COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - As the summer winds down and schedules fill up, it can be easy to forget that come back-to-school time, having a lunch ready for the family is no easy feat.
To help you get back into the swing of things before it’s too late, we chatted with head chef of Primal Gourmet in West Columbia, Ashley Bundrick, on how to make meal prep fun and affordable.
1. Don’t overthink it
With so many tools at our disposal, meal prep shouldn’t be a chore. Use handy apps like Meal Hero and E-meals to do the shopping, recipe planning and portion sizing for you. Both apps allow your shopping services like InstaCart or Amazon Fresh to pick up and deliver the recipe items right to your door for no cost.
2. Re-brand your veggies
No one wants to have their kids come home with a full lunch box because they weren’t excited about their food! Look at veggies as a chance to experiment. Try roasting a cauliflower with carrots and some BBQ sauce to call it “buffalo-style," saute some peppers and onions for “stoplight veggies,” or add a fun dip like hummus with skewered tomatoes. Change the names, change their attitudes!
3. Look for re-usable proteins
Don’t let leftovers become your enemy when meal prepping. Just because you have chicken one way, doesn’t mean you have to prep it the same way for the week. Use different marinades, sauces and spices to change up your proteins and use one kind, two or three ways so you never get bored. Budrick also recommended squashes as an easy food to use multiple ways - try it roasted on a salad or pureed for a soup.
4. Get everyone involved
The more you can get everyone involved in their lunches and snacks, the less work it will be in the long run. Make planning and prepping fun and rewarding for the kids and get their cooking creativity ignited.