Weekly Food Prep for a Busy Family

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I love, love LOVE this meme from Happy Herbivore!  She is one of my favorite vegan cookbook authors.  This is such an important reminder for those of us who can get tripped up by labels.  Her post on the subject is great.  Read it here.
So let’s talk about snacking appetites for a quick minute.  On one of my online “mommy forums” (groan, I know, I know!) we’ve been talking about how much food our families can eat.  My family eats a ton of food, and Granola Toddler would probably just keep eating all day until she passed out cold in front of the fridge if I let her.  With all the face-stuffing going on around here, I have to be sure that I always have healthy options available.  I don’t want my kids eating chips because that’s all they could find in the cupboard.  One thing that really keeps us eating healthy and sticking to our budget is weekly food prep.  At the beginning of the week (usually Sunday or Monday) I take an afternoon to prepare a large amount of ingredients and snacks for us to use for the rest of the week.  It varies from week to week, but here’s an idea of what I’ve been doing lately:

-chop and roast 1 entire bag (5lbs) of sweet potatoes
-chop 3 heads of romaine lettuce and separate into bags
-cook 4 cups of quinoa in the rice cooker (I cook it in water so I can use it for sweet or savory dishes)
-cook 2 cups of brown rice on the stove
-hard boil 6 eggs
-make 1 huge batch of granola
-chop and bag up veggies for quick salads: bell peppers, cucumbers, etc.
-make a homemade salad dressing for the week
-bake one type of “treat” that we can grab quickly on our way out the door (granola bars, muffins, breakfast cookies, etc)

It’s not really very much work, and I can usually get it done in an hour if I’m smart about it.  I can have my rice cooker, oven, and stove going all at once and chop away while the kids are asleep.  It saves me quite a bit of time the rest of the week, which is really helpful when the Granola Babies decide they are so hungry they will surely perish if I don’t magically make a snack appear in 30 seconds 🙂
Do you food prep for your family?  What kinds of things do you like to cook ahead of time?

P.S.  I will be blogging next about the different ways I use all that quinoa, and why I love it so much!

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