With a busy baseball season upon us, I’ve teamed up with GLAD to help get my refrigerator and meal planning in order. We have one child in softball Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and the second fastball Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays. This has us running on all cylinders every night of the week including weekend ball tournaments so knowing what our meals will be and having food ready is key.
It’s also important for us to sit down together every night for a quick meal at the dinner table and catch up on each others day before heading off in separate directions. Even if it’s a sandwich or hearty soup and fruit, it’s a time for us to reconnect as a family. Knowing ahead of time what we are having and prepped food in the fridge ensures this happens.
Meal planning is essential to ensuring meals are quick and easy each night requiring little thought and preparation. Plan your meals two weeks in advance and create your grocery list from your plan.
GLAD agrees and shares the following guidelines for Organized Meal Preparation.
- Take everything out of the grocery bags when you’re done shopping and invest 30-60 minutes in prep work. Wash, cut and store your veggies so they’re easier to throw into stir fries or salads. Cut up fruit and divvy into glad bags for quick snacking and meal preparation.
Wanda says: Get the kids involved in meal prep. They can wash and chop their own fruit or vegetables for their lunch snacks during the week. Give them each GLAD bags and a marker to label days and their names. Check bags for holes and wash bags and dry to reuse or recycle when they are done.
- On Sunday, try to utilize all of your appliances at once to maximize your time. Make a big batch of sauce, soup, stew or braised meat in the slow cooker. Bake off a few pounds of chicken breasts. Saute up a bunch of vegetables or make a big batch of quinoa or rice on the stove top. Then divide all of the ingredients up either in plastic containers in the fridge if you plan to eat them within the next 2 days, or cool, and pack them into freezer bags that you can simply pull out, defrost and rewarm throughout the week.
Wanda says: Do your shopping early in the morning to avoid line ups. Poach several chicken breasts and shred for quick meals like sandwiches, salads, quesadillas, soups, soul bowls and more. Label your containers or freezer bags for reference later on.
- With all of these things, you can combine them in different combinations to make everything from a bowl of chili with bread and a big salad, to pasta, stir fry with rice, to a healthy protein packed lunch salad with quinoa.
Wanda says: We love to cook up batches of quinoa, rice, bulgar wheat, lentils or couscous a day or two before we plan on using them. These items can be added to salads, quesadillas, wraps, veggie bowls and more. Take these precooked items camping with you packed up neatly in your GLAD storage containers.
- Plan for unconventional leftovers by mixing and matching dinner and breakfast staples. Eggs for dinner cook in minutes, or include quinoa in breakfast staples in place of oats. Try mixing them with milk and berries for a high-protein healthy meal.
Wanda says: If you have a little extra time try our healthy Quinoa Porridge Breakfast idea anytime of the day and store extras in your GLAD containers. Or saute some cut veggies, mix in some scrambled eggs, add some cheese and toss everything into a wrap. Heat up to melt the cheese and dinner is served.
With all these great tips from GLAD, it’s important to know how to store your food properly in the refrigerator for maximum freshness.
GLAD shares more great tips and tricks about proper food storage.
- Keep onions and tomatoes in a cool dry place, not in your refrigerator where they will lose flavour
- Pears, peaches, kiwis, mangoes, apricots, melons, avocados and bananas can be kept on the counter. Once they are ripe enough, move to the fridge.
- Salad greens and fresh herbs can be sealed tightly in a glad freezer or storage bag with a tiny bit of air and a small piece of paper towel.
- Citrus can be stored up to a week in a cool dark place away from sunlight or in a fridge for longer in a glad bag.
- Celery should be wrapped in press n’ seal or cling wrap and sealed in a veggie crisper.
- Avoid washing berries all at once, wash as you eat them because the water will cause mold growth.
- Store your prepared fruits and vegetables in clear, plastic containers so you can see what you have. Research suggests that the food we can see and is right in front of us is most likely to be consumed first.
With a little advance planning, meals can be ready to cook and on the table in no time at all giving you more time to breathe and relax a little before a busy evening adventure.
Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post, all opinions remain my own.