I have always loved to meal prep.
I thought my time to meal prep would fall to the wayside once I had kids. Since having my son, I’ve learned that time-management is the key to holding onto my sanity. Whether you work full-time, part-time or stay home, taking care of our little ones really sucks up our time!
Most of the time, food seems to be a big culprit of my stress and lack of time. The typical mom mentality of trying to “do it all” has me scrambling every week to come up with a healthy variety of food to send with my 14 month-old to his grandma’s each week, as if coming up with my own lunch wasn’t hard enough.
Because of this, my love for meal prep has really grown deep over the past 14 months. The need for easy meal prep has grown deep, too.
So, I thought maybe it would be helpful and even a little fun to start a series about (mostly) healthy, easy meal prep ideas for kids. I’ve been collecting meal prep recipes that are easy and freezer-friendly for months, so why not share? Most recipes are from other blogs, but a few are my own. If you don’t have kids, or know that your littles are in a phase where only PB&J will be eaten, stay with me. I only save recipes that are delicious because chances are, I will be eating them too.
One suggestion at this point: Go make some room in your freezer. You will thank me later. Most of the recipes I will share are freezer-friendly. Why? Well for one, I learned pretty quickly that I needed to have some healthy, easy options on hand to save my sanity. On hand meaning: can be microwaved in 1 minute or less. Because kids who are hungry are hungry NOW.
Cue Baked Chicken Meatballs.
For some reason, I think some people are intimidated by meatballs. If that’s you, then shake it off and let me tell you this: these chicken meatballs are easy from every angle. They’re easy to prep, easy to store, and take less than one minute to reheat. Yes, less than one minute! Very important when you have a hangry toddler on your heels at lunch time.
The other thing I love about these meatballs is that they’re versatile.
I try really hard to give my son a lot of variety with his food. “Try” being the keyword here. Recipes like these meatballs make it easier! You can easily sneak some veggies in these meatballs (I usually add spinach and carrots), or try different spices, or use a different ground meat altogether (turkey is great). You can serve them plain, with pasta, or maybe on a sub. When we’re in a pinch for dinner, I’ll make some spaghetti and warm a few meatballs up for the whole fam.
If you’re still not convinced, think about the money you will save by keeping already-prepped foods like these meatballs in your freezer. The pre-made stuff adds up and they’re usually full of salt and stuff you can’t pronounce. These meatballs are quick and easy and can be made in bulk.
Oh, and they taste like chicken nuggets. Try not to eat them all before your kid have a chance.
Baked Chicken Meatballs
- 1 pound ground chicken or turkey
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (optional – makes meatballs more moist and yummy)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- black pepper to taste
- additional seasonings optional!
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and a little cooking spray.
- Mix: Mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
- Roll: Roll the mixture into about 30 small balls. Place on baking sheet.
- Bake: Bake for 25-30 minutes.
To Freeze: Let the meatballs cool, and then place the cookie sheet in your freezer for about 15 minutes. Then, put the meatballs in a freezer-safe bag or container.
To reheat: Microwave for around 45-seconds, or until heated through.
Enjoy, and stay tuned for more recipes! Be sure to let us know in the comments all of the ways you found to use this recipe. Or, tell us know what foods you like to keep stocked for your kids!
If you’re craving something sweet (and easy), check out my recipe for No-Bake Cookies.
Looking for other ways to manage time as a busy mom? Check out our post on How to Simplify Your Schedule!
If you want to read more from me, or work with me on a 1:1 basis, check out my website and instagram. My goal is to help people improve their relationship with food and to live their healthiest lives. I’d love to help you, too!