I admit that the magic of meal prep still eludes me, but doing just two rounds of Meal Prep Power Hours has taught me that if I have just a few things — from plain pasta to hummus — waiting in the fridge, my whole family eats better and I can flex my meal plan to include better lunches and breakfasts too.
These are the 12 recipes I find myself reaching for time and time again, even if I only have a single hour to prepare one recipe and chop some vegetables for the week. Many of them can do double duty as either breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner, and all are kid-friendly enough for even the pickiest eaters.
After-school snack time can be absolutely bananas at my house, but having this dip in the fridge means I can slice an apple and put some pretzels alongside it faster than my 3-year-old can have a meltdown trying to get his shoes off. Bet you already have all three ingredients on hand.
Dips are a nice entry-level meal prep recipe for the weeks when I don't have two hours to prep for the whole week. We use them for snacks and sandwich spreads, and they help us all eat more vegetables.
Hummus is not just another dip to get your kids to eat more vegetables. We use it as a sauce for pasta or quick flatbread pizzas, and even folded into eggs.
You know how lots of meal preppers roast chicken pieces for the week? This is the kid-friendly equivalent of that. You can prep this in full and then pull out a skewer to pack in lunch boxes or use as a salad topper. Switch up the sauces and you can eat the skewers for multiple meals in the same week.
Please don't limit meatballs to pasta night only — if you've got some cooked and stashed in the fridge (or freezer), you can throw them into soup, sandwich them between bread, or eat them in any kind of grain bowl you can imagine.
Roasting vegetables makes them ultra sweet and kids love them. This can be as simple as roasting baby carrots for lunch boxes or as elaborate as cooking beets and fennel to turn into soups or salads.
Many parents prepare pasta or grains for the week, but I like to take that idea one step further and add a dressing and some herbs. Chopped vegetables and cheese can be added later for pasta salad, or the pasta can be gently reheated and added to soups or casseroles.
I just love a good lunch box muffin. They can be served for breakfast, lunch, or even dinner. Plus, they freeze well!
Another recipe that can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner! It can also use up last week's produce. Extra cheese makes this kid-approved.
Breakfast cereal is kind of a treat in our house, but granola is an everyday staple that the kids eat like cereal for breakfasts and snacks. You can adjust the sweetness and ingredients to suit your family's unique tastes.
These squares are a breakfast that can be made ahead, reheated in a warm oven, and feel like a breakfast treat. Plus the oats and apples keep everyone full until lunchtime.
Oatmeal is one of our breakfast staples and while it is quick-cooking, I'll admit that there are mornings when even the 15 minutes to cook oatmeal from scratch is too much. Enter: these steel-cut oats. Cook a batch on Sunday and you've got breakfast for the week.