Weeknight dinners for my family of five were often a challenge. How do you have a healthy dinner while also driving the mom taxi for sports and school activities? Add in a busy work schedule and it’s easy to see how drive through dinners look easier! But not only is fast food not a healthy option, it’s a real budget buster.
My first trick to handle this dilemma is meal planning. Look at your week’s activities and obligations for each day. Which days would you have time to cook at home? And which days need a faster solution? You can download our weekly meal planner here:
My favorite meals to plan for busy nights are sandwiches, wraps, and salads. All of those options could be assembled in advance to grab and go. To make those options even easier (and healthier!), I like to do some simple meal prep on the days when I have some time to cook. Here are three simple meal prep ideas that don’t require a ton of time on your part.
Grill or Cook Large Quantities of Meat
Any time I have grilled meat on my meal plan, I always plan to grill at least twice as much as I need for that meal. I like to grill three or four times what I need for one meal. Leave some whole for sandwiches and chop some into strips before storing it in your refrigerator or freezer. Now you have an easy protein source to top salads or add to wraps.
I live in the south so we tend to grill out year-round. But if you live in a colder climate, this tip works just as well for baking, roasting, instant pot cooking, crock pot cooking, or pan sauteing meat.
Cook Large Quantities of Veggies
Any time I cook vegetables, whether it’s on the grill, roasted in the oven, steamed or sauteed on top of my stove, I always make at least double the amount I need for that meal. Having veggies already cooked and ready to eat means we are more likely to eat them.
Ways I use pre-cooked vegetables:
- mix them into scrambled eggs in the morning
- add them in a wrap
- toss them on top of a salad
- warm them up to eat along with a main dish
Cut up Raw Veggies for your Fridge
As soon as I get back from the grocery store I like to cut up a bunch of raw veggies to store in my refrigerator. Cutting them up as soon as I buy them means they are ready to eat at any meal. I can toss them onto a salad, in a wrap, on a sandwich, or just grab a handful to eat on the side.
That’s it! Three simple tips you can start immediately to help make your weekday meal times easier, healthier, and less expensive.
Do you have any tricks that you use to make dinner time easier in your home? I’d love to hear about them! Leave me a comment to help other busy moms.