Our physical health and my mental health.
Enough was actually enough.
(I feel like the tone of this post is really dramatic and no meal prepping didn’t save us from any illnesses but it literally got us fed.)
As you know for the past couple of months I have been taking classes at 5.30pm, four nights per week. It’s only an hour which would sound like a pretty easy deal wouldn’t it? But when you add in little children it makes it a lot more difficult to be out at this time of night. In Poppy’s mostly but to some extent also Henry’s ideal world we would have dinner at 5pm, bath between 5.30-6pm then ready for bed at 6.30pm. Teaching a class until 6.30pm has made that impossible for my little fam bam but they have really been troopers throughout it all. Some nights they get looked after so their routine can virtually go on undisturbed but other nights they have to come with me and by 6.30pm we are all very literally running out of the door as the wheels have well and truly fallen off.
On those nights they come to work with me, it’s a race to bath them if they haven’t already been or have covered themselves in food for that hour (food helps, food helps a lot, we all get a little hangry at times), get some extra food into them, dressed and into bed before 8pm. Some nights I have to remind Piddo to just take deep breaths as we prepare them for bed and they are just screaming the whole time. They’re just tired and will be asleep as soon as we leave the room (the babies share a room). Obviously by this time I’m ready to collapse and completely not interested in making dinner now. This meant that dinner was becoming something quick, something Piddo made (no offense Sweet but no it was not healthy or ‘clean’) and really anything. It needed to change and fast.
I had never really been a big meal prep person because when I was single, I could make one dinner per week and be happy to continue eating that dinner for the whole week. Since I’ve had my babies I haven’t really ‘worked’ during the day (I say ‘worked’ because you know what goes down as an at-home Mum) so could cook during the day but as life has gotten crazier that no longer happened. We were out and about doing kid things, the babies napped at different times so I couldn’t get to the shops or I was just plain buggered during the day.
I started with ‘big shopping’ which means I would shop for the entire fortnight as Piddo gets paid fortnightly and since we had Henry we have aimed for a shopping budget of $200 per fortnight (true story because when we had Henry and I was no longer getting paid we realised we were poor and really needed to do something before we were living on the streets, slight exaggeration but it was pretty grim) cooking from scratch helps the budget A LOT and if you want me to go more into my grocery budget and how far it spreads let me know and I can do that. Then I started to dabble in the art of meal prep. I started with my lunches, then made sure I had my snacks ready for the week because how easy is it to reach for something not ideal when all you have are ingredients for your bliss balls and not actual bliss balls? Even though it actually takes one minute to make said bliss balls. My grand idea was to make dinner during the day every day and we would be ready for the night ahead. This did work and I bought a lot of meat and salad too so Piddo could cook the meat but the dishes that had been left every night were ridiculous. Now my problem was the house looked horrendous and I was too exhausted to clean. Last fortnight I thought, stuff this.
I decided to go all in baby, jump right into the deep end and just start swimming. I did a massive food shop and this included all of those ‘chinese takeaway’ style boxes to put all of my food into. All of the snacks the kids would need for the next two weeks, everything little thing I could think of. This shop actually cost me $235 so I did go over budget but once I got home… I prepped my little freaking heart out.
I decided to cook and prep absolutely everything I had bought which meant a whole lot less waste at the end of the fortnight and a whole lot more good nutrition in our belly’s. I started with the favourites of spaghetti bolognese and mexican mince this took no time at all and I used a kilo of mince with each meal (yes a whole kilo in each). This meant I had dinner cooked for that night, the next night and had three to four ‘chinese takeaway’ containers worth of leftovers of each meal which went into the freezer. All of a sudden I had a heaps of meals to play with. with my pressure cooker I made a butter chicken with rice and a chicken broth, this left not only dinner but also lunches for Poppy. She’s just like her Mama in that she eats all day long and really enjoys real, tasty food, so having her lunches prepped for home or day care was such a relief. I did fillet then cook up the rest of the one kilo of chicken breast in my health grill and froze these, they eventually became chicken parmigiana’s. I cooked up an entire packet of pasta and stored some in the freezer and some in the fridge to use for Poppy’s dinners, a quick scoop of pasta, some passata and vegetables warmed up together and there is dinner for the night. Whilst the kitchen was in an absolute mess, I prepped the babies fruit which meant I cut up a quarter of a watermelon, washed and separated the grapes and washed and store the nectarines together in a Tupperware fridge mate. I have to say I have none of that fruit left in my fridge now so that is a win for me. I was meant to finish the week off with two Skinnymixers recipes which were curried sausages and the all in one sausage meal, I couldn’t because I hadn’t been able to stop in to our local butcher as the babies had fallen asleep in the car, but the ingredients were there to make later.
If you’re wondering, yes my kitchen looked an absolute mess, but with a few rounds of the dishwasher (because I do not hand wash anything) everything was cleaned and packed away for the fortnight and our dishes for the nights were so minimal that I forgot to turn the dishwasher on some nights as it was only a quarter full.
My verdict of the full meal prep? Dive in baby’s!! Seriously it is the best thing I have ever done, we still have meals in our freezer so we are never hungry and it’s one full on day but then you are organised and sorted for the entire fortnight. No produce goes bad because it is either used or prepped to be used. Your fridge isn’t full to the brim of ingredients as they are now in the freezer. We didn’t have to make any extra trips to the supermarket (we did go but we didn’t actually need to and I’ll chat about why we ended up going next time). The absolute relief I have felt from just purely not having to think about what’s for dinner tonight is what makes it all worth it, especially when my husband wants a new meal every night not the same old same old it was becoming very stressful.
I hope I have inspired you to head to the supermarket tomorrow after meal planning and meal prepping for the entire week, just think how easy it will be to eat well heading into Christmas but also how easy the prep will be when we have all of those Christmas left overs too.
If you would like more information with meal prepping please just reach out to me, I’m always happy to help.
A week later and still so many meals to eat.
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