Simple Meal Prep Ideas

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Does getting homemade meal on the table hard to do? As a homemaker getting food on the table 2 or 3 times a day is a pretty big task. You have hungry children, and they are probably asking you what’s to eat! This can make mealtimes feel overwhelming I totally get it and have been there! I want to share with you some simple meal prep ideas. These are tips I use to make sure a meal is never too far away.

Wether you are a stay at home mom, you work part time or you work full time I am sure there are some tips here you can implement to make your life easier in the long run.

Easy meal prep ideas so you always have meals close at hand. Use these tips so you are never far from a healthy homemade meal.

1. Stock up on essentials

The most important thing is too actually have ingredients on hand. If cooking healthy from scratch meals is important to you make sure to have certain things on hand. Having your essential ingredients always stocked up will mean you always have ingredients to put a meal together.

If it’s easier for you have a printed laminated list of essentials you like to have on hand and when you do your grocery list check through your essential list to make sure you aren’t missing anything.

Here are some things I like to always have on hand to make meal prep simple.

Pantry Staples

  1. Spices: Salt, Pepper, Italian Seasoning, Paprika, Garlic powder and Cumin. I have other spices but these are my go to.
  2. Pasta sauce: I always make sure to have chunky pasta sauce to whip up some of my go to easy recipes like tuna pasta, bolognaise or to add to a casserole dish.
  3. Pasta: Pasta is pretty quick to make and can really bulk up a meal. All you really need is a sauce and some sort of vegetables and/ or meat and you are never too far from a meal.
  4. Canned Tuna and Salmon: I personally love to have these on hand for quick simple dinner or lunch recipes. Like tuna or salmon patties or for tuna pasta.
  5. Rice: We don’t really eat rice but it’s bulks up the food and is pretty quick to cook.
  6. Vegetables: Onion, garlic, potatoes and sweet Potatoe. These are easy to store and help to flavour food and bulk it up a bit.
  7. Flour: If you have flour, you can easily make pancakes, waffles, breads, pizza crust ect. I do a lot of sourdough baking and having flour on hand makes life so much easier.

Fridge Staples

  1. Fruit for a quick and easy snack
  2. Dairy: Cheese, butter, cream, yoghurt and milk. While I might run out of milk or cream I can use the other if needed.
  3. Vegetables: This can change from season to season but normally carrots, avocado and mushrooms are our staples.

Freezer Staples

  1. Frozen fruit like strawberries, mixed berries or mango. Whatever you like makes for a quick snack or you can make a smoothie or pie with them.
  2. Frozen vegetables: Anything you like but we normally have frozen peas, carrot and corn. An easy quick side dish to make or add into a pasta dish to bulk it up.
  3. Meat: I always make sure to have meat in the freezer. Things like sausages, chicken wings, chicken breast and mince. I like mince as it’s quick to defrost and you can turn that into burger, bolognaise, rissoles, whatever you like pretty quickly.

Have A List Of Go To Recipes

If you are in a pinch for time have a few key go to recipes you are confident in cooking and always have the staple items of. Literally just have like 5 recipes you know you can throw together in a pinch.

Some things I make for lunch or dinner are tuna pasta, bolognaise, burgers and pizza.

Sometimes all you need is a protein source like sausages and chicken wings and just through some sides with it like homemade chips, cut up veggies or a quick salad. It doesn’t have to be fancy as long as your family will eat it it’s a win.

Keeping it simple and having a few ideas for a quick meal really helps!

Fried eggs and toast doesn’t have to be just for breakfast it can be lunch or even dinner at times as well.

Easy Meal Ideas

  1. Breakfast: yoghurt and fruit, smoothies (try my Avocado chocolate Smoothie recipe!).
    • Chia pudding it’s quick and can even be made the night before.
  2. Lunch: leftovers from the night before, boiled eggs and raw veggies, sandwiches, wraps.
    • Or try a quick and easy platter! Just get use a cutting board or large plate and place a bunch of random things on it for everyone to eat out of.
    • ideas include: deli meat, crackers, cheese, vegetable sticks, dips, slices of fruit and nuts to name a few. Kids are eating goof food, quick and easy clean up!
  3. Dinner: Quiches throw any meat and whatever veggies you want.
    • A protein like sausages, chicken wings or chicken breast and some raw or steamed veggies.
    • Pasta dish like tuna pasta or bolognaise.
    • What about pizza you can use a wrap as the base if need be or try my quick and easy Sourdough discard pizza recipe! You will love it!

Meal Prep Food For The Week

Traditional wife prepping food for dinner. Shredded cheese, carrot, cucumber and onion on a cutting board on the kitchen bench.

A simple way to get a head start for the week with your meal prep is to pre chop your vegetables whenever you have some time and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Do this when kids are in bed, or you have some extra time during the day you will thank yourself later.

Now even if you don’t have any meals actually planned, you can look into the fridge and see what you have chopped and through that into a dish pretty quickly. Takes a lot of the extra work and time out on another day.

  1. Things that are great to pre chop and have stored in the fridge are things like carrots, onion, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, ect.
  2. You might also want to shred your cheese and store in an airtight container as well. I don’t buy pre shredded cheese because it has extra ingredients in it and doesn’t actually melt as nicely in certain meals. Buying a block of cheese is healthier and cheaper.

Freezer Meals

Whenever you are cooking, why not make a double batch and freeze it for later? It really doesn’t require that much more work and then you have a meal made for another day.

Freezer Meal Breakfast Ideas

You can make extra breakfast items like pancakes, waffles, bagels and freeze extra for another day. Or make breakfast burritos and or bacon, egg, cheese muffins.

The tip is to let whatever extra items you have made completely cool down before storing them in the freezer in either an airtight container or freezer ziploc bags.

Freezer Meal Lunch Ideas

Sausage Rolls are an awesome freezer meal we absolutely love. And they are easy to make double batches of and freeze for later.

Homemade pizzas can be frozen, burritos and homemade meatballs are all some lovely frozen lunch options.

Freezer Meal Dinner Ideas

There are so many different freezer dinner ideas. Almost any dinner you make you can do a double batch and freeze for later but here are some ideas.

  1. Lasagne, Pasta dishes, Rice dishes, different types of casseroles or bakes.
  2. Marinated meats

Plan your meals

If you are a meal planner, take one day a week to plan your meals for the coming week. Make sure to write down the ingredients you need so you can grab it when you next do a grocery shop. There are many benefits to having a list of meal plans laid out for the week.

  1. You no longer have to think about what you are going to make because you already have it written down.
  2. You have the ingredients you need for a certain number of meals. Even if you don’t stick to it exactly you know you have the ingredients on hand so can change the days around if need be.
  3. You can pre prep if you know what your next day meals are going to be. By cutting vegetables, taking the meat out of the freezer, ect.

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Have Snacks For The Week

Honestly having some snacks made ahead makes such a huge difference and they don’t have to be difficult!

If you have kids you will love having a few simple snacks stored for the week. It’s a quick way to pack something in the lunch box or when you or the kids just need that little pick me up before lunch or dinner.

Simple Snack Ideas

  1. Muesli bars homemade or store bought.
  2. Trail mix homemade or store bought
  3. Nuts whatever you like or the delicious honey covered nuts.
  4. Pre cut vegetable stick plain or have some dips on hand.
    • Hummus, tzatziki or a relish whatever dips your family likes
  5. crackers and prechop cheese into cubes in an airtight container.
  6. Frozen fruit.
  7. Yoghurt
  8. Boiled eggs
  9. You can always have baked goods made if you want like cookies and muffins.
    • You can prepare baked goods, let them cool and then store them in an airtight container or freezer bag in the freezer.

Save Leftovers

Don’t underestimate leftovers! I absolutely love using leftovers for lunches the next day or even changing it a bit for dinner the following day. Always aim to make extra so you can have an easy meal the next day.

Leftovers do not have to be boring. They can be used in creative ways to make an exciting meal the next day with minimal effort.

Leftover Ideas

  1. Meat
    • Use shredded chicken, steak , mince and put it into a delicious wrap or as a pizza topping!
    • Add meat into quiches or casserole bakes.
    • Mix leftover meat with some either pasta and/ or rice with a sauce like pasta or white sauce.
  2. Pasta or Rice
    • Add into casseroles or wraps with some meat and or veg!
    • Add into soups to bulk it up.
    • Make a pasta bake
    • Make a pasta or rice salad.
  3. Vegetables
    • Add into casseroles or pasta dishes.
    • Blend together for a soup or a flavourful sauce.
    • Add into salads
    • Add a sauce on top to make it more interesting like a cheesy white sauce taste great with broccoli, cauliflower and or carrot!
    • Quiches are easy to add vegetables in or even omelettes
  4. Extra Bread
    • Toast it to make bread crumbs
    • Make French toast.
    • Make a bread pudding.

Extra Meal Prep Tips

Take out meat the night or morning off. Even if you don’t have an actual plan something is already out. Just having something defrosted can make the difference between a stressful night or not.

Have simple side ideas.

  1. Sauerkraut in the fridge last ages. Homemade pickles delicious and also a nice side.
  2. raw veggies sliced you can prechop many to use during the week.
  3. A simple salad.
  4. frozen veggies in the freezer.
  5. I always try and have extra homemade garlic bread in my freezer makes a simple, filling and delicious side!

I hope you found these tips helpful, and you find meals less stressful! Just little changes can really make a difference to the day. Let me know in the comments if you found any of these tips helpful and of there is anything you would add! Have a lovely day!

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