If you have ever Googled “How to Meal Prep,” there are over 361,000,000 returns. The sheer number of opinions, suggestions, and step by step processes is enough to get even the most motivated people to throw in the towel before they even begin! Talk about meal prep overload!
The thing that makes meal prep so great, the flexibility, is also its downfall. It is so easy to get overwhelmed with the various ways to meal prep. Then you add in all of the beautiful pictures of completed meal prep, and that can set unrealistic expectations on what meal prep needs to look like.
Where to Start Meal Prep
The greatest, number one tip I can give to other people is to start small. Start with one thing. The best bit of advice I can give is to start meal prep one thing – one thing that will save time, one thing that will help you eat healthier.
For our house, making a giant salad used to be our one thing. Rinse the lettuce, cut the veggies – cucumbers, bell peppers, red onion, celery, mushrooms, etc. During the winter, we use a lot of canned veggies – I’ll rinse corn, peas, or green beans to toss in my salad. I don’t toss all the ingredients together, instead, I’ll put each ingredient into separate containers and then pull everything out each night.
For picky eaters, this is great, because I can assemble salads based on who likes what. I have one child who doesn’t like tomatoes, one child who doesn’t like olives, and one child who doesn’t like anything crunchy (nuts, croutons, seeds, etc). For a while, I had one child who wouldn’t eat lettuce…he had lettuce free salads.
Vegetable Salad Ideas
It’s a running joke in our house that my mom lives on salads. Whenever my kids are with grandma, they know, without a shadow of doubt, that they’ll be having salad with dinner.
I’ve worked really hard at trying to incorporate this habit into our lives at home, much to the kids chagrin. In an attempt to keep them different, we mix up the dressings and the ingredients to keep things interesting.
Some of our favorite salad toppings are:
- Bell peppers
- Beans (black, cannlinin, kidney are the house favorites)
The options are endless, to be honest, but the above items are rotated in and out on a regular basis. My kids are universally not fans of meat in their salads, even though the addition of meat would be a great one dish meal. I’m working on it, but man, it’s a long road!
Meal Prep Fruit Salad
I’ve heard from so many people that their kids are so picky, they won’t touch vegetables which can cause meal prep overload right off the bat! If they eat fruit, make fruit salads.
Year round, there’s fresh fruit out there to make a great fruit salad. If you’re kids turn their noses up at fresh fruit, start with canned fruit and add in one piece of fresh fruit mixed in and work your way up over the weeks to where you are using mostly fresh fruit, with a small amount of canned fruit.
Fruit salads are a great way to get in healthy snacks throughout your day, especially as a mix in for other things. Greek yogurt is an excellent base for some fruit and a small sprinkling of granola. Throw some fruit in to a premade crepe for a delicious sweet treat.
I now a lot of people are turning away from fruit because of the high sugar content. If you’re eating Keto or some other restrictive diet, fruit salads might not be the best fit, but for everyone else, a little fruit every day isn’t bad.
Meal Prep Salads
If you want to meal prep salads, there are a few things to consider – darker, hardier greens will last longer. Think kale and romaine as a great base.
Vegetables that hold up the longest are broccoli, cauliflower, jicama, and radishes to name a few.
- Rinse all your vegetables.
- Store them in containers over baggies to avoid condensation.
- When assembling the salads, many people love mason jars. They’re not my storage of choice because it’s hard to mix up the ingredients. If you’re into mason jars, definitely look for the quart size jars.
I prefer larger, plastic containers like these because it’s easy to mix everything up and they’re small enough to fit into most shelves.
But, search the store or Amazon to find what might work best for your situation.
Take Meal Prep One More Step
For meal prep, getting salad ingredients together is one of the easiest steps to take. You can take it one step further without much work. Slice up an extra few bell peppers and cucumbers. Bag up cherry tomatoes and these veggies are quick and easy to pop into your lunch, or your kids if they like vegetables.
These little steps are simple and won’t take that much time to get ahead for the week in a healthy way.
Remember, all of this and more is in my Meal Prep Made Easy Ebook and you can pick it up here.