Meal and snack prepping can be a great way to save time and ensure that your kids and family have nutritious and delicious options readily available. This is especially helpful for busy parents, since it can be far too tempting to just order a pizza instead of having to think about what to cook.
Meal and snack planning takes out the guessing game of what we are going to eat. By having nutritious options prepped and ready to go, you are making it that much easier to eat healthy without having to think much about it at the moment.
Supplies and Planning
Meal and snack prepping does require a bit of planning. This means making your shopping list for the week to get all of the ingredients you need to food prep for the week. When planning, keep it simple. Think of veggies, lean protein, whole grains and fruit. Choose ingredients that can be combined in numerous ways to create a variety of meals. Additionally, there are a few supplies you may want to invest in to make your prepping easier, which includes:
- Individual sized meal storage containers - these are great to divide your prepped meals into single servings, so you and your family can simply grab a container and go!
- Reusable sandwich bags - great for prepping tasty snacks that can be thrown into your kids lunchboxes or take with you to work. We like the reusable version as in the long run this will save you money.
- Snack containers - you can find these just about anywhere and there a lot of varieties. We really like the stackable options that include an area for dippings like hummus or peanut butter.
- Mason jars - these are great for adult meals on the go since you can layer items or create a salad on the go. These allow you to add your dressing, shake and enjoy!
Meal Prepping Ideas
Lunchbox Sandwiches: Prepare a batch of sandwiches using whole-grain bread, lean proteins (such as turkey, chicken, or hummus), and plenty of veggies. Wrap them individually and store in the fridge or freezer. They can be quickly packed in lunch boxes. Include your dressing or sauce on the side so the bread doesn’t get soggy.
Pasta Salads: Make a large batch of pasta salad with whole-grain pasta, veggies, cheese, and a protein source (chicken, beans, or tofu). Divide into portions and refrigerate for easy lunches or dinners.
Grilled Chicken Strips: Grill or bake a batch of chicken strips and store them in the fridge. These can be used for salads, wraps, or as a main dish paired with veggies and grains.
Burritos / Wraps: Create burritos or wraps with whole-wheat tortillas, lean meats, beans, rice, and veggies. Wrap them in foil and freeze. Microwave or bake to reheat.
Quiches / Mini Frittatas: Prepare a batch of mini quiches or frittatas filled with veggies, cheese, and eggs. These can be reheated for a quick and protein-packed breakfast or snack.
Sheet Pan Veggies and Protein: Take your favorite veggies and toss them with a little olive oil, seasoning and herbs. Add a lean protein like chicken, seasoned to your liking. Pop it in the oven to roast. Once cooled you can divide the complete meal of veggies and protein into containers that can be easily grabbed on the go.
Overnight Oats: Make a big batch of oats that can be portioned into individual containers for an easy nutritious breakfast. You can then top your creation with anything you like, fruit, nuts, chia, etc.
Snack Prepping Ideas
Cut-Up Veggies and Hummus: Wash, peel, and chop a variety of veggies (carrots, cucumber, bell peppers) and store them in snack-sized containers. Pair with hummus for a nutritious snack.
Fruit Parfaits: Layer yogurt, granola, and mixed fruits in individual jars or containers. These are perfect for grab-and-go snacks or breakfast. Be mindful of how much added sugar is in your yogurt. Opt for one with no or very low added sugars.
Trail Mix: Create a custom trail mix with nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and a few dark chocolate chips. Portion them into small reusable bags for convenient snacking.
Cheese and Whole-Grain Crackers: Portion out slices of cheese with whole-grain crackers for a balanced and satisfying snack.
Energy Bites: Make no-bake energy bites using oats, nut butter, honey, and mix-ins like chocolate chips or dried fruits. Store them in the fridge for quick energy boosts.
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup nut butter (such as peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter)
1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
1/2 cup ground flaxseed or chia seeds
1/2 cup add-ins (choose from chopped nuts, dried fruits, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, etc.)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
A pinch of salt (optional)
Mix Dry Ingredients: In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, ground flaxseed or chia seeds, and any add-ins you've chosen (chopped nuts, dried fruits, etc.). Mix well to distribute the add-ins evenly.
Add Wet Ingredients: Add the nut butter, honey or maple syrup, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt (if using) to the bowl. Mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are well combined.
Chill Mixture: Place the mixture in the refrigerator for about 15-30 minutes. Chilling the mixture will make it easier to handle when forming the energy bites.
Form Energy Bites: Once the mixture has chilled, use your hands to scoop out small portions and roll them into bite-sized balls. You can make them as big or as small as you like.
Set and Store: Place the energy bites on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let them set in the refrigerator for an additional 15-30 minutes before transferring them to an airtight container.
Frozen Yogurt Bites: Drop spoonfuls of yogurt onto a baking sheet and top with fruits or nuts. Freeze until solid, then transfer to a container for a cold and creamy snack.
Popcorn: Air-pop some popcorn and portion it into individual bags or containers. You can add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast or cinnamon for flavor.
Hard Boiled Eggs: Boil a dozen eggs and peel. Place 1-2 eggs in a container and top with your choice of seasonings.
Cottage Cheese: Portion out cottage cheese and top with your choice of fruit or go savory and throw in some cherry tomatoes, smoked salmon and herbs.
The Possibilities are Endless!
Remember to consider any dietary restrictions or preferences your family might have. When prepping, try to involve your kids in the process as much as possible, as it can make them more excited about the meals and snacks. Also, make sure to rotate the menu to keep things interesting and appealing.