One of the easiest ways to help your family eat their recommended servings of produce each day is to meal prep vegetables when you bring them home from the market. Plus, meal prepping vegetables can be one of the easiest ways to ensure that your family actually eats the produce before it turns to refrigerator goo. Don’t worry though—it can be quick and easy!
How to Meal Prep Vegetables
I know that many people go full-on with their meal prep and cook entire meals for the week. But I’ve found that as a busy mom, a quicker method that still saves me time come busy weeknights. And, for me, that’s simply to prep my produce. (Or some of it anyway!) It’s much less time consuming than cooking full meals ahead!
Easy Food Waste Solution: Prep Veggies Ahead
Cleaning and chopping vegetables can take a lot of time and produce can so easily go uneaten—and to waste—in our fridges each week. But by getting it ready to dump into a pan or pot, you can make it MUCH easier to actually use it up. Less food waste, more veggies for your family, AND less of your hard earned dollars wasted too!
How to Meal Prep Produce
Here’s a look at the process I use to prep my produce most weeks.
- Sort produce by what can be prepped ahead and what can’t.
- Wash and thoroughly dry produce. Microfiber kitchen towels work best for this.
- Peel and chop it so it’s ready to cook.
- Place into airtight storage containers in amounts that work for a family meal for your family.
- Plan to use softer and/or moister veggies like bell peppers and mushrooms first.
- Store firm veggies up to 5 days in the fridge.
TIP: Vegetables that brown quickly including potatoes and sweet potatoes should not be meal prepped.)
How can I ensure that my veggies don’t go bad?
The best tip I can share is to make sure that they are totally dry. You can also line your containers with thin kitchen towels, cloth napkins, or paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Lining your containers is advised for vegetables like bell peppers, which can give off moisture.
What are the best containers to store meal prepped vegetables in?
I like to use either quart size Mason jars or quart size BPA-free storage containers. Both hold about 4 cups of chopped veggies, which is a nice amount for a family of 4-5.
How long does meal prepping take?
When I prep my produce ahead, it usually takes me about 30-45 minutes to do 4-5 meals worth. With just a little extra time, it creates one less thing for me to do when the kids are home after school and daycare and are hungry, tired, and wanting my attention. And, it’s one less impediment to helping me serve up plenty of produce! Plus, it just makes meals and snacks much easier.
TIP: Even prepping veggies for just one meal (say, for Monday) can help you feel like you’re ready to take on the week ahead.
How can I cook my meal prepped vegetables?
Here are my favorite kid-friendly vegetable recipes, which should give you lots of ideas to serve up those veggies. And if there’s anything left at the end of the week, you can always roast them, which is a wonderful way to use up a lot of veggies.
Do you meal prep your produce? I’d love to hear your tips too so please comment below to share!