Healthy Meal Prep Ideas for the Busy Family

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Eating healthy is hard enough in our mile-a-minute world. Add a busy, hungry family to the equation, and it can be even more difficult to create nutritious, delicious meals!

Here’s the good news: you don’t need to spend hours in the kitchen and take multiple grocery trips each week to serve your family healthy food. 

JOW can help optimize your shopping lists based on the number of people in your household and arrange for you to get your groceries however is easiest for you, and we specialize in under 30 minute recipes. No more scrambling at the last minute to make something or order from local restaurants. You’re in control of your eating habits!

Big batch meal prep can make dinnertime even easier, giving you more time with the people you love most. With the following recipes, you can make large batches of flavorful and healthy food for the entire family, days ahead of time. 

Read on to discover our healthy meal prep ideas and find out for yourself which ones your family loves the most.

Convenient Form Factors

The joys of finger food cannot be outmatched, especially for kids. Here are some healthy hand-held recipes you can prep ahead of time and serve for several days.

Wonderful Wraps

With just a few ingredients and a simple assembly-line preparation style, wraps are one of the best foods to make in advance and serve throughout the week.

To make your wonderful wraps, take a stack of whole-wheat wraps, lay out your ingredients on the counter, add the ingredients one by one, and wrap them all to perfection! They store easily in reusable containers, and your family can grab and snack on these wraps at any time of day.

To make healthy wraps, stick with whole-food ingredients that add protein, nutrition, and plenty of fresh flavor. A turkey or tuna wrap is a classic with avocado, shallot, lemon, and crisp greens.

You can also make this dish more gourmet using sheet pan chicken breast, salmon, or roasted veggie wraps. These flavors are fantastic after a day or two in the fridge and can convert to sandwiches wonderfully.

Tasty Pizza Pies

There’s nothing quite like pizza fresh out of the oven, but cold pizza has its own charms. It’s convenient to pack a few slices of pizza in tin foil for a lunch box alongside fresh fruit or a side salad. The fragrant flavors of garlic and onion pair perfectly with the gooey cheese and any veggies that you include. 

Plus, our beautiful and healthy pizza recipes are quite the departure from the heavy, greasy chain-restaurant pizza you might be familiar with in the States – did we mention they are easy to make as well? 

JOW tests all of our recipes to ensure that we’re providing you with the most delicious combinations possible. Try one of the simple pizza recipes on our site, ranging from Mushroom & Ricotta Pizza to Pesto Pizza with Zucchini and Pizza Margherita. It might take a couple of tries to get an ideal bake, but practice makes perfect.

Salads and Pastas

If you prefer to dine with a fork and knife, salads and pastas will be your ideal pick for healthy meal prep recipes all week long. They’re fresh, delicious, and full of nutrition if you’re selective with your ingredients.

We love creative salads like Lyonnaise, Mediterranean salad, and this Rustic Salad. These salads include healthy portions of protein and plenty of fresh greens, not to mention lovely vinaigrettes that don’t overpower.

Salads typically involve minimal or no cooking, making them an easy yet elegant option. Enjoy the creative process and piece together your own culinary favorite meal prep bowls.

For pastas, there are endless options for shapes, ingredients, flavors, and ingredients. Boil a few boxes of fusilli or penne, let them cool, and allow your creativity to flow with a pasta salad recipe, like JOW’s Bow Tie Pasta Salad.

What to Avoid

When making pastas and salads in the meal-prep format, there are a few ingredients you’ll want to keep out of the kitchen.

Heavy cream, crème fraiche, and other dairy products will not maintain their freshness for long, which is why we’ve suggested dairy-free recipes in this category.

If you do choose a cream-based pasta sauce like a Vodka or Alfredo, be sure to consume your meal prepped dish within 48 hours.

Some pastas can be pungent when reheated, so be aware of this in public spaces or the workplace. You may want to stay away from wild spices and seafood when preparing these dishes.

Bring on the Protein

Chicken, beef, and pork are the three most popular meats for meal prep because they’re so versatile. These meats can be grilled, baked, or roasted using a variety of marinades and seasonings. Add carrots, broccoli, or salads on the side, and you’ve created one of JOW’s simple under 30-minute meals.

Be aware that some protein entrees aren’t ideal for meal prep. We recommend a sweet and simple dish like this Imperial Chicken to give you a good framework. 

You can also prepare cauliflower rice, black beans, protein, and veggies like bell peppers or sweet potatoes for tacos and burrito bowls. Top with cheese, tomatoes, and shredded lettuce for added crunch and taste. 

Remember that you’ll be cooking meat in bulk when prepping meals for many people at once. If you can make things easier by roasting or grilling everything at once, do so. 

Protein prep will test your multitasking skills, especially with regard to timing and temperature. Start small and slowly progress to larger batches to avoid mishaps.

Fish – Yes or No?

Few natural foods can outperform fish in terms of nutrition, but fish is not an ideal option for meal prep due to its low resilience in the fridge – and smell.

With that said, you can safely enjoy fish via meal-prep methods for about three days, especially if you apply the following tips:

Healthy, Happy Family Food

Meal prep is not just for the fitness enthusiasts and busy professionals of the world. You and your family can enjoy a variety of recipes that are easy to make and stay delicious far beyond the 24-hour mark, tested and crafted with love by the team at JOW.

Try our recommendations from this article, and don’t hesitate to put your own personal twist on them! Enjoy the advantages of meal prepping, and spend more time with the people you love most.