Posts Tagged ‘cook once eat twice’

Make-Ahead Meals Will Change Your Life

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

make ahead meals

When my now five-year-old daughter was born my mother in law came to visit us and stocked my freezer with homemade meals. It was so unbelievably helpful that just last month I paid it forward to my sister-in-law, whose first baby is due next month. I was working full time when my daughter was born and having a supply of healthy meals to grab out of the freezer was amazing.

Since then lots of things have changed for my family–I work part time from home now, my daughter is in preschool three days a week, but even though I technically have more time to prepare meals for the family being prepared with make ahead meals is still an absolute game changer.

There are a few different ways you can go about doing this. Some people like to spend one day a week shopping, meal planning and prepping for the week. That means being prepared with a meal plan, getting everything you need for the week and prepping. You can wash, chop and even roast vegetables, cook grains, and even season or cook your proteins.

You can even take it a step farther and portion out lunches for the week for anyone who needs one.  Breakfasts can be done the same way–making egg muffins, overnight oats, and baked oatmeal, healthy breakfast breads and cutting up and portioning out fruit. This kind of planning works great for family meals and even for preschool or school lunches.

The downside is that it will take up a good chunk of a day- if you have the flexibility to do this on a weekday that’s what I try to do so it doesn’t eat into our weekend.

Another way to go which is probably my favorite is to take time to load up the freezer. You can either take one day a month to get it done or just double and triple portions of everything when you cook. If you’re making a casserole make three instead, have one for dinner and stick two in the freezer. If spaghetti and meatballs is on the menu for dinner triple the meatballs, then all you have to do is boil some pasta, toss together a salad and throw in the already made meatballs.

Breakfasts can be done the same way to be stocked in the freezer and so can so many school lunches. Pancakes, waffles, French toast–they can all be frozen and re-heated in the toaster. Think of anything that you would buy frozen from the store and you can easily recreate them at a fraction of the price and with healthier ingredients. These can include breakfast burritos, homemade pizzas, I love using pie crusts for making things like homemade pop tarts or filling them (or pizza dough!) with savory ingredients like chicken and pesto or ground beef and cheese.

The more prepared foodyou have in the freezer, the less food prep you’ll have to do the rest of the week. So if you’re scrambling around trying to figure out what’s for dinner or what to pack in a lunchbox, give it a try and I guarantee once you get the hang of it you’ll save yourself a lot of time!

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception to those trying to get their groove back after pregnancy to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mom and baby.