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Cooking all day is not fun--it's hard enough to be a mom, let alone a professional chef. Especially being stuck inside all day, it can feel like we are all cooking more food, more often. But even with all the kiddos at home, meal prepping can be an easy way to save time throughout the week and even throughout the month. 

Coming up with a meal plan can save us from the stress of not knowing what to make for dinner, not to mention a lot of money on groceries. Sitting down and thinking about each meal throughout the week before heading to the store can help give you an idea about what you actually need. This is especially helpful with those long, long lines to get into the store. (Pro tip: buying food that’s in season can help reduce the cost of your groceries, too! If you’re in the store and see that a certain food is on sale, don’t be afraid to change up that plan to help the budget). 

After your plan is all made, you’re halfway there. You can take a weekend to chop up veggies for snacks and to make any freezable food that you can reheat throughout the week for a quick, simple meal. 

Making foods in bulk can also cut costs and time. Certain meals take longer than others, and so many things can be frozen, including soups (just don’t freeze any noodles!), burritos, enchiladas, pizzas, lasagnas, breads, meatballs, or muffins. Even lots of produce can be frozen, just check beforehand. A couple weeks after eating a meal the first time, you can enjoy it again. All it takes is a quick reheat and you’re good to go. 

Consult with the kiddos to see what their favorite meals are (or even their not-so-favorite meals), and take it into consideration when you’re prepping or planning. They’ll be more likely to try new foods when they still have those comforting, familiar foods around on other days. Plus, if you end up exhausted after a long day, you can avoid a dinner time dilemma by serving up something you know they can’t complain about. 

Other tips: 

Make sure your food is completely cool before packing it away! This protects the freshness of the food and prevents the steam from making anything soggy. 

Prepare or have ready a large amount of each specific ingredient you know you’ll use in several of your dishes (like garlic, salt, herbs, or spices). 

Pay close attention to what your family actually eats! This can help you maximize the food you buy and avoid any waste. 

Use leftovers! You can eat them as is or even repurpose them into a whole other meal. This is also a huge money and time saver. 

Happy cooking and happy eating!!