Tuesday, September 20, 2016

How to Meal Prep With Your Kids (And NOT Lose Your Mind)

So, I'm pretty sure the number one thing people find most difficult when they begin meal prepping is the time it takes to actually meal prep. Throw in a kid (or two...or three) and it almost becomes your worst nightmare. Now, I don't have much experience with meal prepping and wrangling two (or three) kids, considering I just have my one. And lucky for me, she's pretty stationary...for now. 
(don't worry, my days are numbered

But since I have started meal prepping now that I'm working on my fitness, I've had to learn how to juggle meal prepping and taming an UNRULY (just kidding) nine month old. So if these tips have helped me with the process, I may as well share the wealth in hopes that someone out there with an unruly nine month old (or two...or three) can maybe take just one trick away and tuck it up under their sleeve to keep until their next meal prep day.

So with that being said - here are five things that have totally helped me tame the beast, I mean baby, while I take on meal prepping. :)

#1 - Get Them Involved

So, Harper quickly taught that me sitting her in her walker beside me in the kitchen for two hours while I meal prepped was a seriously foolish plan that only a first time mother would actually attempt. You see, my baby wants to be in my business (and probably yours too if you let her), so the idea of her just watching me or you know, actually playing with her toys, was dumb. So, she won. And I decided to sit her tiny hiny up on the counter with me in her little chair, so she could not only see directly what I was doing, but could also interact with me.

As I'm cutting things, cooking meals, mixing, etc. I talk to her and I tell her what I'm doing. The girl has no idea what I'm saying, but she loves the interaction. Toys? Who needs toys? Not Harper. Spatula? Wooden spoon? Measuring Cup? That's where the fun is at. And where ever the fun is, that's where Harper wants to be. Letting her hold unbreakable, plastic, non-life threatening, kitchen utensils solves many of my problems for the majority of my prep time. In between our kitchen conversations, and utensil holding, I try and let her experiment with different textures of fruits and veggies. She doesn't really eat them as much as she she holds them in her hands and squishes them in between her fingers. Whatever works for ya.

You can decide how you want to get your kids involved depending on their age. 
I promise, they'll probably love it more than you realize. 

#2 - Break It Up

In case you didn't hear me say it - MEAL PREPPING TAKES A LONG TIME.
Time that most of us struggle to find, am I right?
A lot of the time, I have to break up my meal prepping through the day. This past Sunday, I meal prepped my snacks and part of my breakfast, and then we spent the day together having family time - which was so needed and so important to keep a priority. When we came back home, I finished up my lunches, and prepared a little bit of our dinners for the week. And it worked out just fine. Family time is a priority for us, but so is meal prepping. You just have to find the right balance!

#3 - Schedule It

I'm pretty sure you've figured out by now that your baby or kid rules the roost. The days of doing what you want to do when you want are looooong gone. (goodbye good old days...) But their squishy little cheeks and leg rolls completely make up for any personal time lost. Even though your schedule is a little different than before kids took over your life, you still need to find the time to do this for yourself. You'll thank yourself and feel so relieved knowing you're prepared for the week ahead - not to mention, you'll actually love the extra family time you get during the week not having to worry so much about food.

So with that being said, schedule your meal prep.
Decide on a time when you know you are going to commit to it. Do it for yourself. Taking care of yourself is still important you know - even though it gets lost sometimes. I try and meal prep during naps for example. I know she's probably going to take a morning nap, so that's a good time for me to try and knock some of it out. Do what works best for you. You'll be so thankful you did.

#4 - Ask For Help

Put those baby daddies to work!
Just kidding.
But really. A lot of times, my husband is a complete rockstar, and takes care of Harper completely while I'm knocking out meal prepping. Harper loves the time with Daddy, and I know he loves it just as much, if not more. It's so helpful, and actually allows me to get it done a lot quicker.

You know who else is good for this... THE GRANDPARENTS! :)

And my FAVORITE tip...


As if meal prepping wasn't already thrilling enough... ;)
Karaoke, dance parties, cowboy hat wearing - we make it fun as a family, and seriously, it makes all the difference! I hate taking time away from Harper to do anything, especially since our time together is so limited with me working. So, if I can be productive, while bonding and creating memories with my little family, then I'll certainly be okay with that.

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