Hassle-Free Meal Prep: 10 Genius Grocery Store Hacks
I know you're here because you want to feed your kids and yourself, nutritious, balanced meals. How are you supposed to manage that on top of work, extracurricular activities, that pile of laundry on your bed, the constant mess your kids keep making and finding time to exist?
Well, I feel your struggle because I too am juggling all those things, and while I don't always nail it, there are a few things that I do to ensure save time and streamline our cooking and meal-prep process to make this easier on myself.
Here are my top grocery store hacks to save you time, money, and sanity when you're feeding your family.
Make a Meal Plan: I know it seems like a lot of work, but if you start here and plan what you'll be cooking for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks you'll stay more organized. Write it somewhere you'll see it so you know what the week looks like, or if you are at a loss you can see what your options are for the week. Feel like this is overwhelming? Let me do the work for you - download some of my free resources or sign up for my weekly meal planning program to get a new plan emailed to you every week with everything you need to have a successful week.
Write a Grocery List: Based on your meal plan, write a detailed grocery list before heading to the store. Categorize items by sections (produce, pantry, dairy, etc.) to make shopping faster and more efficient, and avoid running to the store for random ingredients and losing your mind.
Shop Strategically: Choose a time to go grocery shopping when the store is less crowded to minimize wait times. Opt for larger supermarkets that offer a wide variety of ingredients in one place. If you have the ability and access, get grocery delivery and set it on a schedule so you don't have to go to the store.
Embrace Pre-Cut and Pre-Washed Produce: You are too busy to be chopping vegetables all day - save time by purchasing pre-cut and pre-washed fruits and vegetables. If you can afford it, it can significantly reduce meal prep time and make healthy eating more accessible.
Utilize Frozen Foods: Frozen fruits, vegetables, and proteins are convenient and just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts and mean when you can't think of anything to make or your fresh options have run out, you can always pull something out of the freezer and throw something together. Look for frozen pre-cooked grains, such as quinoa or rice, which can be heated in minutes in the microwave.
Prep in Batches: Set aside a designated time each week for meal prep. Chop vegetables, marinate proteins, and cook large batches of grains or soups. Portion meals into containers for easy grab-and-go options during the week.
Invest in Time-Saving Kitchen Appliances: Consider investing in time-saving kitchen appliances like a slow cooker, instant pot, or air fryer. These appliances can simplify cooking and drastically reduce hands-on prep time.
Opt for One-Pot or Sheet Pan Meals: These are some of my favorite meals to make because they are so easy. Look for recipes that require minimal cleanup by cooking everything in one pot or on a sheet pan. This cuts down on the number of dishes to wash and saves valuable time.
Engage the Whole Family: Involve your children in meal prep tasks appropriate for their age, such as washing vegetables, stirring ingredients, or assembling simple dishes. Not only does it save time, but it also teaches them valuable cooking skills, exposes them to the food, and increases the likelihood they will eat veggies and fruits since there is a lot less pressure than at the dinner table.
Prep Ahead for Lunches: Prepare school or work lunches the night before. Portion leftovers into individual containers or assemble sandwiches, salads, or wraps in advance. This eliminates the morning rush and ensures healthier choices are readily available.
Give these time-saving meal prep tips and grocery store hacks a try to provide your family with nutritious meals that make everyone happy and reclaim some of your valuable time because you've got more important stuff to do than be in the kitchen all day, or order takeout every night.