Do you feel out of control, trying to keep up with food choices for your kids to eat? You are not alone. Moms and dads out there are trying their best, but with such busy lives and the allure of fast food, it’s no wonder we can’t keep up with home-cook meals.

Here’s a secret; it’s easy to feed your children from home when you have a good plan. It’s all about preparing ahead of time and then rolling out the meals on schedule.

Here are five kid-friendly meal prep ideas you can start today to fuel your little munchkins.

Idea #1: Batch Cook

If you are the type of parent who makes your kids’ food from scratch every meal, you miss the benefits of batch cooking. Instead of preparing one serving, you can prep in bulk and save a heap of time.

Sunday is the perfect day to get everything done. Here are a few meals that can be prepared for the week.

  • Eggs: Boil a dozen eggs or more and let them cool. Make a batch of egg salad and seal it in a container in the fridge for quick sandwiches or a protein side. Peel the other half and have them ready to include in their lunches or for a fast breakfast.
  • Sandwiches: Making a week’s worth of sandwiches is a smart plan. Depending on the ingredients, some sandwiches can be frozen and put in a lunch kit, so it’s ready to eat mid-day.
  • Granola: You can make a large batch of granola that will feed the kids in the morning. It’s much better than sugar-filled boxed cereal and tastes great with milk, yogurt or even plain.
  • Baked Goods: You can bake a dozen muffins and a tray of cookies to last the week, and they are a nice snack for after school too. Loaves and squares are a big hit as well.

Batch cooking works for dinners too. You can prepare up to two lasagnas almost as fast as one and put one in the freezer next week. The same goes for casseroles too. Chilli and soups can be made in big pots and portioned out for the coming weeks.

Idea #2: Chopped Fruit & Veggies

Your kids are always running a mile a minute, and they want to grab a snack and go, whether it’s heading to practise or playing outside with friends. If you want to keep them fed, have a bunch of healthy snack bags ready to go.

Cut up veggies like carrots, celery, cucumbers, pickles, peppers and whatever else they eat. Fill zip-lock bags and keep them in your crisper. You can also core and quarter apples and pears but make sure to put lemon juice on them, so they don’t brown. Mixed berries are a big hit too. When you have these healthy snacks already prepped, they are less likely to be nagging you for fast food options.

Idea #3: Dinner Menu

Dinner is usually the biggest meal and one where everyone is in attendance. Plan out your weekly dinners ahead of time to save time and frustration. That way, you can bulk shop and prep everything for the week. Include your kids in the planning, so they get some of their favourites.

Decide what meal you eat, including some protein veggie options like beans. If you bake a chicken, the meat can be used for another meal or sandwiches the next day. Meatballs can be made in bulk and frozen until you need them. Leftovers are also a good option for packing in lunches for your kids. Additionally, you can order healthy meal delivery services, which are popular with busy parents.

Sides can be whipped up to do a few meals as well. Pasta salads and rice will last several days, and you can prep fresh veggies, so it’s easy to boil or steam them when you need them.

Idea #4: Snacks

We all love snacks, and when its movie night or your kids have friends over, you want to have something ready to go.

Prepare a few trays for them to graze on, like cut-up veggies, meats and cheeses, crackers and homemade dips. Put out a bowl of mixed nuts for and healthy handful.

Hummus is a great way to get protein into them, and it’s fun to dip crackers, pita wedges or veggies into it. Mild salsa and avocado dip will be a big hit, but make sure to include tortilla chips for scooping.

Idea #5: Get The Kids Involved

Include your kids in meal prep and get them excited about the food they eat. Let them help build the shopping list and cut up veggies and baking goodies. They will be more interested in eating things they helped with. It is also a vital life skill that is not taught enough, and when you show them how to make their food, they will carry that into adulthood.

Feeding your children is more than nourishment. It’s love. Use these five kid-friendly meal prep ideas to make your life easier and enjoy the prepping process. Then you can relax until the next meal!