I’m going to be bluntly honest – while I enjoy cooking, it can feel like a daunting task to prepare home cooked meals everyday. I recently started to incorporate meal prepping in my life, even planning my snacks ahead of time. A friend of mine asked if we could help his elderly mother eat home cooked meals by meal prepping for her monthly. His work schedule doesn’t allow him to visit as much as he could so meal prepping was the only option. It seemed like an impossible task, but we managed it anyway. Here’s how we did it.
Freezing What We Can
Because my friend would only be able to visit his mother for thirty minutes at times, he needed meals to be quick. So, instead of relying on fast dishes (like a stir fry), we cooked large batches of beans, lasagna, bolognese, soup, and much more. Everything was portioned out and frozen. We bought a loud freezer alarm so she would know if the temperature drops in her deep freezer. This was our insurance policy so none of the hard work would go to waste. Obviously, everything was labelled accordingly so he could pull out what he wants without the guesswork. She had hot meals for a month, frozen in tupperware containers in her freezer. Even if he doesn’t visit and she’s hungry – popping them in the microwave was all she needed to do.
Fresh Produce Needs To Be Refreshed Biweekly At Most
Salads and fresh fruit don’t last as long as frozen foods. My friend would buy produce every ten days or so, and we’d portion out everything and store it properly. We pre-chopped salads and kept them in sealed containers, with homemade salad dressings in bottles so she’d have a variety to choose from. Because I worried the dressingss would spoil, I made sure the bottles were on the smaller size and we canned them to keep them from spoiling.
Drinks and Desserts
This wasn’t a necessity, but we decided she might have a craving sometime. She could handle the coffee machine and make a cup of tea for herself, but we added a few frozen fruits in baggies so she can make a smoothie if she felt like it. We also froze portions of lemon juice for quick lemonade. For desserts, we kept ice cream in the freezer, and frozen cookie dough as well. I found a recipe for frozen waffles she could reheat in the toaster, but she said it was too much.
As the month went by, my friend’s mom expressed her gratitude for the meal preps and said he hadn’t eaten this well ever since her arthritis made it difficult to handle cooking everyday. It seems meal prepping for an entire month is not that different from weekly meal prep. We continued the tradition of preparing her meals, and another friend decided to make a business out of it. She provides the same service for a monthly subscription – but I didn’t think I’d handle that much cooking on a daily basis.