It took her five hours to prep and cost her just $1.22 per serve!
Victorian mum Cassie McKayhas has shared her fool-proof way of preparing meals for her family on a shoe-string budget.
And, apart from being super-organised, her prepping has helped her to lose 10 kilos in the process!
The mum-of-two prepared meals using The Healthy Mummy eating plan to put together an easy-to-make, low-calorie menu for herself and her family, including her eight-year-old daughter and four-year-old son.
“I love nothing more than heading into the kitchen and creating delicious, healthy meals for the family,” she said.
Her menu of 44 main meals - including recipes like beef chow mein and Moroccan chickpea stew – as well as 51 snacks portions took her just over five hours to prepare.
All the ingredients she used, apart from a few pantry staples, cost a total of $116 from ALDI, resulting in each portion costing her just $1.22.
“A few items I already had at home (eg garlic, ginger, soy sauce, chia seeds, dried chickpeas) so I used them as well,” she said.
“There is still a decent amount of the milk, yoghurt, rice, quinoa, and honey left over, which can be used next time I prep!
“I was really happy with the cost of this prep, as I previously thought I’d have to do a mostly vegetarian prep to keep costs down.”
All up, she was able to prepare main meals of lentil shepherds pie, beef chow mein, fried rice, Moroccan chickpea stew, slow cooked Chinese spiced chicken with vegetables and rice, zucchini and bacon slice, peanut butter chicken curry, pasta salad and risotto.
In addition to these meals, she also made snacks, including carrot and zucchini cake, mocha banana bread, beetroot and walnut dip, pumpkin hummus, mini ham, cheese and quinoa muffins, cheese broccoli bites, and choc chip muffins.
The Healthy Mummy
Cassie decided to turn to a healthier eating plan after gaining 26 kilos during her second pregnancy. She signed up to The Healthy Mummy 28-day weight loss challenge and started prepping her weekly meals.
While she successfully lost 14kg on her own, she credits the meal prepping and healthy eating plan for helping her lose the final 10 kilos.
"I was sick of cooking the same small selection of meals... But through following the meal plans and walking I was able to lose 10 kilos, and it felt easy,' she says.
Apart from offering a healthy alternative to quick, out-of-the-packet meals, Cassie says her prepped food comes in handy when unexpected things come up in her already hectic life.
“My son has a rare genetic condition and is under the care of a number of specialists,” she explains.
“This year has been particularly difficult as just before Christmas he was put into an orthotic brace 24/7 due to a vascular blockage from his brain. The brace keeps his head upright at all times and can not be taken off.
“Having pre-prepared meals helps when I'm too busy or stressed to cook, or I can get someone to bring them to me if my son is unexpectedly admitted to hospital.”
If putting aside five hours a week of meal prep time isn't fo you, Cassie says preparing even part of a meal can make life that little bit easier.
“You don’t have to prep a full meal. I don’t like eating from a container and am a bit funny about foods touching, so often prepare parts of meals to be assembled when they’re about to be eaten,” she suggests
Here are some of her top tips for making meal prepping work for you:
- Shop from home: This way you can check your pantry and fridge as you order
- Select similar recipes: Choosing a weekly menu of meals that have similar ingredients will make prep easier.
- Have Tupperware continers at the ready!: Make sure you have enough clean containers big enough to store everything.
- Freezer friendly: Cook meals that are freezer friendly and that you know your family will love.
Images: The Healthy Mummy
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The Healthy Mummy is a global parenting health site, exclusively for mums. The Healthy Mummy offers completely holistic health programs with The Healthy Mummy App with easy to do meal and exercise plans on the 28 Day Challenge.