“With busier schedules in Jamie’s and Drew’s house, how are we managing meal prep and work to save time?”
Yeah, things sure have picked up around here.
Which is good, ‘cause I was getting bored! (I jest.)
One of the biggest challenges with eating healthy is always how much time it takes. Even though it doesn’t have to take the amount of time people complain about (one tweet mentioned making meals taking 3 hours, like—why?), it still does not provide the instant gratification some of us require, and for others, it extends the work day by a good hour.
The exhaustion is real.
I am currently “abroad,” much like Charlie was a few weeks ago, and planning for this trip has required doubling up on meal prep for a few weeks so this week Drew can just defrost a few items for Charlie to enjoy.
And here’s the thing: it doesn’t take much more time to prep 2-3x the amount of food. I mean chopping veggies, sure. But that’s ⅛ of the time it takes to prep a “stewp” or pasta sauce. And both of those freeze beautifully. As do cooked quinoa and brown rice—and cauliflower rice—which can all be made in large batches ahead of time. The real challenge is freezer space…
This doubling and tripling down on freezable recipes (and relying on old standbys like my slow cooker) has been saving my schedule and my back for a couple of weeks now. I can make two large recipe batches instead of four—supplement with previously frozen large batches and freeze extra of what I made this week. It works pretty well.
The challenges (beyond freezer space) include planning carefully and maintaining a flexible enough budget that we could afford to buy ingredients ahead of time. We’re in a position, thankfully, where we can do that, but if you’re not, let me recommend recipes such as our Kale and Lentil Soup. Highly affordable, super filling, delicious and nutritious. (Kale and Lentils? Come on!)
We have this system of extra food prep down (I grew up in a large family, so for me, this happens without thinking) so that while I’m gone, Drew only has to prep fresh veggies for snacks and salads and veggies noodles with a few cans of low sodium black and cannellini beans to maximize Charlie’s protein. Not too bad. Not too bad.