Meal prep tips for busy families

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For many families, preparing dinner is a major part of their evening.

The US Department of Agriculture says the average American spends 37 minutes preparing their meal. Lizzie Betts is a busy mother of four.

When she isn't playing with her kids, she's thinking about what to prepare for dinner.

"It stresses me out just thinking about that time of the day because it's when all the crazies come out," she said. "They're up from naps, it's the witching hour, you're trying to get stuff done, a healthy meal on the table and have it all be hot. You just don't think it's possible."

So, they turned to Chef Shayna to get some help. The USDA survey reports women spend more time cooking than men.

"Something I think you can do to cut down on that time is prep in advance," Shayna Telesmanic Young Chefs Academy said. "So, plan your weeks worth of meals, three or four days worth of meals so you can get all your groceries ahead of time. Chop all of your vegetables ahead of time because that takes a ton of time."

Chef Shayna and Lizzie worked on a homemade chicken soup together. Shayna says veggies can last 4 to 5 days in an airtight container, and another tip is that you can cook your proteins ahead of time.

"So, I'll cook my chicken breast on Sunday and have it cooked in the fridge and pull it out and reheat it for whatever dish I'm making it with," Telesmanic said.

Or you can buy a precooked rotisserie chicken. Shayna also organizes her items in the fridge so she can see what she has. One other tip is to look for ways to reduce your clean up time.

"I try to minimize dish usage, so I'll try to marinate my chicken in a Ziploc bag and cook it right it right into the pot," Telesmanic said. "I also like to use a slow cooker so you can cook everything together in the slow cooker, prepare a side dish or a salad to serve nicely with it and you don't have as much cleanup."

And for mom Lizzie, putting together a meal on time is something she can feel good about.

"It just feels so awesome especially when it's healthy and fresh local stuff and something my kids will eat," she exclaimed.

It allows her to enjoy dinner time and soak up precious moments with her little ones.
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