I was thrilled with yesterday's response to our weekly meal menu. I thought you'd like to see how I do it. Yes, there is the regular meal prep before a meal but every week there's the little list of snacks and the likes to be made for that upcoming week.
As you saw yesterday on our menu for the week there were a few things to bake. I like having a set, untouched portion of one day each week for our family's "baking prep". Monday morning works great because we're all needing a slower morning after the weekend. So after I've put together my week's full menu Sunday night I simply plug in what needs to be baked/made for Monday morning's "baking prep" on my calendar. Each week the list is different which keeps life with kids and snacking exciting and always changing.
Yesterday's "baking prep" morning:
- Cinnamon Square Crunch Cereal (grain-free, nut-free)
- Chocolate Dipped Nut Bites (we just call them nut clusters)
- Dehydrate banana slices (didn't quite get to those)
I try to make some sort of homemade grain-free cereal for the girls each week. Yes, it takes more time than 99% of the snacks we make (those actually rarely require baking) but they love the cereal, love the process, and feel loved when I make it for them. I've learned that the more I make the same recipe, the easier and faster I can make it which means this somewhat weekly ritual of homemade cereal becomes second nature. (Seriously friends, its a handful of stuff processed into a flour consistency for a few seconds then rolled out onto parchment paper, scored, and baked.)
And we're always trying different "nut clusters" for snacks in our week. (Or energy bites.) Some recipes we make up, other times we try a new recipe I've pinned. These chocolate dipped nut bites turned out awesome, especially with a little dipping of some[amazon_link id="B004N5FR1U" target="_blank" ]bittersweet (70%) chocolate[/amazon_link]. We switched up the nut ratio a bit to my kids' liking (added pecans and cashews, reduced the pumpkin seeds) and filled little paper liners for easy grabbing (and late night snacking...ahem.)
So here are my rules for "baking prep" day:
- I try to follow a recipe more closely than usual the first time I make it.
- Once I've made a recipe and like it, always double, triple, or quadruple the recipe. Make the recipe worth my efforts in the kitchen, especially for a large family. Refrigerate, individually wrap, or freeze extra batches for additional snacks, desserts, grab-and-go, pre/post workout snacks, etc.
- I have the kids help in the kitchen especially for those cross-your-fingers-and-hope-they-like-it recipes. My kids are 80% more likely to enjoy a new experimental snack if they help, watch the process, see the ingredients, and help make the decisions along the way.
- I streamline my baking by making a huge mess and using up all of the measuring cups and bowls at one baking session. Then I do all of the handwashing, loading the dishwasher, and cleaning counters. (Unless it's something that can cross contaminate, etc. You already know that.)
Do you have a set time when you prep meals/snacks for your week?
If you're looking for ideas to fill your weekly menu check out my Pinterest food board Good Eats: Low Carb/Paleo. It is overflowing with entree ideas, salads, desserts (grain-free, fruit based, dairy based, and so on), bars, smoothies, shakes, baked goods, and so forth. I'm pretty proud of it because I'm super selective about what I pin (based on ingredients, carbs, ease, etc.) since I use it everyday for my family. That one board is actually growing a ton with almost 100-200 new followers a day! Check it out--I think you'll be inspired in your eating!
the sleepy time gal