What you need to meal prep for your kids

Grocery

When you prep and freeze kid-size portions of meals, it’s much easier for babysitters and caregivers to manage meal and snack times for kids.

Meal prep for kids

Meal prepping is a time- and money-saver for busy professionals, fitness enthusiasts, and budget-conscious shoppers. It’s not just for adults, either. Many households meal prep for kids to streamline mealtime and optimize household-wide food costs. 

In addition to basic supplies, such as food containers and refrigerator organizers, it’s smart to invest in other convenient meal prep products. Pressure cookers whip up large batches of food in a fraction of the time, while food processors take the hard work out of slicing and dicing. 

What to know about meal prepping

What is meal prepping?

individual food storage containers

Meal prepping is the concept of cooking entire meals in advance to save time and money. It involves cooking large batches of food and portioning them out in individual food storage containers. The food is typically refrigerated and eaten within 3-5 days. 

Another method of meal prepping involves freezing some of these batches into single servings. 

Because meals are fully cooked and portioned out, all you need to do is defrost and warm them up. Some of the most popular frozen meal-prepped meals include soups, stews, curries and breakfast sandwiches.

Can meal prep save you money?

One of the leading reasons people embrace meal-prepping is to save money. Here’s how it optimizes food costs:

  • Shopping in bulk is more cost-effective than buying smaller quantities of food. It’s often worthwhile for meal preppers to invest in memberships at warehouse clubs, too.
  • You may be less likely to impulse-spend on takeout or delivery by having plenty of meals in the fridge and freezer. 
  • Meal prepping is an affordable approach to creating well-rounded school lunches and snacks. It’s often less expensive than buying lunch at school or snacks from vending machines.
  • Meal prepping helps cut down on food waste, which means you get more bang for your buck at each meal.

How to meal prep for kids

Research grocery circulars 

To get the most for your money with meal prepping, be prepared to spend time researching grocery circulars and clipping coupons. By making yourself aware of sales and price fluctuations, you’ll be able to jump on better deals when they pop up. This also makes buying in bulk even more affordable. 

Block time for shopping and cooking

It’s essential to allocate time for grocery shopping and cooking. If you fall short in either of these areas, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to meal prep successfully. For that reason, veteran meal preppers recommend blocking time once a week or bi-weekly to take care of both tasks.

Enlist the help of family members

Many households enlist the help of kids to aid in meal prepping. From carrying groceries indoors to chopping up vegetables, every small effort helps save time. Additionally, kids with culinary interests may take it upon themselves to handle some of the cooking responsibilities for their meals. 

Rearrange the fridge

Meal prepping has a significant impact on the layout of your refrigerator. Food containers and prepped snack packs have considerable footprints, which means it’s common to rearrange the fridge once you start meal prepping. If kids are allowed to get food and snacks independently, you may need to place containers in more accessible areas. 

Essential meal prep products

Meal prep containers

EZ Prepa Meal Prep Containers

If you’re creating kids’ meals with three or more types of food, EZ Prepa Meal Prep Containers are ideal with their three-compartment design. They’re often used for creating Lunchables-inspired snack kits for kids. 

New Century Single Compartment Food Containers

New Century Single Compartment Food Containers, on the other hand, have a single 32-ounce compartment. They’re suitable for storing sandwiches, pasta dishes and salads. 

Bin organizers

Simple Houseware Organizers

Keep the fridge or freezer organized with this six-piece set of Simple Houseware Organizers. Made with clear, crack-resistant plastic, they keep food viewable and accessible to kids. 

Really Good Stuff Storage Baskets

Some meal prepping involves creating shelf-stable snacks, like trail mix or cracker bags. Store them in the pantry or kitchen cabinets with Really Good Stuff Storage Baskets, a set of six colorful baskets that hold dozens of snack packs and other non-perishable items. 

Condiment cups

Sistema To Go Collection Salad Dressing Containers

Whether you need to store dressing or dip, condiment cups are the way to go. Sistema To Go Collection Salad Dressing Containers come in a set of four BPA-free tubs with kid-friendly twist-off lids.

Snack bags

Ziplock Snack Bags

It’s easy to portion out nuts, crackers and other small snacks in Ziplock Snack Bags. The bags, which are BPA-free, are appreciated for their reliable, leak-free seal.

Double Couple Reusable Storage Bags

Double Couple Reusable Storage Bags are an eco-friendly alternative to disposable snack bags. This 10-piece set includes bags in three sizes, plus they’re all freezer-safe. 

Best products you can buy to meal prep for kids

Instant Pot

Instant Pot Duo

Optimize cooking time with Instant Pot Duo, equipped with seven functions from rice cooking to yogurt making. The six-quart model cooks meals for up to eight people. 

Juice tumblers

US Acrylic Kids Juice Tumblers

Save space in the fridge by storing cheese snacks, homemade freezer pops or meat sticks in US Acrylic Kids Juice Tumblers. The set of 16 comes in eight bright colors, and you can use them for drinking or arts and crafts. 

Magnetic menu board

Quick Canary Neon Chalk Board

A magnetic menu board, such as Quick Canary Neon Chalk Board, keeps kids in the loop about what’s for dinner. It offers seven-day meal planning and has space for a grocery list and notes.

Vacuum sealer

FoodSaver PowerVac Vacuum Sealer

Vacuum sealers are another way to freeze and preserve individual portions of food. FoodSaver PowerVac Vacuum Sealer wraps both dry and wet food when using compatible bags. As a bonus, you can store the sealer vertically.

Food labels

residue-free stickers

Food labels, such as these residue-free stickers, help designate important information on containers. The roll comes with 500 stickers that are both refrigerator- and freezer-safe. 

Food processor

Hamilton Beach Stack & Snap Food Processor

A food processor chops, dices and minces food within seconds. Hamilton Beach Stack & Snap Food Processor has a 12-cup capacity and wide-mouth food chute. The bowl is designed for easy, mess-free emptying.

Digital scale

GreaterGoods Digital Kitchen Scale

A digital scale comes in handy when it comes to adjusting portion sizes for kids and adults. The GreaterGoods Digital Kitchen Scale is suitable for everyday use and has a convenient, wipe-to-clean surface.

 

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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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