There’s a common misconception that quick meals are less nutritious than those that take hours to prepare. Maybe our culture’s familiarity with ‘fast food’ is contributing to this but I’m here to BUST THE MYTH and reassure you that quick, easy meals do not need to be nutritionally poor. The best bit? They can also be budget friendly! With planning ahead and some time savers up our sleeves (hello Wholesome Child+ Boosters) we can turn meal prep into a breeze without sacrificing on nutrition, taste or our weekly budget.
My secret strategy
Never cook a single meal - ALWAYS double the ingredients (or even triple!), save and freeze additional portions for a quick, nutritious future meal. If you do this consistently, you’ll be on your way to having a freezer full of healthy, homemade ‘convenience’ food in no time.
Here are my top 6 tips for preparing fuss-free, freezer-friendly family favourites:
- Double batch & freeze! Most Wholesome Child recipes are suitable for freezing, so double – or even triple – the ingredient quantities and freeze the extra portions in labelled containers with the cook date.
- Weekly meal prep - Choose two recipes on a weekly basis to double batch, for example tuna lasagne and spaghetti bolognaise. If you do this every week for a couple of weeks, the freezer will begin to fill with wholesome emergency back-up plans for when cooking is not an option.
- Buy in bulk, in season - buy vegetables when they are in season and freeze to use later in soups and casseroles.
- Extra veg for the win - If you are roasting or steaming vegetables, make extra for the next night’s dinner or to use to boost a pizza base, bliss balls or cupcakes. Throw them into smoothies, pancake batter or anything really for an extra boost! When you don’t have left overs on hand, boost baked goods with a sprinkle of Veggies+ or Superfruits+.
- Extra grains are GREAT - You can prepare ahead with batches of cooked grains such as quinoa, brown rice and even millet. Freeze and heat as needed. Or freeze left overs to use in a future dish and avoid wastage.
- Prepped snacks - If your kids love to snack (and show me a kid who doesn’t!), include muffins, muesli bars, brownies and bliss balls in your weekly cook-ups. Freeze in easy single serves, so you can grab and go or pop into the lunchbox.
Celebrating back to school!
With face to face learning just round the corner in NSW, we’ve never been more pumped to start making lunchboxes again! Never thought you’d hear a fellow mum say that, right?
The formula for the perfect lunchbox - and any meal for that matter!
Sandwiches for the Win
Back to school screams sandwiches for many families and while I don’t advocate sending a sandwich every day (variety is key), there’s a lot to celebrate about the humble 2 slices of bread & fillings.
✅ Quick to prep
✅ Can offer complete nutrition with the following framework:
Choose wholegrain or wholemeal sourdough as a base. Slow release carbohydrates help to stabilise blood sugar levels and are packed with gut-loving fibre.
Add a good quality protein such as cheese, or lean meat such as leftover over roast chicken, salmon, tuna, egg or tofu which will help with alertness and endurance
Add veggies such as lettuce, tomato, cucumber (and boost further with veggies+)
Add healthy fats, for example, avocado with a sprinkle of lemon juice to prevent browning, a drizzle of olive oil, tahini or good quality mayo (olive oil base). Things like sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are school friendly and also increase satiety, help to stabilise kids' moods and boost their concentration.
Save fruit for recess and snacks. Fruit is nutritious and an easy sell with most children, but can take up too much space in the diet which is why I recommend keeping this to snack times rather than serving with main meals. And if your child isn’t a fruity fan, checkout my Superfruits+ booster to make sure their immune system is strong no matter what they agree to eat!
Meal prep on a budget? No worries
As we draw closer to the end of the year, grocery shopping in a budget-friendly way is often higher on people’s lists with Christmas and holidays beckoning. As a general rule, pasta, rice and legume based dishes are always a great economical option that can fill the whole family up, with leftovers to boot for lunch the next day. They work well warm in a thermos for lunch or popped into the microwave during home learning. You’re welcome!
Other 4 ingredient recipe inspo on a budget