Meal Prep Ideas and Recipes for the Whole Family
How is everyone settling into this temporary “new normal”? While this is undoubtedly a somewhat scary time, we hope that your family can see the positive side of life slowing down and the opportunity to put down deeper roots of family connection. You may also be experiencing some stressors around having everyone home, like the constant “feed me” from the kiddos. So, we put together some tips for meal planning and simple recipes and snack ideas that the whole family will love.
General tips when feeding the whole family
- Keep it simple. Plan the meal around the protein and then add a side of veggies and grains.
- Have themes. Taco night, build your own pizza night, or salad bar night. Make it extra fun by having the family play dress up coordinating with the theme.
- Have everyone write down their favorite meals and each week pick one.
- Make extra and freeze leftovers.
- Support your favorite local restaurant (and give mom a break) by ordering take out once a week.
Weekly planning chart
Here is a handy chart to help you plan out the week. Take an inventory of the food in your fridge and pantry and fill in the columns. Then choose one item from each box to build your meal, for instance, Salmon, rice, and broccoli. Use a different color highlighter for each day. Meal Prep Chart
Slow-Cooker Chicken Verde Taco Filling
Mexican is a great go-to, since each family member can choose individual toppings. You can add this tasty chicken filling to tacos, corn tortillas, salads, or burrito bowls.
- 1 pound organic free-range skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup Salsa Verde
- 1 cup chopped green cabbage
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
Directions: Combine the chicken and salsa in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours. Shred the chicken with a fork and sprinkle cabbage and onion on top as desired. Use in tacos or other recipes for a salad or a rice bowl.
Yield: 4 servings
Turkey and Black Bean Lettuce Tacos
The easy turkey and black bean filling in this recipe can serve as a base for many meals. Enjoy it as directed, add it to a salad, serve it on a corn tortilla, or mix it with quinoa and serve as a bowl.
- 1 pound organic 90% lean ground turkey
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or spray olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Crushed red pepper to taste
- 1 (15-ounce) can organic black beans
- Romaine lettuce leaves
- 1/2 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt (optional)
- Jalapeño peppers, chopped (optional)
Directions: In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add oil or spray, then cook the turkey until browned, and break it up into a crumble. Then mix in onion, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper, stirring occasionally. Add the beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until the turkey is fully cooked (no pink color). To serve, wrap the mixture in lettuce leaves, as if they were taco shells. Top with the yogurt and jalapeño peppers, if desired.
Yield: 4 servings
Immune Boosting Banana Berry Chia Smoothie
- 1 cup unsweetened plant-based milk
- 1/2 a frozen banana
- 1/2 frozen mixed berries
- I cup power greens
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger root
- I inch slice of lemon rind
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1/3 cup Vanilla Juice Plus+® Complete nutritional
- shake mix or protein mix of choice.
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a blender. Add ice/water as needed for desired consistency.
The Snack Solution: Nibble Tray
Are the kids constantly bugging you for snacks? Try putting together a nibble tray.
Directions: Here’s how to prepare a Sears family-favorite nibble tray. Take an ice-cube tray or muffin tin and shoot for a rainbow of colors and foods that are most nutrient-dense, packing the most nutrition per calorie. Reserve three to four compartments for dips, such as guacamole, hummus, yogurt, and a nut butter. You could also try dips of pureed fruit or cooked vegetables like sweet potatoes. Toddlers love to dip!
It’s important to make eating not only delicious and nutritious but also fun. Give cute names to all the little foods, such as banana “wheels,” tofu or cheese “blocks,” broccoli “trees,” and egg “canoes” (a quarter of a hard-boiled egg). One of the most nutritious foods to begin early is wild salmon. Make a puree of wild salmon or tiny chunks of salmon covered with your toddler’s favorite sauce and add to the nibble tray. Notice that these foods are all nutrient-dense.
- 1 cup shredded zucchini – more if you want
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Dash of salt
- 1 tablespoon sunflower or sesame seeds (omit if younger than four)
- Fruit spread or mild salsa for topping
Directions: Stir ingredients together without overbeating. Bake on a preheated griddle/skillet. The recipe makes one thick 8-inch pancakes or 4 mini pancakes. Before flipping, sprinkle on the sunflower or sesame seeds if desired.
Check out “Tips for Grocery Shopping with your Child”, click here.
Click here for the “Classic Sears Family Dinner Recipe”.
Martha is the mother of Dr. Bill’s eight children, a registered nurse, a former childbirth educator, a La Leche League leader, and a lactation consultant. Martha is the co-author of 25 parenting books and is a popular lecturer and media guest drawing on her 18 years of breastfeeding experience with her eight children (including Stephen with Down Syndrome and Lauren, her adopted daughter). Martha speaks frequently at national parenting conferences and is noted for her advice on how to handle the most common problems facing today’s mothers with their changing lifestyles. Martha is able to connect with both full-time, stay-at-home mothers and working mothers because she herself has experienced both styles of parenting. Martha takes great pride in referring to herself as a “professional mother” and one of her favorite quips when someone voices their concern about her having eight children in an already populated world is: “The world needs my children.”