Friday, November 8, 2019

Meal Prep Say What?!

Photo by Shamia Casiano from Pexels

Let's get real for a minute! 

Meal prepping for some seems like a very extensive chore that takes up a lot of time, especially over the weekend when you could be engaging in more fun activities! Although it can take up a few hours to get everything ready, it actually isn't as bad as some people think or envision it to be. I also think that when people hear meal prep, they associate it with people who workout and are trying to keep themselves in line to achieve personal physical success. Again, this is true and yes many people do meal prep to support their workout regime in order to avoid too many cheat days. Reality is, it isn't just for this purpose! 

So how could meal prepping support my busy life as a mama and how could it benefit my already so busy schedule? 

Prior to becoming a mom, I had a fairly busy schedule with work, plus I also had my wedding that I was determined to slim down for! So yes, this was motivation enough for me! I did during this time in my life, use meal prepping to provide a sense of organization so that I did not have temptation to fill my hungry belly with sugary snacks. It definitely helped me to achieve my weight goal for the wedding and definitely helped with keeping me on the right track. And then I got preggers! 

So now what?

Although I continued to meal prep during the week during my pregnancy, I was obviously no longer using it for the purpose of losing weight. Instead, I continued to meal prep for the purpose of time. Having a forty minute drive to and from work and my husband often being out of town, there were nights I knew I would not want to cook so meal prepping made it easy for me to still eat a proper nutritional meal. This became vital during pregnancy because there were days that I easily craved other things, but then remembered..."oh right I made supper". 

Meal Prepping for a Busy Mama

So now, meal prepping has continued to play a vital role in my life. Especially being a mama, I am constantly busy running around changing diapers, feeding the baby, playing with the baby, building skills with the baby, and of course to add into the mix, also dealing with the everyday things of similar tasks with our husky! Along with this, being a mama your baby at a young age is pretty unpredictable! So, just when you think you might have an hour, or two to get some food ready and sit down for lunch, baby is awake after twenty minutes and ready to do everything all over again! This was the life I was living and I would end up just snacking all day; but not good, healthy snacks, they were the quickest and usually snacks that were full of sugar and fat! Skip the Dishes is a great thing in Canada, but also terrifying how addictive it could get because it makes getting food easy and fairly quickly, especially if it means you don't have to leave the house! I caught myself getting into the situation where all I was craving a lot of the times was junk food! And why? Well, when you don't have enough energy to get you through the day, which you normally would get from eating a good balanced diet - carbs, meats, veggie, etc. - your body needs to find another source to gather enough energy to get you through so where to find a quick fix...junk food and foods with sugar! This was not working for me, as I was becoming sluggish and could not keep up with my unpredictable baby! I was definitely NOT living my best life! 

With this being said, although meal prepping sounds too complicated, like too much work or that it would take up time, it is important to look beyond some of this and look at the good side! Just learn to make adjustments so that it doesn't appear to be yet another chore! 

Incorporating Meal Prepping Into Family Time

My husband and I love to spend time together as a family, and with his work schedule sometimes this could be difficult. So when we meal prep, we ALWAYS do it together and have made it a family thing! We plan out our week for meals and snacks and then we divide and conquer; we even cook some meals together! Our little also joins us, and even though she is still so young, seeing this from a young age will actually encourage her to do the same, and she will value this as something we do as a family. After all, food brings people together right! This has workout so well for us, and has provided that extra time together! 

Meals to Prep and Ideas

We literally plan everything! Breakfasts, snacks, lunches and dinners. Although yes I am home all the time life is unpredictable with a baby. So this is my recommendation if your baby is like ours! The thing you have to remember however when planning, is to always add some protein to your meal. This way you are filling yourself up with good fuel to allow yourself to burn throughout the day and your body will not crave bad foods to try grasping for energy. You also have to incorporate some type of healthy carb as well! And of course a veggie or fruit. Okay so pretty much follow the food guide haha!

Breakfast - choose simply but healthy. I like going with smoothies (used to do smoothie bowls but I ain't got time for that now haha), overnight oats, quiche, omelette with toast, etc. My breakfasts are usually always made ahead of time. Obviously with smoothies I do not prepare ahead because they get foamy, but instead, I cut up all the fruit, add the oats and such all into a container and then when it's time to make it, I just place this into the blender and add milk and usually a protein enriched yogurt. Quiche I make ahead of time, and omelet I cut up all the veggies in advance and then just make it in the morning.

Snacks - again simple is easy and way more encouraging. With my snacks I try to add something sweet so that my body doesn't crave it throughout the day! Fruit and nuts, a protein shake with fruit, a form of hummus (I usually make a carrot or beet one or regular). My key with snacks is that they are not only quick to make, but also easy to pack and take with you on the go! I always prepare all of my snacks for the go, this way I do not have to worry about making anything when I am rushing out the door.

Lunch - with lunches, my key is one handed meals! If I have to be feeding my baby, or holding her in the case she is having an off day, it is vital to have these one handed meals! I try for salads, quesadillas, wraps (but you have to be a good wrap wrapper haha otherwise it'll fall apart!), etc. 

Dinner - we sometimes will pre-cook a dinner if it is something like a paella, or a meat sauce for pasta. Other than that, if we are having some form of tacos or an oven roasted meal, I usually just pre-cut all the veggies and then when it is time to prepare supper, we just throw everything into the oven. I also try to find meals that I could just throw all the items on to one tray and cook it all at the same time. As well, our smoker has been a life saver as we can toss a nice roast, or brisket on the smoker and allow for it to slowly cook all day! And then it is just a matter of quickly tossing on the veggies and voila, dinner is served! Again, we love fancy meals BUT with a baby we don't always have the time for this, so we have opted for more practical dinner plans and then we usually do a fancy meal out once or twice a month to get in our quota of fanciness once in a while! 

Clean Up! 

Yes the part everyone hates doing! Here is our trick, we try to clean things as we go. Once we are done one meal, we do the clean up for that. This way at the end there is little to nothing left to clean. Not to mention, if you are cleaning as you go, you might need to actually reuse something so then you are not inclined to dirty yet another dish or bowl! It is a lot more efficient we find and we usually rinse off the things we know we won't use anymore and toss it into the dishwasher and this way we could run it while we are having supper and then before bed we put everything away and have the dishwasher ready for the morning to load in anything we now will be eating from in the morning! Easy!! Okay it wasn't that easy at first, it is a learned thing and we just started to figure out little tricks as we meal prepped time and time again! So it was definitely a learning progress but again worth all the mess if it means minimal cleaning and tidying up during the week!


I hope this post has provided you some insight on meal prepping! I will post some of my favourite snacks and links from which I gathered my favourite recipes that have been working well for me with being a busy full-time mama! If you have any questions please reach out via email or on instagram! I would love to also have any insights on some meal ideas that I'd love to feature on my recipe posts!