Meal Prep System – From Starting to Storing

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This is the fun part! I just like all the pretty colors that the Sistema Plastics containers come in. Of course, I order these on Amazon.com, but they can also be found sometimes at CVS or Sam’s.

I make fresh food on Sunday and Wednesday each week and I make enough for the kids to have 2 meals/day out of it. (See below for a “left-overs guide”) without having to mess with freezing. The real reasons I LOVE these containers:

  1. They are the perfect portion for toddlers & preschoolers (12 months – 4 years)
  2. They can easily be adapted for the younger group (8-12 months)
  3. They snap shut so that when you drop them (thank you, Hudson, for testing this out… every day… ) they don’t spill
  4. They can be microwaved
  5. You can serve the food directly out of this container
  6. They are dishwasher safe
  7. They are freezer safe
  8. They are dishwasher safe (because hand washing? who has time for that…)
  9. They are STACKABLE
  10. You can purchase on Amazon
  11. They’re cheap
  12. They’re pretty.

I find this to be the easiest system for preparing food for the week. And once you get it made (which, depending on the recipe, takes 15 minutes – 2 hours total from starting to storing) it’s just as easy as using Gerber’s all day. You simply grab the meal, heat it up, and serve. In fact, it’s easier.

Most of the recipes that I’ll post on here make about enough for 3.5 days for 2 toddlers. I have 16 containers and have never needed more with my 2 kids. However, if you want to cook a lot and freeze it, you would need more (obviously!).

The Contents

PROTEIN – WHOLE GRAIN – VEGETABLE
(This is assuming you get your fruit and dairy during breakfast or snacks.)
See below for a nutrients guide by age.

PROTEIN

I like to make a red meat dish and then a chicken dish and then an egg, bean or quinoa dish – so they don’t get tired of one protein! I rarely make pork, fish or turkey dishes, but don’t rule that out!

WHOLE GRAIN

We usually have pasta for a whole grain. Sometimes we do bread or wheat tortillas; sometimes we do no whole grain! If we don’t have a whole grain, though, we make sure to eat one for breakfast.

VEGETABLE

I find that my kids like green beans, carrots, and peas the best. They are also the easiest for little hands to pick up! These are great foods for early eaters, too. I try to fill up one whole side of the container with a vegetable. And yes, potatoes are vegetables and are healthy for kids. Don’t over-do it, but YES – do it. Sweet potatoes, too.

Here’s an example. This dish is what I call “chicken biscuits” with carrots as the side. Recipe coming soon! This one is my favorite… I actually make enough for me & Tyler to have 2 meals of this one!

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What I Do:

SUNDAY MORNING: Make food. Fill 14 containers (2 per kid, per day, Sunday lunch through Wednesday lunch). Refrigerate them all.

WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON: Make food. Fill 14 containers (2 per kid, per day. Wednesday dinner through Saturday dinner). Refrigerate them all.

Alternative Method?

Pick your least-busy day. Put the kids for a nap. Pour some wine. Make 2+ recipes of food. Fill 14 containers per kid. Freeze half. DONE! (Heck, you could fill 60 containers per kid and freeze most of it, and only have to meal-prep once/month!)

Left-Overs Guide:

According to the Mayo Clinic, cooked leftovers can be stored for 3-4 days (maximum 4 days!) and frozen for…ever (i.e. 2-6 months, depending on temperature).

Nutrients Guide by Age:

I paid more attention to the developmental milestone… when the kids were crawling, whether that had been 6 months or 12 months, I followed the guide for “crawlers”.

4-6 months (or sitting with support):

  • 24 ounces breastmilk
  • 1 ounce grains (rice cereal)
  • 1/4 cup veggies
  • 1/4 cup fruits

6-8 months (sitting alone):

  • 24 ounces breastmilk
  • 1/2 cup grains
  • 1/4 cup veggies
  • 1/4 cup fruits
  • 1/2 ounce (1 T) meat

8-12 months (crawling):

  • 24 ounces breastmilk (If you do formula, your baby may need 6-8 ounces more. Breastmilk changes itself to be what the baby needs, so it becomes more fatty at this point so you don’t ever have to increase the amount… the breastmilk does the work.)
  • 1 ounce grains (1/8 cup pasta, 1 ounce rice cereal…)
  • 1/2 cup veggies
  • 1/2 cup fruits
  • 1 ounce (2 T) meat

12+ months (toddler):

  • 16 ounces dairy (whole milk, soy milk, yogurt, etc.)
  • 2 ounces grains (= 1/2 slice of bread, 1/4 cup pasta, a pancake…)
  • 3/4 veggies
  • 1 cup fruit
  • 1.5 ounce meat (3 T) or 1 egg

2 Years (preschooler):

  • 16 ounces dairy
  • 3 ounces grain (1 slice bread, 1/2 cup pasta, cereal, oatmeal, 2 pancakes…)
  • 1 cup veggies
  • 1 cup fruit (don’t let this ALL be from juice… limit the juice)
  • 2 ounces protein

TO BUY:

http://www.amazon.com/Sistema-1513-Split-Container-3-Pack/dp/B00NSJ88V8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461547133&sr=8-1&keywords=sistema+1513

Or, Sistema Platica website.

(I buy 90% of everything on Amazon… Mom’s get a discount on the PRIME service, FYI!)

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