Okay, so I don’t always have Sunday afternoons to meal prep for the week ahead and it kinda throws my health game a curveball. This weekend we took the kiddos to Atlanta for a Mets game (that got rained out, btw) and didn’t get back until Sunday night. This is it, the situation I dread… I am not as prepared going into the week as I’d like and feel like I may struggle to stay on track. Meal prepping is amazing when I have time to do it, but it takes a little effort and time. Sometimes we go out of town, like this weekend, or sometimes something spontaneous happens on a Sunday and I want to enjoy it with my family.
Here are some tips that I have for staying on track, even when you can’t take time to plan the week ahead on Sunday:
- Have stuff in the freezer at all times to back you up
- Frozen chicken breast in bags of 3-4 can be popped into the crock pot with a cup of water or broth on low in the morning and by the evening, it’s easily shredded. I put a little BBQ seasoning in and make a Pulled Chicken, giving the kiddos bread or mac and cheese with it and using a bag salad mix
- Trader Joes makes a frozen Roasted Vegetable Lasagna that is pretty good! I paired with a bag salad the day my son got his tubes in and boom, dinner.
- I ALWAYS have chicken nuggets at the ready for the kids
- Frozen Talapia can be cooked in minutes in the frying pan. I pop some coconut oil in the bottom of a medium-high fry pan, sprinkle blackening seasoning on each side of the frozen fish and cover, cooking on one side for 3 minutes, then flipping and covering until it’s flaky… maybe another 2-3 minutes. I put this on top of my Marinated Feta Coleslaw if I have time to make it ahead
- I buy ground turkey/chicken in bulk when it’s on sale and freeze it in 1 LB. bags. You can make tacos/nachos super easy by thawing the meat in the microwave just a little before cooking in the fry pan. Check out my recipe for Taco Seasonings without all the added sugar as the store bought stuff!
- Make your meal plan with what you have on hand in mind
- I have a list of tried and true recipes my family likes that are EASY! I don’t have much down time with my job, two kids, a hubby who travels for work and any extra-curricular activities. I need dinner to be done quickly and my list of go-to recipes helps me every week
- Because I have a ton in the freezer, I can make a quick plan for dinners so at least I have an idea of what is going to happen day to day. Even if I switch things around or change things up, it makes me feel more in control when I have an outline
- If you are missing one ingredient, it’s easier to stop and grab that one thing than it is to do a whole grocery shopping trip! For example: I stopped for bag salad and the frozen Vegetable Lasagna from Trader Joes. I got an extra bag salad for my Wednesday Night dinner of pulled chicken.
- Have healthy lunch box items that are grab and go
- For the Kids:
- I try to always have Cliff Bars, yogurt squeezers, string cheese with wheat thins, boxes of raisins, and granola bars on hand for those mornings I forget to make lunches and have to throw things together
- Hormel makes lunchbox grab and go packs that are made with decent ingredients. The kids love them and they are super easy to pop into the lunchbox for some protein!
- For the Adults:
- Cans of tuna on top of bagged lettuce with some garlic hummus thinned out with a little water to make it the consistency of salad dressing is super easy! Top with any veggies you have on hand.
- I keep Boca Chkn Patties on hand in the freezer in case I need protein lunches. Pair with sprouted grain wraps for quick crispy “chicken” wrap. Throw a pickle on that and I am in heaven!
- I always have a carton of egg whites and a bottle of salsa in the pantry. mix those two together to make salsa scrambled eggs for a quick, protein-filled lunch. If you have feta or goat cheese on hand, mix that with the salsa eggs after you take them off the heat to melt the cheese a little.
- For the Kids:
The moral of my tale is try to have your freezer/pantry stocked with items you can make your easiest meals with… that way you are prepared in the cases of a crazy, spontaneous weekend! Don’t miss out on life just because you have goals, you can totally do both by stockpiling your go-to ingredients.
What are your favorite tips for staying on track on busy weeks when there is no time to meal prep?