7 Healthy Food Prep Hacks for a Busy Household

January 22, 2019 0 Comments

healthy food prep hacks

Everything in the world now seems fast-paced and busy--you can book flights with a few clicks and a few seconds to wait, information can spread through wildfire, deadlines are everywhere, and people have two or more jobs in order to get by. 

Imagine all these pressures for moms (and dads) who have to go to the office and work, attend to personal matters, and still take care of their families! 

When you’re rushing to get out the door in the morning or get dinner on the table at night and everyone is just exhausted to whip up a nice dinner, pulling together healthy meals can seem next to impossible especially if you plan to shift on a different and specific healthy diet.

That’s where meal prep comes in!

While it may feel overwhelming to plan an entire week of meals, snacks, and then prepare most of it in advance, the benefits will outweigh all the hassle of preparation.

The secret is to find what strategy works for you. 

Fortunately, there are no specific guidelines or rules that apply when it comes to food preps. With some simple hacks and tricks, you can plan ahead of time and have a system in place to get breakfast, lunch and dinner on the table every day. 

Here are some sure-fire tips you can go with when it comes to food prep in a jiffy

7 Meal Prep Hacks for a Busy Household

1. Map out your family’s events in a week

Expert meal preppers suggest you map out the week with events for the week: meetings, class schedules, after school practices, appointments, etc.—of all the members of your family so that you know which meals to plan and prepare for.

Make a list, plot a schedule, and have a game plan--these will all come in handy if your family has a very specific diet like vegan or keto. 

meal planning

2. Store food in airtight containers

One of the most common concerns of people who are still dancing with the idea of food preparation is the shelf life of food and the safety of storing them for longer periods of time. The answer: clear glass, airtight food storage containers.

They help prevent food from spoiling, drying out, getting soggy or absorbing odors from other foods in the fridge while also making them distinguishable. 

Moreover, glass containers are also preferable because you pop them in the microwave straight from the fridge or freezer.

airtight containers

3. Cut and carve in advance

Allot some time during the weekends, (or whenever you can) to wash, pre-cut, and prepare the needed ingredients you’ll need for the week. 

Store them in individual containers or clean Ziploc bags so you’ll know what you have on hand, especially if you’re still thinking of what to cook for your family. 

They can also come handy as quick snacks.

advance preparation

4. Use ice cube trays

Re-imagine ice cubes. In food prepping, ice cube trays are not just for making ice, they’re also for storing portion-sized or bite-sized servings of soups, snacks, appetizers, etc.

Store homemade baby food purees, leftover stock, smoothies, pasta sauce, pesto and herbs—even coffee for a quick and easy cup of cold brew.

Thawing and reheating will not take as long because you’ll only take what you need and not the whole thing.

ice cube trays food storage

5. For a hassle-free breakfast, make overnight oats

Mornings can be the most hectic part of the day, especially for working parents with kids going to school. 

Why not whip something easy, healthy, and delicious for breakfast by preparing it the night before?

Instead of instant cereals or oatmeal, fill your mason jars with oats, fruit, nuts or seeds and milk the night before for a quick and easy breakfast. 

You can include anything you want like granola bars, protein bites and crunches, dried fruits, etc. 

Tired of your usual ingredients? Try these yummy and healthy recipes out!

overnight oats breakfast

6. Experiment with mason jar salads

What do you think is the easiest and healthiest food to prepare? That’s right! A salad! 

Prepare your salads in advance and store them in mason jars!

Here’s how it’s done: Pour your dressing at the bottom of the jar. Layer with dense vegetables like peppers or carrots, followed by your other favorite ingredients like whole grains, fiber-rich beans, and dried fruit. Save the top half of the jar for your leafy greens. If you’re prepping ahead, place a thin paper towel on the top to absorb the extra moisture.

Mason jar salads are very colorful and appetizing to look at. Nutritionists say that this is one way of making your kids eat more fruits and vegetables.

healthy mason jar salads

7. Cook a week's worth of grains in one go

One of the easiest hacks in food preparation is cooking a week’s worth of grains in one go. Prepare a large batch of your favorite grain: quinoa, chia seeds, brown rice, pasta or couscous.

Since most of these require a similar method of cooking: you can just boil water in a large pot, add in low-sodium broth for flavor.

When all liquid is absorbed, spread it out on a baking sheet to cool more quickly, then pack into single-serving containers. You can freeze these for several weeks if needed.

These grains are excellent sources of high-quality carbohydrates and can be added to desserts or taken as post workout meals. Use your creativity when incorporating them with other ingredients.

brown rice quinoa


Wrapping Up

Prepping meals ahead doesn’t have to be boring or overwhelming—or else, it defeats its purpose. 

Nor does it need to be complicated or involve a lot of techniques. You just need to spare a couple of hours to focus on it, and then you’re done for a week!

The biggest challenge for people when it comes to sticking to their health goals is making last-minute decisions about eating: What's available right now? Do they have the energy to cook after a hard day at work? Would they have enough time to prepare breakfast? 

Food preppers say that preparing food in advance will let you have more willpower to stick with your plan to eat healthy yet delicious food without the added hassle of cooking every time.

What meal prep technique are you doing? Do you think meal prepping is an awesome way to save time? 

Let us know your thoughts!