It was 5:45 pm and I made a mad dash to my car.
I called my husband and asked him to start dinner because I knew the kids would be hungry when we arrived home. He couldn’t because he was still at the office and wouldn’t be able to leave for at least another hour. As I made the 45-minute commute to my children’s school, I tried to think of quick dinner options. At the time, this idea of food prep was a foreign concept for me. My three and seven year old jumped in the car and immediately said, “I want dinner!”, “I’m hungry!”, “I need a snack!” I’m thinking a bag of chips at home will hold them over until I can get something cooked for dinner, but then my stomach began to growl. I was quickly reminded that I’ve had nothing to eat since lunchtime and it’s almost 7pm. So naturally, we go to the closest fast food restaurant. I felt guilty as I pulled up to the drive-thru window, but I told myself I would prepare a nutritious meal for my family the next day to make up for it. I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw an acquaintance pull up to the speaker behind me and bark out her order, kids in tow. I thought, “Well, at least I’m not the only one”.
This vicious fast food cycle continued for the next few months, especially on the days of Boy Scouts, tutoring and swimming lessons. When my kids began to expect french fries with every meal and my waistline began to expand, I knew this had become a serious problem so I made a commitment to change. I just didn’t know how to incorporate a healthy lifestyle into an already super busy life. A friend suggested I food prep every Sunday for the entire week. I had my doubts because I am not a big fan of leftovers, but I still tried it because I was open to anything that might help my family get healthy.
So I began. I prepped fruit for quick snack solutions. I would freeze grapes, strawberries and blueberries in small Zip Lock bags. When the kids wanted a snack, they pulled their frozen treats out of the freezer. Having fun, healthy food options ready at home or on the go have made a huge difference for my family. I even began to plan my dinners in advance. I prepared a food list, made a trip to the grocery store and put together five days of dinners and individually packaged them. They were placed in Tupperware® that stacks for easy storage in the fridge. The meals consisted of one protein, two vegetables and one starch like brown rice or sweet potatoes. Not only did meal preparation time decrease, we ate healthier meals and saved money. I shed a few pounds and Happy Meals® became a thing of the past. Most importantly, by prepping healthy meals in advance, I’m giving my children a chance at living a healthy lifestyle. Food prep allows me to demonstrate a good example of wellness that they can look back on as they grow up and start to make their own food choices.
After graduating from Prairie View A&M University, Montoya Mays was in corporate training and management for over fifteen years. She currently is a business owner, higher education instructor, wife and mother. Montoya a part of our Community Influencers Series which was created to shine a light on interesting men and women in the community that support Top10MD’s mission of sharing information and resources on wellness and healthy living. To receive daily updates on Montoya’s adventures follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and www.farmersagent.com/tmays.