As a personal chef, I spend a lot of time preparing and serving healthy and delicious gourmet food to my clients. Since time is money, I have become extremely adept at preparing food in the most efficient manner possible while maintaining the high quality that my clients have come to love and expect.
Last week, I found myself at home preparing my family’s meals (yes I book myself on my chef calendar at my own family’s house!) and it struck me that the way in which I get ready for the week ahead is something that moms, just like me, could truly benefit from. If you struggle with serving healthy meals all week and you get frustrated, burnt out or “over” food prep, have I got some tips for you!
1. Plan Out Your Meals: I know that a lot of people preach meal planning but not enough people actually implement it in their homes! Meal planning can be incredibly beneficial — not only is it more cost-effective, it actually will help you feel less stressed as it takes one decision of the day off your plate.
The key to making this last is to involve your family in the planning. Ask them what their favorite meals are and incorporate as many of them as you can. Look also for ways that you can use the same ingredients in a few recipes. For example, pasta noodles could be used in both hot and cold pasta recipes so buy those in bulk and make it at once.
Decision fatigue is real and planning your meals out will make you feel 100x better.
2. Shop, Prep and Store:The second tip that I have for busy moms is to plan to shop at a time when you can also go home and immediately prep and store your food.
Shopping when you’re in a time crunch will typically look like this: come home, unload the groceries from the car, fire them into the fridge and cupboards and prep it as you need it. When we find ourselves having to prep in the moment, we will often go for the quick meals – frozen pizzas, French fries, etc. – instead of the healthy options. Shop, prep, store and enjoy!
3. The Crock Pot is Your Friend: One of the things that I do is I look for “set and forget” options that allow me to focus on other things while I cook. While I don’t often use the crock pot for my personal chef clients, it is a staple in my home.
A crock pot is something you can turn on in the morning and enjoy when you get home from work. From lasagna to soups to your favorite meat dish, you can cook numerous things in the crock pot and many are wholesome and healthy options for your family.
Your Turn! What are your favorite food and meal prep tips? How have you helped save your family time and money in this area? Leave your comments below.
QUICK BITES: OAT COCONUT PANCAKES
Here’s a great make ahead item that can last you all week. My almost 2 year old is obsessed with waffles, I also incorporate homemade alternatives like these pancakes because they are healthy and so easy to make. These are a hit every time and so versatile. You can add raisins, bananas or cacao chips to make it more fun!
- 2 cups Oat flour
- ½ cup flax meal (ground flax seed into flour)
- ½ cup shredded coconut
- ¾ cup Almond milk
- 3 tbsp Agave OR ¼ cup watermelon juice or pureed apple and pear to make a thicker ‘juice’
- Coconut oil
- 3 eggs
- Cinnamon, dash and a little Vanilla extract
Place a large cast iron or sauté pan on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon coconut oil.
In a bowl mix all ingredients to form ‘pancake type’ batter fix consistence with more or less almond milk. Place 1-2 tablespoons of batter in pan, cook until bottom side is crisp and brown then turn.
I make 2-3 batches at a time and freeze them. In the morning I take one out and put in toaster for my baby. She loves them!
Meet our CEO and founder Chef Stephanie Heller a creative entrepreneur from Queens, New York. Stephanie started RIPE Personal Chef Services in 2008 after graduating Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale Arizona.
RIPE Personal Chef Services was born to serve the needs of discerning clients craving healthy comfort food on a daily basis. Helping people directly by cooking for them in a positive environment and providing the highest level of service is our core mission.
Stephanie is passionate about helping personal chefs start and grow their business and currently does business coaching for personal chefs. Stephanie lives in Scottsdale with her funny entrepreneurial Israeli husband and baby girl.