What do moms, dads and professionals all have in common? We all have very little time to take care of ourselves. As a busy mom, I’m constantly helping with homework, piano practice, putting those infuriating rubber dresses on Polly Pocket (Seriuosly! Who desidgned those?!) and driving kids to and from school. My husband goes to work first thing in the morning and then is on dad-duty when he gets home in the evening. Inevitably amid all the chaos, we get hungry and need something fast. Usually my go-to would be a packaged granola bar or I’m ashamed to admit, a package of my kids’ fruit snacks (which I had to hide from them or they’d ask for one as well).
Trying to keep up with life and still have time for a healthy snack or meal is a difficult task. That can all change with some weekly prep. Every Saturday, I get ready for the next week by making sure I have enough healthy, delicious food prepared to grab on the go.
Here is my Saturday weekly prep list. I don’t do all these things every Saturday, but these are my definite go-to’s.
- Pre-cook chicken breasts. I drizzle some frozen chicken breasts with a little avocado oil and sprinkle them with salt and organic lemon pepper (Be careful. Most lemon pepper has artificial coloring, which is why I stick with organic). Then I pop them in a 375 degree oven for about an hour. During the week I use my chicken breasts on salads, zucchini pasta, sandwiches on sprouted-wheat bread, or just heat one up for a snack with some chopped veggies.
- Pre-boil eggs. Hard boiled eggs are a great snack. I boil six a week and keep them in the fridge for salads or an eat-alone snack. Store them in the fridge on a rag to absorb moisture and peel as you eat them. This helps them stay fresh longer.
- Wash and separate lettuce. Pre-washed and chopped lettuce is pretty pricey. I buy a bunch of spinach and a head of romaine lettuce each week. I wash it and separate it into individual leaves. If I store in in a gallon-size Ziploc with a paper towel in the bottom in stays fresh through the week. This comes in handy for a quick salad, toppings for sandwiches or a lettuce wrap.
- Pre-chop vegetables. We go through a lot of brocolli, peppers and cucumbers in our house. I chop the florets off the broccoli, slice the peppers and slice the cucumbers for an easy side dish or snack (especially amazing dipped in hummus). The peppers last the longest. But the broccoli and cucumbers last well through the week.
- Make a batch of pico de gallo. This works great on chicken breasts, as a salad dressing or a dip for veggies.
- Portion out trail mix. I love to make a quick trail mix of my favorite nuts, coconut and dried fruits. The problem is, I can dive head-first into a bag of trial mix with no shame. Portion out 1/4 C portions in snack-size baggies to grab on the go. This ensures you don’t eat the entire batch, but also makes eating a snack when you’re out and about much easier.
- Portion out dips and hummus. Use small, disposable (or reusable) containers for on-the-go. Store the containers next to portion-size baggies of baby carrots, peppers, cucumbers and plaintain chips for snacking.
- Wash and portion fruit. Like the trail mix, fill snack-size baggies with washed grapes, peeled and sectioned clementines (or oranges) and cherries. These are hearty fruits that will last well during the week.
- Invest in a small cooler tote with ice packs. Yesterday, my daughter and I went to the library, to the doctor, picked up my son from school and then went to piano lessons. In the end, we were out of the house for 3 1/2 hours. A 4-year-old can’t go that long without eating. And since I apparently have the hunger issues of a 4-year-old, neither can I. For snack, we had cheese, grapes and peppers. I was very thankful for our cooler so we didn’t have to eat droopy cheese, mushy grapes and soft peppers, especially since our snack had been in the car all afternoon on a 95-degree day. Make sure you empty your cooler after each use so your ice packs have a chance to freeze before you need them again.
- Plan ahead! Planning your meals and snacks ahead of time helps you buy the right things and gives you much more control over what you eat.