Another busy day is drawing to a close – the kids are ratty, you’re burnt out and the last thing you feel like doing is getting creative in the kitchen.

‘Present you’ curses ‘past you’ for leaving dinner until the last minute – again.

“If only I’d spent time getting ahead on a week’s worth of dinners, back when I actually had it to spare,” you think.

We’ll be honest – ‘meal prep’ feels like something influencers who have their lives together get to do. A Pinterest tactic that could never actually work in our routine.

But what if it could? With these tips, you’ll be meal prepping like a pro and beating the 5pm panic in no time!

  1. Do your research: track down four easy dinners your family will love, and make sure you get their input. Find one meal you can throw together easily (like homemade pizzas or a salad), two that call for similar ingredients and one you can freeze for later. Also, go for as many ‘one pot’ meals as you can to save on the clean-up.
  2. Make a planner: write down each meal – how long it will take to cook, what it calls for and how many servings it makes – and when you plan on eating it. Remember that some dishes will go bad faster than others, so serve them earlier in the week. You can find great meal prep planners on Pinterest, or you can make your own iPad templates or printables to suit your needs.
  3. Go shopping: look for pre-prepped proteins, veggies and sauces to save you time and energy, and don’t forget to bring your planner along with you. If you have the time, find out if your local grocery store has a website displaying their produce – you’ll be able to work your recipes around what’s on offer (and on sale!).
  4. Get prepping: to avoid burnout, shop and prep on different days. Sundays are the most popular meal prep days, for obvious reasons, but choose whichever day works for your schedule. Cook whatever you can, and chop up the rest so that it’s ready to go during the week. Invest in airtight containers to keep your food fresher for longer.
  5. Serve and enjoy: make sure your children are aware that whatever is served is what they’re eating – there’s no room for fussiness (hence why you should involve them in the process from the start!). Don’t throw away any leftovers, as these will make great school and work lunches for the following day(s).

Stuck for recipe inspiration? Woolworths has a tonne of awesome, easy recipes to try!



haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.