Trying to batch family dinner prep (by which I mean, meal prep for regular old meals, not just meal planning for weight loss) can feel a little overwhelming. I mean- where do you begin?
When you’re cooking a recipe from the start, it’s clear: you step-by-step follow the instructions as they’re written. Preheat the oven, start chopping, work your way through the recipe, etc.
But if you’re trying to figure out a family-friendly meal prep, you have to do the mental energy beforehand to make it work:
- Do you make the whole recipe and then store it?
- Do you make part of the recipe?
- If so, which part? How long do the prepped things last?
- Do I need to prep it all in individual servings?
The good news? It doesn’t have to be that complicated.
The bad news? You gotta take the time beforehand to make some decisions.
Before any decisions are made, though, let’s first walk through WHY you would want to batch family dinner prep in the first place.
Puts Your Meal Plan in Action
Meal planning is great. It helps you start with what you’ve got, look at what’s currently in your fridge and cupboards, and stick to a budget. All important things!
A Meal Plan is Just a Plan
But a plan is just that: a PLAN. It’s not actually doing anything other than forcing you to imagine what the week in food could look like.
By figuring out your family-friendly meal prep PLAN ahead of time, along with your meal plan, it means that work will be put into action.
Get Ahead of Your Week… Just in Case
You never know how the week might turn out. Even the best well-laid plans can go to hell when things get rough.
What’s the best way to get ahead of your week? By taking the time to prep ingredients, store things as needed- and do the work now to give yourself a quick break later.
Family-Friendly Meal Prep Saves You Time Throughout the Week
It may feel overwhelming to prep extra meals for the week-long before you even need to cook them!
But the rhythm you get into by batching family dinner prep gives you SO much time afterward.
The best part? It saves your mental energy from figuring out how to fit a dinner plan into your everyday. The hard part’s done. When you’re ready to cook, all you’ve got to do is fit the puzzle pieces back together again.
Meal prep gives you extra time in the evenings: Help kids with homework, and extracurricular activities, spend time as a family, saves your sanity when you’re running late coming home, etc
Using the groceries you’ve bought, for the reason you bought them in the first place. After you’ve prepped, you’re not opening the fridge only to see the slowly rotting veggies you bought with great hope at the market two weeks ago. (We’ve all been there!)
Not calling for takeout or restaurant deliveries. If you have it prepped, the temptation to give the pizza guy a call is way less prominent. There is no need to spend extra bucks on takeout or restaurants. Meal prepping isn’t only a time-saver, but a money saver.
There’s a Greater Chance of the Family Dinner
When you do not have a plan, you could get back home after work to find out that your husband all ordered a pizza with the kids for dinner.
Not only is this not healthy, but it also takes away the chance of the family dinner. I’m a huge advocate of family dinners- they’re so important for a million reasons, especially for the growth of the family emotionally and psychologically.
If you plan a family-friendly meal prep well and act on it, after the prep is done, you’re more inclined to sit as a family.
Studies prove it’s true: families who sit together to eat create deeper bonds between members of the family and are incredibly important for children.
Family-friendly meal prep can feel like the overlooked part of the week, or sometimes forgotten in lieu of the meal plan- but don’t discredit this action step!
If you need more help figuring out how to step-by-step work from meal planning to meal prep, check out how I break down my recipes with my free ebook, Meal Prep Packs: Dinner Made Easy. Click the button below to grab your copy!