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Meal Prepping 101

Janel F.
JANEL F.
Registered Dietitian
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Whether you are prepping daily lunches or for weekly dinner options, Tinyhood's Registered Dietitian, Janel Funk, will help you understand what you need to get started.

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JANEL ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Healthy food prepping
SARAH, PARENT OF 2 YEAR OLD

We are starting our six month old son on solids and want him to see us eating healthy food as well. My husband and I both work full time. Any suggestions on how we can meal prep fresh and healthy food for us and our son? (We are doing a mix of baby-led weaning and purses)

Janel
JANEL

Hi Sarah,

That's a great goal! Modeling healthy eating habits and eating with your son as much as possible is one of the best ways to raise a healthy eater. Meal planning takes some, well, planning, so intend to set aside some time each week to plan before you grocery shop and then prep, most likely on the weekends. I recommend making in advance a big batch of 1) cooked grains (like brown rice, quinoa, barley) 2) protein (like roasted chicken breast, broiled fish, cooked beans, etc.) and 3) cooked or at least cut veggies (so cut bell peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, etc. for a salad or stir fry, or cut and roast carrots, eggplant, etc.). If you have all three of these components already prepared, it is easy to toss together a balanced meal. It won't win any awards for creativity, but as parents of little ones, it's hard enough getting a nutritious meal on the table! Your baby should be able to gum soft cooked grains and veggies, and texture-appropriate meat (like cooked fish) or mashed beans. You can also set out to make one "big batch" meal each week to last you a few nights, like a veggie lasagna, bean chili, or curried lentils over rice.

I love using the slow cooker for things like stews and chili (other people love the insta pot so that may be worth considering!), and always recommend freezing some for a later date. Don't forget to prep breakfast, too! A big batch of steel cut oats with some fresh or frozen fruit mixed in; a big batch of scrambled eggs or muffin tin eggs made with veggies, or whipping up some mashed avocado to easily make avocado toast topped with hard boiled eggs are all ways to get breakfast on the table ASAP without relying on typical processed carbs.

Does this help to get you started? Happy to keep brainstorming ideas, but want to get a sense of your cooking skill/interest first!

SARAH

This is a great start. I love my crock-pot and have a wonderful cookbook for it. It's always nice to get some more ideas on meals and how to prep better.

Janel
JANEL

Great! I recommend keeping a running list of easy, family favorite meals (especially ones with recipes you can double so you have plenty of leftovers!) somewhere in the kitchen for quick reference when you're wondering what to cook. Also, always have on hand nutritious shortcuts, like pre cooked/frozen brown rice, frozen mixed veggies, and cooked grilled chicken strips or rotisserie chicken - zero prep required but you can still get a great meal on the table in under 5 minutes.