I try to keep my readers up to date about meal prep in my house, and after writing this newsletter, I realized this would be a good post to talk about requesting your teens to help meal prep.
Traveling and Meal Prep
So, I recently returned home from a conference in Austin, TX, such a great city! In addition to visiting a really fun place, I get to reconnect with people I usually only talk to online and over video calls.
The downfall to these trips is that I am traveling over a weekend, which is my time to meal prep for the following weekend. Unfortunately, this trip occurred while my freezer is relatively empty. We’ve used most of the meals I’d already prepped leaving no options for the following week.
This left me with not choice, but to prep one or two dishes that could be frozen and cooked at the beginning of next week in addition to my normal weekly meal prep. The idea filled me with dread because I hate the idea of spending six hours in the kitchen and having those extra meals to prep, well, that easily would push me into a very long day of food prep.
After mulling over my situation, I came up with an idea – using a chapter in my book, Meal Prep Made Easy as an incentive – I was going to bring my kids into the kitchen.
Recruiting Teens to Help Meal Prep
So, the morning of prep, I handed out a printed recipe to each of my three kids and explained that this was the recipe they’d be responsible for making.
I had two recipes for myself, but I’d also take on the role of being their sous chef, especially for the nine year old.
Having never tried this before, I was uncertain how it would go. After some initial grumbling, my kids got to work, pulling out ingredients, laying claim to space on the counter and getting to work.
What They Made
- My 9 year old made a big pot of chicken and sausage gumbo
- My 14 year old daughter made a large turkey meatloaf – the dish we prepped and froze for the Monday after my trip.
- My 13 year old son made indoor bbq chicken.
- I made Mexican shrimp bowls for lunch.
- I made chicken shawarma.
This covered my lunch for the week, dinners for 3 nights (leftovers allowed for another 2 nights dinner), and dinner for the following Monday.
Discoveries I made having Teens Help Meal Prep
- My kids, after their initial grumbling LOVED being responsible for dinner one night.
- My kids we SO excited for everyone to eat the meal they’d made.
- NOBODY COMPLAINED ABOUT DINNER!!!! Not one complaint. NOT. ONE.
- Although my kids enjoyed making the recipes I had picked, they would prefer to pick their own recipe.
- Usually I am in the kitchen alone, but it was a family affair. We put on music and it was a great way to hang out with my kids for a short period of time.
- They took a LOT of pride in what they made for dinner.
What I’ll Do Different Next Time
Let me be clear, this will become the new normal in my home for a while! But, even after one week, there will be some changes.
I will not throw this one them five minutes before we start cooking. They need advanced notice as much as I do.
I will let them choose a recipe instead of assigning something to cook. This will be a bit of an adjustment for me because I normally pick recipes that share ingredients in order to keep my grocery budget and shopping under control.
This week, I have picked one cookbook, tagged every recipe I think will work for meal prep and let them choose from those. This is has already made them a little more excited about cooking on Sunday, and they’ve been made aware that they’re helping again.
I might start a lot of the vegetable chopping on Saturday if I have time. My teens can cut veggies, but I still help my 9 year old because he isn’t comfortable with using a sharp knife yet.
Meal Prep is Evolving in My Home
So, meal prep in my house is evolving again.
That’s the beauty of meal prep, it’s such an open concept that can be manipulated for your situation. Bringing in family to help is an incredibly help – although I’ll admit, at the beginning, it was rough trying to answer everyone’s questions since my kids don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
In time, as they settle in, it will be fun to watch them expand their cooking skills. I can’t wait to watch their confidence grow, and to be honest, I want them to grow up with a solid skill set in the kitchen.
If you’re interested in learning more about meal prep, especially about how to meal prep without it being BORING, please click on the link here and answer 3 simple questions and get my downloadable PDF Meal Prep Without Getting Bored CLICK HERE FOR YOUR FREE GUIDE.