I love eating healthy, but if I don’t prepare for the week, I get lazy. Laziness leads to poor decisions when it comes to meal time, and that means unhealthy choices. By unhealthy, I mean processed food. Here’s and example: we could have eaten carrot sticks and hummus instead of toasted bread with jam, or goldfish crackers. This also leads to poor decision making from my child. I am supposed to be an example for him, so when I make poor food choices, he makes them too. Thus begins the cycle of picky eating, and it is a hard one to break.
What are the benefits of preparing ahead?
You will save time. Since your food is already prepared, you won’t have to spend extra time during the week preparing your snacks and meals. Meal time becomes a matter of opening the fridge and grabbing some containers of fresh food you have already prepared. This is great for kids lunches, working professionals who bring their food to work, and packing snacks for outings and family trips.
Reduce stress. When you finally look up at the clock and realize that is is 6:30 p.m., your family is hungry and you haven’t even started dinner, this will save you. I chop and portion vegetables, plan our dinners, and prepare huge pots of rice ahead of time. Take away the daily prep, and you take away the stress of throwing together dinner. Preparing things that take a long time to cook is helpful as well. I had sweet potatoes and new potatoes in the oven while I prepared this food.
Save money. When you carefully plan out every thing you and your family will eat during the week you can save hundreds of dollars. It won’t take long, and you can save time and cash at the grocery store. Eat mostly raw, whole foods and limit processed foods. Visit the local farmers market and eat locally. By purchasing exactly what you need to last your family one week, you can eat better quality food, avoid fast food trips, and grab food in a hurry.
Make healthier choices. When the food is pre-portioned, cut, cleaned, and organized in the fridge, it is a lot easier to choose something healthy. Oliver was encouraged and very interested in the foods I was preparing. He was naming the veggies, tasting them, and trying to help put them into their containers. He also knows what my favorites are and made sure I ate some while I was preparing.
Food preparation should only take 2 hours one day a week. The best time to do it is the day you go grocery shopping. We went shopping Friday, and since we were snowed in today, I decided it was a great oppourtunity to prepare some snacks and meals for the week. Sorry about the blurry top shelf in this photo, but I wanted to show how we organize the fridge. The fresh veggies that I prepared are on the bottom shelf so Oliver can have easy access to them when he wants a snack. Even if he doesn’t show interest in them right away, he will see them every time we open the fridge. I prepared sugar snap peas, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, and yogurt for the boys. I also baked sweet potatoes, and roasted red potatoes for the week.
Pre-portioned servings make snack time easier, and they save money by reducing overeating and waste. By eating the correct serving size, your food will last longer! If you are dieting this is very helpful when you are counting calories or trying to reach a specific goal.
If you want to make living a healthy lifestyle easy, then you need to plan. It doesn’t take much, but if you put in the effort, you and your family will benefit.
Tip: Get your kids involved by letting them pick out some fun storage containers and fruits and veggies to prepare for their snacks.