One thing that having a kid in full day school has taught me – meal prep is life.
Sure, there are some days where I’m on my ‘A’ game and pack up my sons nutrient dense, all the favs lunch box the night before school. But life gets busy with work priorities and chasing kids, I don’t usually find the time in the evening. Make the most of the time you do have with my top time-saving tips and favourite gadgets below.
Let the little ones get involved
Kids love to be a part of the process (most of the time) plus this is a great way to squeeze in some quality time. I try to prep a few items when I have a moment, either Sunday evening or while making weeknight dinners. Something as simple as peeling carrots while water boils gets you ahead of the game. Peeling anything for that matter is a win, especially while you are cooking dinner because instead of creating a new mess to clean up, you can just add it to your “I’m making dinner” mess. A good peeler goes a long way and can save you a lot of time.
Make meal prep kid-friendly
Prepping veggies has never been so fun – crinkle cut all the things! My 5 year old loves jumping in and cutting up veggies with this wavy knife it makes cutting and eating veggies so much more enjoyable.
I like to have some dip always on hand to throw in a lunch box or for an after-school snack. Making your own dip is so simple (and way less expensive). We love this Lebanese Garlic Sauce for veggies and pitas
Lebanese garlic sauce
- 12 pieces of garlic
- ½ tsp of salt
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 ½ cup of mayonnaise (we use a vegan version)
- 1-2 tbsp of lemon juice
- Press the garlic through a garlic press (this one is amazing and SO simple to clean).
- Mash the garlic into a paste with a Mortar & Pestle.
- Once thick and paste like, transfer to a bowl and very slowly stir in the olive oil
- Once the garlic looks emulsified by the oil, add all the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Easy cucumber noodles
Cucumbers are our #1 veggie hands down. I pack them for lunch every day and throw them in a salad for dinner. Since my son is such a picky eater, I try to get creative. Cucumber noodles have become a fast favourite over here. It’s one of the few dishes we all enjoy eating and I can easily create different variations.
I keep my son’s cucumber noodles plain, add avocado to my toddlers and throw some eggs and chickpeas into dad’s noodles. It’s so simple to spiralize cucumbers (plus they last up to two days in the fridge so you can make extra and store). This gadget is so small and fits perfectly in my small kitchen drawer.
Wash and prep fruit in advance to save time
Having fruit washed and ready to serve is a breeze when you use a salad spinner. I throw berries, apples, grapes, pretty much everything in here to wash it and dry it thoroughly. Once washed and dried, I prep some fruits to last a couple of lunches.
This Strawberry Huller is such a time saver and makes prepping the berries simple (and fun for kids.) Since cut up strawberries last 1-3 days in the fridge, you can cut and portion accordingly.
Apples, apples, apples, we eat them every day, but they can be time consuming to prepare. An apple wedger is vital when prepping and packing school lunches, it saves time and these perfect little slices make you feel like Gordon Ramsay (it’s the little things…)
Cut up apples last 3-4 days in the fridge and you can prevent them from browning and ensure they stay fresh just by sprinkling with some fresh lemon juice before storing. A touch of lemon juice keeps apples, avocados and bananas from turning brown and adds two or three extra days to their shelf life in the fridge. It even adds an extra few hours to their ability to stay edible in a lunchbox at room temp. I juice a few lemons at the beginning of the week and keep it in a salad dressing bottle for easy sprinkling.
Egg-cellent meal ideas
Eggs are so versatile and always my go to. Egg muffin cups are not only delicious and healthy they are also so simple to make. With the help of a food chopper you can have eggs for snacks, lunch or even breakfast ready to go in no time.
- Coconut oil
- 12 eggs
- Salt and pepper to taste
Our favourite variations
- Cheese + carrots
- Macaroni + cheese
- Salami + cheese
- Tomato + bacon
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat 12 cups of a muffin tin with thick coconut oil
- Crack the eggs into a large bowl. Whisk and blend the eggs until smooth
- Divide the egg mixture evenly among the muffin cups.
- Add the ingredients into each muffin tin (you can add to the mixing bowl if making all the same variation)
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until eggs are set.
To Store in the Refrigerator: Let the egg muffins cool completely, then place them in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
To Store in the Freezer: Let the egg muffins cool completely. Place in an airtight container with parchment paper in between to prevent sticking. To Reheat Egg Muffins place on a microwave-safe plate. Reheat in the microwave until warmed for about 30 seconds (from fridge) or 1 to 2 minutes (from frozen).
Looking for more great meal prep tips from Danielle?
Meal Prep and more #MadeEasy
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