Healthy Mommy founder Rhian Allen shares her top tips for Meal Planning and Prepping!!
Hi – My name is Rhian and as well as being a busy mom of two young boys – I am also the founder of The Healthy Mommy which I am super proud to say is transforming the lives of millions of moms all over the world.
The Healthy Mommy is a health and weight loss program created for busy moms and we started back in 2010 when I was pregnant and wanted to create a supportive and holistic program for moms (you can read my story here) and now millions of moms use our famous 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge every day and moms have lost over 6 million lbs with us!
So What is MEAL PREP?
If you think of the time you spend in the kitchen each day or night preparing meals, it quickly adds up by the end of the week. And if there’s one thing that us busy mamas don’t have enough of – it’s TIME!
This is where meal planning and prepping comes in. By spending some time once or twice per week (or whatever works for you and your family) chopping, cooking and packaging up your meals and snacks you can slice a TON of hours off your weekly cooking schedule.
But you don’t have to feel overwhelmed. Meal prep can be made up of simple tasks like chopping ingredients and storing them in airtight containers, making a batch of healthy snacks from the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge or cooking a double batch of your favourite healthy meal, so you can freeze some for another day.
Where do I start??
You need to start with a PLAN! And that’s where your Meal Plan comes in!
Decide what you would like to cook during your session. You can choose to meal prep just dinners (a great start!), or add in lunches too (why not just use dinner leftovers for lunch?), you might want to meal prep some snacks too.
Jump on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge app and type in an ingredient you want to use, (e.g. mince) and see what recipes pop up that you like the look of. You can customise your meal plan and then hit the ‘shopping list’ button.
Make a shopping list (or use the one on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge) and go shopping. Check the cupboards to see if you have basics like oil, flour, pepper etc.
Many mums find it useful to use online shopping so that they can see what their total spend will be and make changes if needed to fit within their budget.
Carve out some time (depending on what you’re cooking and how many recipes you have) to spend in the kitchen cooking.
Lots of our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge members swear by the Sunday afternoon cook up, but do whatever works for you. Many moms do meal prep twice a week.
Start chopping and getting the ingredients ready. The food processor can be helpful here to chop onions, carrots, cabbage, etc. Why not try using the oven, stovetop and a slow cooker all at once so that you can prepare multiple meals?
Start cooking! Get your apron on, throw on some tunes, and get into your meal prep session. It’s normally best to get anything cooking first that will take a little longer, then work back from there. Think ahead of time about what you can make while another meal is baking in the oven for instance.
Once the food has cooled it’s time to package it up. You might choose to package your meals into single serve portions, or into family sized portions depending on your needs. Allow the food to cool completely in the fridge overnight, then place in the freezer the next day. This avoids freezer burn. Label everything so that you can see at a glance what you have in the freezer.
My meal prep day
One of the other BIG things I like to do and show moms is that healthy eating doesn’t need to be expensive!
So today, I did a little bit of meal prep! Well quite a lot actually! I made 40 servings of weeknight meals for a family of four for under $1.75 per person.
How you can feed your family 40 weeknight meals for under $60
The Healthy Mommy meals are designed with a holistic approach, with no food group being cut out, everything in moderation and the most importantly, delicious!
This took me three hours to do which means I don’t have to cook again for the week and because I’m cooking in bulk, I’m saving so much money – so although it is hard work – it is 100% worth it!
The finer details
- I spent $56.52 on food
- I made eight meals enough for a family of four for two weeks
- I made 40 servings of dinners PLUS leftovers
- All food is healthy and yummy and has all the macronutrients you need
What I made
All the food is from the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge and you can see over 1,000 recipes in the challenge when you join. I’ve included some recipes below.
- cooking oil spray
- 6 free-range eggs, whisked
- 1/2 cup reduced-fat Greek natural yogurt
- 1/2 cup reduced-fat milk of choice
- 1/2 cup whole wheat self-raising flour
- 1/2 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 small zucchini, grated
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 medium carrot, grated
- 4 bacon slices, lean & trimmed, dice
- Preheat oven to 355°F and spray a large baking dish with cooking oil.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine whisked eggs, yogurt and milk. Add grated cheese, zucchini, onion, carrot and chopped bacon. Fold in flour. Stir to combine.
- Transfer to the prepared dish and bake for approx. 40-45 minutes (or until golden and a skewer can be removed from the center clean).
- Serve with a fresh salad or steamed veggies.
- 1 lb chicken breast fillets
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- cooking oil spray
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced
- 4 whole wheat tortillas
- 1/3 cup reduced-fat Greek natural yogurt
- 1 medium avocado, mashed
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- Slice chicken into strips. Whisk together lemon juice, oregano and extra virgin olive oil and place in a zip lock bag with chicken strips and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Lightly spray a non-stick frying pan with cooking oil over a medium heat. Add chicken and cook for about 3-4 minutes before adding the red and green bell peppers and green onions and cook until the vegetables are soft and the chicken is cooked through.
- Serve tortilla topped with chicken and veggie mix, a dollop of yogurt, a dollop of mashed avocado and tomato pieces. Wrap and enjoy.
My tips on how to save MORE money when meal prepping
Prepare your vegetables and marinate meats the night before. This will intensify the flavors and make the meat more tender.
Feel free to skip searing off your meats before placing them in your dish. It really doesn’t make much difference to the texture of the meat if you’re slow cooking. The same goes for onions. Just cut them smaller beforehand.
Greens are best added in the last 30 minutes of cooking, otherwise they tend to lose their color and go very limp.
As soon as you have finished slow cooking a meal, portion it into small, airtight containers, and cool in the fridge. Once cool, place in freezer for a later date.
- Have appropriate storage containers and label what you’ve prepared.
Are you ready to become a Healthy Mommy?
Our Challenge is designed by moms FOR MOMS – to help them reach their goal weight and tackle their health and fitness.
The Challenge is home to customizable meal plans, 24/7 social support and realistic exercises moms can do AT HOME.
To find out more on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge click here.