harry.
Do you use meal prepping in your life? Do you plan meals or are more spontaneous? Tell us in the comments below.