Before I get into some teacher meal prep ideas, let’s think about juicy watermelon, hot dogs on the grill, fresh bbq corn on the cob… Oh, how sweet summer meals can be! If you’re like me, you eat some amazing and delicious meals during the summer. You finally have the time to enjoy it! We can be more aware of what we’re eating because we have time to plan out meals, go to the grocery store whenever we want, and have the energy to cook a meal that requires more than just a microwave.
When the back-to-school season starts, I dread thinking about how on earth I’ll be able to come home from work and cook for my family every night on top of running to the grocery store because I forgot some main ingredients in the dinner that I planned. I either deal with that stress, or I just give in and we have take-out (which turns into extra money spent, extra calories, and extra pounds that I don’t want or need).
One solution to this is meal prep! There are many ways to meal prep for your work week including creating a menu, freezer meals, or portioning out larger meals across many days. Pinterest is a great resource for finding ideas on how to meal prep so it fits your lifestyle, but since you’re here, let me share with you a few teacher meal prep tips that will help you plan food ahead of time to make your school year less stressful.
6 Teacher Meal Prep Tips
Below are some teacher meal prep tips to help you start the new school year off right.
1. Join the InstaPot Craze
People go crazy for this thing! If you don’t have one, now is the perfect time to welcome one into your home. You can enjoy many school night dinners together. There are tons of recipes on Pinterest to get you started. It’s a real time and money saver. Check out the affiliate link below!
2. Batch Out the Process
Many people spend one entire day a month preparing meals to freeze. This is beneficial because you only need to make one big grocery trip (that alone will save you time and money) and spend one day prepping foods, cooking, and washing dishes. This plan works best if you have large freezer space to fill. These are my three tried and true, personal favorite cookbooks for quick, easy, and healthy meals that you can make in batches and freeze.
3. Team Up with Friends
Some find it nice to team up with friends and each take responsibility for a few meals. Coordinate who will make what so you have variety. Each person prepares enough freezer meals for everyone in the group. For example, you may be responsible for preparing six lasagnas to distribute to five friends, but in return, you get five different meals to put in your freezer. For added fun, you can plan a potluck where everyone brings a cooked version of their meal to sample as well as the frozen version for friends to take home. This would be great to do with a group of teachers from your school. Not only do you get to socialize, but you get to eat a delicious meal and take one home for later!
4. Make Extra Servings
What I find works very well for me is to make a triple batch of a dinner. We eat one for dinner and freeze two for future nights. This works fantastic because over time I build up a nice collection in the freezer. The inventory rotates frequently and we have meals available for most weeknights. Pull out and heat in the oven while you rest your feet from a tiring day.
5. Create a Menu
As a family, create a menu of what you’ll eat for dinner each night. Do this a week ahead of time. List out how much of each ingredient you’ll need and head to the grocery store. When you get home, have the menu posted and organize your groceries by meal so it’s easy to grab and cook. If you have a plan for what you’re going to make, it will take away some of the stress as you drive home thinking about what your family will want for dinner.
6. Pack Your Lunches for the Week on Sundays
Packing your lunch in the morning before work can be stressful as you’re trying to get out the door, so lunches can be a part of your meal prep too! On Sunday, use Tupperware containers to pack your five lunches for the week. Include the healthy items that you know and love, so you’re less likely to grab sugary cookies midweek because you “just need it”. Healthy lunches, no extra stress in the morning, no wondering what you’ll be eating the next day. These are three of my favorite tools for packing snacks, my lunch, and water.
In closing, the trick to teacher meal prep is to be organized and prepared. You do all the work ahead of time, so during the workweek, you don’t have to think about food and can focus your energy on other important areas of your life. Plus it’s a great way to save money as a teacher! We all have other things we need to worry about, so don’t allow the stress of meals to be one of those!
If you want to hear what other teachers just like you are doing to save time and money with meals and food prep on school nights, join the Clutter-Free Club Facebook Group. This free group is a community of positive and supportive teachers. Be sure to check it out!