Submitted by Krystle Hergert, RD, LDN, Silvis Hy-Vee Registered Dietitian
As parents, we believe gathering our kids and loved ones at the dinner table will build a stronger family and successful kids. On Tuesday night at 5:00, we’re struggling to quickly put together a meal using what’s in the refrigerator that everyone will enjoy and that allows us to get out the door for evening activities.
One trick is weekend meal prep. Taking just a few hours on Sunday afternoon or evening for advanced prep helps eliminate stress on weeknights and lets me enjoy those precious moments when we all gather at the table.
Here are tips for weekend meal prep:
- Wash and prep fruits and vegetables. The peppers and mushrooms in our featured Moo Shu Turkey Wrap recipe can be washed and sliced, and the cabbage shredded and portioned. Zucchini noodles for a pasta recipe can be spiraled. Cut up vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower to add to lunches, have kids snack on while prepping dinner, or microwave as a side dish for weeknight dinners. Prep berries, kiwi, and melons to use as side dishes during the week.
- Review refrigerator stash. Quesadillas are an effective way to use up leftover vegetables and meats. Simply dice them into similarly sized pieces for easy assembly on a weeknight. Fruits that are starting to get soft are perfect for using in smoothies.
- Prep protein. I love the idea of cooking bulk meats all at once and using them in multiple recipes. For example, several pounds of Jennie-O® Lean Ground Turkey can be cooked at once, portioned, stored, and later reheated for use in pasta sauces, tacos, omelets, and other family favorites during the week.
- Cook grains. Pre-cooking grains like quinoa, couscous, or rice will shorten the time it takes to get dinner to the table on weeknights. Pastas can also be cooked ahead and warmed for use on a weeknight. When you’re ready to use the pasta, boil a small amount of water, and dip the pasta in a colander into the boiling water for 30 seconds.
- Make sauces ahead of time. Prep sauces ahead of time, storing them in a Mason jar or plastic container for dinner later in the week.
Weekend meal prep doesn’t necessarily mean making the entire recipe; it’s about tackling the parts of food prep that will make the daily task of getting dinner on the table easier. By following these tips, you’ll go into the week feeling organized.
The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.
Krystle Hergert represents Hy-Vee as a nutrition expert promoting healthy eating throughout the community. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. For more information, call 309-792-1507 or email email@example.com. Hy-Vee is located at 2001 5th Street, Silvis, IL 61282.