Sounds intimidating, right? I won’t lie, the thought of having to commit so much brainpower toward one task can be daunting, but that is only IF you let it be. After a little bit of practice, meal planning and prep will become second nature. No time? No problem! Purchase precooked chicken, salad kits (dressing included), baby carrots, ready to roast veggies, etc. This will help with expediting the amount of time you spend in the kitchen vs. being able to enjoy a family dinner at the table.
Start with these basic tips:
1. Set aside planning time.
Take a few moments to look ahead at your weekly schedule and decide whether you want to prep for one meal or need multiple options to make it through the week.
For us, weeknights are busy so my goal is to make it to Friday without having to pull out half my kitchen to make dinner.
2. Create a schedule. Trust me, it will make all the difference if you have someone pinch hitting during the dinner shift.
3. Think through recipes. For some, this can be tricky. For me? This is the fun part!
Crunched for time? Stick with one, maybe two proteins at most. This week, the protein of choice is chicken.
4. Theme your meals. Sounds kitschy but it makes choosing recipes easier. Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Pasta Wednesday, Leftover Thursday, Fish Friday, etc.
5. Prepare a grocery shopping list AFTER you look through your cupboards. This will help save you time in the store while rotating through your pantry stock.
6. Take a few hours preferably at the beginning of each week to portion out your food.
This can be as simple or complicated as you need it to be. Clear containers are good for portion control, however, you can also opt to keep everything in its original baking dish. Again, there is no right or wrong way to do this.
Now it’s prep time:
Bake or buy your protein, then portion into multiple containers
Cook quinoa, rice and pasta (these items are cost-effective and keep very well in the fridge).
As a personal assistant, one of the many problems we solve is to help busy families better manage their life rather than life managing them. If the thought of meal planning and preparation still sounds overwhelming, don’t worry, we are here to help! The wonderful thing about our personal assistant and lifestyle management services is that they are completely customizable for your needs. Our goal is to keep you organized throughout the chaos of the workweek.
Here's my menu of quick, simple and healthy dinners all based around chicken:
1. Manic Monday: BBQ Chicken
Use pre-shredded, pre-portioned chicken and add BBQ sauce, warm in the oven, stove-top or microwave
Cole slaw (pre-shredded)
Quinoa or Rice
2. Taco Tuesday: Going carb free? Not a problem, swap out tortillas/tacos for lettuce wraps
Shredded chicken, shredded lettuce, cheese, carrots, guacamole, salsa and rice make this dinner a breeze
3. Wild Wednesday: Chicken Caprese Pasta
Remember that pre-portioned chicken and pasta? Simply grab the containers, combine with a jar of pesto and quickly warm either on the stove-top, oven or microwave. Finish with mozzarella and diced cherry tomatoes.
4. Throwback Thursday: This is the best time to clean out the fridge!
Leftover shredded chicken, cheese and tortillas? Perfect for quick pizzas.
Serve with a quick bagged salad
5. Fun Friday: Celebrate in style!
Take a night (or two) off to celebrate your organizational skills.