September is a busy time of year. After the lazy hazy days of summer, it’s hard to readjust to a schedule. But with school starting up and a slew of extracurricular activities to contend with, you have to hit the ground running. Here are our top tips for a successful Sunday prep that you can give a try. Follow them to a tee, and you and your family can enjoy a week of healthy fresh meals without losing your mind.
MAKE A WEEKLY MENU & STICK TO IT
Sit down with your family and make a menu everyone can agree on. This will make your trip to the grocery store a smooth one, and it will make it easy to organize your freezer if you know what you’re going to need to thaw when. Post it on the fridge, so your family knows what to expect when they make it home for dinner. This will help you avoid tantrums and special demands.
CHOP YOUR FRUITS & VEGGIES
Figure out the medley of veggies you’re going to need for your meal and chop and freeze them together in a big freezer bag. This is especially useful if they’re crockpot meals. If you’re planning to store particular fruits and veggies in the fridge, prep them and store them in little baggies for easy snacking. Sugar snap peas, watermelon cubes, and carrot sticks are popular options, and they make packing your kids’ lunches a breeze.
PUT A POT OF SOUP OR STEW ON THE STOVE
Stews, soups and sauces are very freezer-friendly and they can easily be stored in meal-sized containers. Another option is to assemble a couple of casseroles, like lasagna or a batch of turkey tetrazzini and freeze them oven-ready. Individually wrapped burritos (breakfast or otherwise) are also great options. Label your creations with the date you made them and include basic cooking directions in case you have to ask your spouse or your kids to pop them in the oven before you get home.
CHOP & FREEZE YOUR HERBS
Herbs come in such large bundles and deteriorate so quickly that it’s hard to use them up before their best before date. If you’re putting the majority of your herbs in soups and sauces chop and freeze them ahead of time. Sure, they won’t look as pretty but they’ll still taste great.
ROAST A CHICKEN
It’s amazing how far you can stretch a roasted chicken. The breast can be shredded to act as a base for an awesome chicken salad or sliced for sandwiches. The dark meat adds a ton of flavour to soups and is great in casseroles, or wrapped up in a batch of taquitos.
BOIL SOME EGGS
Hard-boiled eggs are great energy-boosting snacks and a fabulous addition to salads and sandwiches. They’re a great way to sneak some protein into your child’s lunch and they keep extremely well in the fridge.
PUT YOUR RICE COOKER TO WORK
Make up a big batch of rice, quinoa, or faro for the week. These grains are a great way to add bulk to soups, salads and wraps, and an ideal base for a bowl of chilli or curry.
DON’T NEGLECT BREAKFAST
Whip up a batch of homemade granola, or a pan of baked oatmeal for the week. You can also store a smoothie’s worth of ingredients in little baggies for minimal morning fuss.
DON’T FORGET SNACKS
We make most of our poor food decisions when we’re snacking, so make it easy to make a healthy snack choice. As we mentioned, packing prep veggies in snack-sized containers is a great way to encourage healthy snacking. Make it even more appetizing by whipping up a few dips, like hummus, and salsa. Another great option is to mix-up a healthy assortment of nuts and dried fruits for a tasty homemade trail mix.
ORDER A PIZZA
If you’re going to treat your family to takeout at some point in the week, make it prep Sunday. You’ve just slaved away in the kitchen for the majority of the day, so you’re most likely worn out. Rather than tucking into your stash of prepped food, call your family’s favourite pizza joint for a nice end of the weekend treat.
This post originally appeared on Recipe Geek.