These tips on meal prepping for large families will help you streamline your grocery shopping and meal prep routine.
Meal prepping is perfect for large families because it is cost effective, time effective, and makes it easier to cook in large amounts. When you have a large family, you are used to cooking large meals so batch cooking probably doesn't seem like a radical idea to you. Since you are used to cooking on a large scale, you are already ahead of the game when it comes to meal prepping. You probably already do a lot of batch cooking right now and may not even realize it. If you want to become more efficient at meal prep, here are some tips for meal prepping for large families.
Meal Prepping for Large Families
Gather some of your crowd-pleasing recipes. When you meal prep, you need some easy recipes that everyone likes and can be made in large amounts. I recommend keeping at least 15 on your rotating menu. These should be meals that utilize low-cost ingredients and are easy to put together without lots of prep work. Meals like spaghetti, casseroles, and soups are great for this. If you need ideas, check out my cookbooks Prep-Ahead Breakfasts and Lunches and Prep-Ahead Meals from Scratch.
Shop in season and plan meals around what's on sale weekly. When shopping for a large family, shopping in-season is a great way to make sure you get the best prices. When most people think of shopping in season, they usually only consider produce. However, meats and even frozen foods have a season. You can buy large amounts of turkey around Thanksgiving and use them in any recipe that calls for chicken. Frozen foods month is in March and you can stock up on frozen vegetables for quick and easy meals with the same taste and nutrition as your own frozen produce.
Keep an eye on inventory and make master grocery lists. If you have the space for it, make a place in your pantry for the items you use most and your bulk purchases. Keep an eye on the inventory in there and add something to the list if you see it getting low. Another way to help save time when meal prepping for large families is to make master grocery lists. Make 2-4 week-long meal plans and make a master grocery list for each week. When it's time to go to the store, just grab one of the lists.
Choose one time every week to cook your main meal components. Batch cooking is one way to save time throughout the week when it comes to meal prepping. Take a couple of hours a week to cook your main ingredients like meat, rice, and beans. Do some prep for vegetables if you can – you can chop and freeze some vegetables, such as bell peppers and onions. You can even let your slow cookers and pressure cookers to do the actual cooking for you. Then all you have to do is store your prepped ingredients in meal-size portions in your fridge and freezer. Here are some Batch Cooking Tutorials.
Involve members of your family. One of the benefits of having a larger family is, as the kids get older, you have lots of helpers. Teens and preteens can help you cut up produce and elementary school kids can help you measure ingredients.
Resources to Help with Meal Prep