Fighting Off Kitchen Zombies
I'd love to introduce you all to my sweet friend, Megan Dove. Megan is a superhero Mom and meal prep champion! I asked her to give us some of her best tips for that crazy back to school season we are all experiencing. Enjoy! ~ Madi
Meal Prep Methods for Mom’s Fighting Off Kitchen Zombies
It is back to school time. Um, crazy, right? Everyone in the family scatters into their different corners of life, only to return crashing into the kitchen around 6 o clock with, “Mom, I starving!” Unless you have an Aunt Bea that lives with you, meal time can wind up being your most stressful part of your day, and if you’ve just returned from your corner of responsibility along with the rest of the horde of “eat anything zombies” you call your children (and husband…ehem), you are in no mood to fix a gloriously nutritious meal of delectable delights. Frozen pizza means survival - and the zombies don’t eat your brains. But what if there was another way?
I’m Megan Dove and my entire business is helping individuals strengthen their lives in the areas of Faith, Family, Food, and Fitness. These are areas we all want to grow in but sometimes just need some know-how, resources, and someone to coach us through it step by step. That’s where Pillar Strength Living comes in and provides everything necessary (other than your own desire, that’s up to you) for you to strengthen the areas of life you want to grow in. You can find out more at pillarstrengthliving.com. While you’re there you can sign up for our FREE FREE FREE 4 part video series “How to Transform Your Nutritional Life In 30 Days”! It starts Saturday August 10. Did I mention FREE?
Alright, back to beating back the zombies without resorting to frozen pizza… It’s called Meal Prepping. It’s where you intentionally take a couple of hours on a particular day to plan and prep your dinners for the week. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but what is your specific method? If you’re like most of the people that first join a Pillar Strength Living Challenge, you’re drawing a complete blank right now, and that’s why in the group I give 4 methods to try out to see what works for you.
Power Prep The Power Prep method usually fits the on the go person that prizes function over festoon (whaddya mean you don’t know what festoon means? Yeah, I didn’t either but it googled up as a synonym for decoration - I’m a genius). I tend to be someone who loves the beauty of the meal, the plates, the table, so this ain’t my style, but it might be yours. In Power Prep, each individual meal is created and put in it’s own container. When meal time comes around, everyone just heats up their meal and eats it right from the container. I always think of Power Prep as “TV Dinners”, but because you are making it, they can be incredibly healthy and nutritious. This method is fast and easy for meal time and clean up, but the drawback is it takes a little more prep time as you are making every meal for the week (it also takes quite a bit of fridge space). I have a friend who does this method religiously and their family eats the same dinner all week long. Not my style, but it may fit you and your busy family perfectly!
2. Pan-It Prep If Power Prep is “TV Dinners” then Pan-It Prep is “Freezer Meals”. This is great if you like cooking and the idea of the hot meal at the table, but not the hassle and fuss of a bunch of different dishes and cooking different items. You make one casserole dish for the meal and freeze it. On prep day, instead of making just one kind, make five. Hello! Dinner is done for the week! You get home, slap that baby in the oven, and the whole family is eating a hot meal in 40 minutes. This goes great with some cold vegetables, like a salad, baby carrots, or sugar snap peas. None of these need to be cooked, just poured out of the bag and onto the plate. A drawback to this method again is freezer space. Another is that only certain recipes are good for this method, so it’s not necessarily usable for every occasion. But I will say, Pan-it Prep is awesome, especially when unexpected family shows up. Just put in another pan and you are the next Ree Drummond (without the money of course!).
3. Pick and Pull Prep This method is like “paint-by-number”. Everything’s predetermined, all you gotta do is put the marker on the paper. You have all the joy of coloring the picture and a beautiful result without the stress of picking the perfect palette of pinks. It’s already been chosen for you. On prep day with Pick and Pull, you assemble all your ingredients for a meal, measure them out into containers, and place them all together on a baking sheet or container. When meal time rolls around, all these ingredients can be taken out of the fridge and all you have to do is throw the ingredients together and do whatever cooking is necessary. The drawback to this method is obvious, the amount of time needed to prepare the meal is way longer than the previous 3 methods. But that being said, for someone who loves to cook this method is perfect. All the little annoying time eaters of finding and measuring ingredients are disposed of making getting the meal on the plate easier, and you still get the joy of cooking in the kitchen.
4. Pseudo Mexi Prep ( I know it doesn’t sound like a ‘P’, but it is one!) This method is great for those who hate to grocery shopping like, um, my husband. With Pseudo Mexi Prep you take your main ingredients such as your protein/meat and vegetables and you use them for all the meals that week. I aptly named it after the Mexican restaurant strategy. I mean, how many dishes can you make with ground meat, tortillas, chopped lettuce, and cheese? Judging from the amount of menu items at my local Mexican joint, there’s a lot! You just change the sauce and arrangement of ingredients, then you can call it something else! So you buy some chicken breast. Some you grill whole. Some you slice. Some you shred. Your vegetables are all chopped. So you’ve got chicken breast topped with pico de gallo, green salad with chicken, and chicken soup! All from the same ingredients. Of course it’s a little more complicated, but you get the idea. This is great because it potentially gives variety and there is no wasted groceries and makes shopping easier. The drawback is it potentially can wind up being monotonous if you’re not creative with your ingredients. Evidently, Mexican restaurant cooks are very creative.
Back to Kitchen Zombies So, the best defense against the 6 o clock kitchen zombies is knowing your recipes for the week, and finding a prepping method that works for you.
So you’re wondering, what’s Megan Dove’s favorite prepping method? All of the above! It just depends on the week - how busy I might be, what company I might have, whether I have an itch to be cooking, or how creative I might feel with a limited amount of groceries. So find one that works for you, use all of them, or make your own - but the zombies are coming, so you’d best prepare. And above all else you must remember that it is never okay to starve zombies when they’re your children…or your husband.
BONUS This bonus is just for y’all through Madi’s blog. If you’d like to join us for our full W30 Challenge Group starting August 26th, use the promo code MADISON5 for $5.00 off registration at pillarstrengthliving.com.
For more tips and tricks you can follow me at piebakingfitnesscoach on Instagram.
PS - Young Living essential oils are FDA compliant to be ingested, non-gmo certified and certified organic. This means you can add your Young Living essential oils to your meal prep recipes. Having safe essential oils to cook with can make meal prep easy and fun!