Once summer hits I find we are home way less, which means there is barely enough time to cook a meal – if it’s not too hot to cook. The house is usually in a constant state of mess, more than usual that is. And I always always feel like I’m behind on life as soon as we step in the door (and probably the whole day, to be honest). I try my best to plan ahead, but have taken things to a more controlled type A personality type level, this year. This is how I prep for the summer weeks (It’s a bit different than in the fall and winter), to make sure we all stay eating well and there are zero surprise “let’s go grab some take out because I forgot to thaw/prep for dinner” moments.
I cannot grocery shop with out a plan. Well I can, but I always end up over spending and then having to visit the store a few extra times during the week to grab things I forgot – a waste of time and money. So I meal plan (usually Sunday nights, because I like to shop Monday or Tuesday mornings when it’s quiet and the stores are just getting restocked from the weekend). I usually sit (probably while the kids play and make another mess) with my pad of paper and Pinterest food boards and make a list for the week.
Fill the sink with cool water, mix in 1 cup of vinegar and then toss in your fruit and veggies as the groceries get unpacked. Letting them soak for 10 minutes, as soon we come home from the store makes it easier for the kids to just grab a snack during the week and let’s me skip the whole washing step when cooking prep time comes.
There are some veggies that take a bit of extra time to chop, but can keep well for a while once chopped. In the summer I like to pre-chop and peel vegetables for salads and snacks (and stuff), it takes out half the work for later and it makes throwing a salad together or grabbing cut up red peppers instead of crackers much easier. I like to chop red onion, red peppers, carrots, de-stem and break apart kale.
Those things that can easily thrown into salads or added to a meal, but can take a bit of time just on their own getting them all ready to be eaten. I like to prep and cook a few beets, a few hard-boiled eggs, chick peas (or whatever beans and legumes I’m into using that week) and quinoa. If I ever make too much, quinoa (never happens) or chickpeas – I freeze them, which then makes the following weeks prep super-duper easy. *I recently started cooking my dried beans and legumes in the slow cooker, much better and more fool-proof then soaking all night and then cooking.
Sometimes it’s a pain to stay indoors and cook for long periods in time in the summer, but maybe that’s just me and my tiny kitchen. At the beginning of the week, I try to make a couple (depending on how much room my fridge has) hearty salads to keep covered in the fridge. Often I will leave the dressing (and less hearty vegetables, like spinach) on the side and we can add that to each portion later. This makes lunch time a no brainer (especially packing lunch for Chris). Also it’s a good fall back for a dinner side when I’m feeling lazy (let’s say about 5 days out of the week). This quinoa salad (a twist on this recipe), broccoli salad, and chickpea salad from the oh she glows cookbook (for quick sandwiches) are some of our favorites.
Mix breakfast, salad dressings and marinades. For all the same reasons, if you prep and pre-make it, it will make eating and eating healthier so much easier. For breakfast I make a version of overnight oats but just let it sit for about 20 mins in the am and its good to be eaten – usually I pre-mix because my concoction of nuts, seeds, and grains is a bit confusing for my husband. Same goes for salad dressing, if I know I’m going to need it that week making at least one of them ahead of time will take all the work out of making an extraordinary salad later.
PACK AND PREPARE.
Often if we have our day planned out, I will pack snacks, a hearty salad and some sandwiches in my backpack when we head out for the day. This way we don’t have to rush back for lunch and we won’t be so hungry that we grab some pizza or something else while we are out. Basically this plan let’s the kids play outside allll day long, no interruptions.
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Do you have any weekly meal prep tricks? How is summertime for you, do you find it harder to keep up? Find some of our favorite go-to meals here.