This mum meal preps to save time and money with these simple hacks

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Shelley originally lost 14kg with the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenges and Healthy Mummy Smoothies but after a serious injury and re-lapse, put the weight back on.

She says, “I am pleased to say that after week 1 of the Challenge I am down 2.2kg and feeling fabulous.”

Making some time each week for meal prepping, even if it’s a few minutes here and there, Shelley says will end up saving you so much time during the week.

Collage of snacks and meals made by Shelley
Pictured above: Peanut Butter Fudge bars, Steamed veggies, Mini banana bread porridge, Spinach and ricotta rolls, No bake raspberry cookies, Home made granola, Vegetable sticks, Boiled eggs, Spinach ready for the freezer to be used in smoothies.

If you haven’t meal prepped before, try not to over think it. Give it a go. Start small. Prep a few veggies and boil a few eggs.

Shelley says having simple snacks like this on hand helps you resist the urge to grab something sweet and keeps you on track. Making small changes can make a massive difference to helping your reach your goals.

Small changes can be simply throwing an egg on to boil while doing the dishes or cutting up some extra vegetables while waiting for the oven to heat up

“I often wait until the kids are in bed and whip up some bliss balls, a slice or muffins. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just something that will save you time during the week,” she says.

Planning ahead however, does allow you to save money. For instance, by choosing recipes that use the same ingredients means you’re shopping and spending becomes less.

Shelley’s top 10 tips for meal prepping on a budget

1. Plan ahead

Take some time to sit down and go over the weekly meal plans and start planning your week out from there.

2. Customise

You can chop and change all meals and snacks within the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge/s. Work out what you and your family like to eat and go with that. This way you won’t be wasting food and money along the way. Look for recipes that use the same ingredients as it’s a great way to save money too.

3. Check your stash

Look through your fridge, freezer and pantry and see what you have on hand. There may be a recipe that you have all or some of the ingredients for already. This is a great way to save money and time while you’re are the supermarket.

4. Bargains

Have a quick look through your weekly supermarket catalogues. I love checking out the 50% off sections. Check to see if your local green grocer has a discounted section as a lot do and you can pick up some great bargains!

5. Make extra

When making your favourite meals or snacks, double the recipe. You can then have them the next day or pop them in the freezer to save you time down the track.

6. Make friends with leftovers

Don’t be shy to use up any leftover veggies for lunch the next day. Cut them up and throw a couple of eggs in with them and make “bubble and squeak”.

7. Keep it simple 

You don’t need to spend a fortune on expensive ingredients to make simple snacks. Fruit, celery and carrot sticks with hummus (homemade is cheaper and more delicious than store bought. You can find such recipes on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge), boiled eggs, plain popcorn, rice crackers with veggie dips or easy bliss balls are perfect choices.

8. Pre-cooked protein

BBQ chickens can be such a time and money saver. You can use the chicken for meals such as curry chicken, in rice paper rolls, on sandwiches and wraps, on pizza, in salads or on its own as a protein snack (just remember to avoid the skin as this is where a lot of the fat is).

9. Your friend the freezer

Even if you have a fussy husband like me who doesn’t like meals from the freezer stash, you can still utilise it for things such as muffins, slices, bliss balls, healthy ice blocks and herbs.

10. Don’t throw away over ripe fruit

We never waste fruit in our house. If our fruit is starting to turn bad, I chop it up and place it in zip lock bags and pop it in the freezer and then later use it for smoothies or for healthy “ice-cream”.

Shelley's top 10 meals and snacks

Shelley’s top 10 favourite Healthy Mummy meals and snacks

1. Lasagne Soup

It’s like lasagne but not…with ricotta, lemon and thyme as some of this dishs’ main ingredients you know it’s going to be good! Cooked in the slow cooker for 8 hours this is the perfect meal to start in the morning and leave to cook itself all day. Get on with your amazing day and be rewarded for all your ‘hard work’ with a nourishing 234 calorie bowl of goodness at the end of the day.

Get the recipe here.

2. Devilled Sausages

20 minutes and budget-friendly this recipe is most probably going straight to the top of your meal plan! This recipe may make you nostalgic of childhood dinners sitting around the table and grandma and grandpa’s not wanting to eat your curried sausages. These devilled sausages are too tasty to push away and your kids are sure to agree.

This meal 408 calories.

Get the recipe here.

3. Spanish Rice with Chorizo

Some mums have re-named this recipe ‘quick and easy Spanish rice’ alluding to the stress-free method. Cooking the rice ahead of time and re-heating before serving saves you a lot of time and making double and storing in the freezer is a great way of making life easier for yourself. Majority of the ingredients in this recipe you will already have in the pantry too.

This meal is 409 calories. 

Get the recipe here.

4. Caper Spaghetti

6 ingredients are needed for this spaghetti! A vegetarian dish, this spaghetti is filled with goodness due to its wholemeal pasts and zucchini, a teaspoon of capers gives it a salty kick without the added sodium.

This meal is 428 calories.

Find this recipe is 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge recipe hub.

5. Salami Pasta

A simple and easy pasta salad to prepare and even easier to eat! If you like things hot, switch it up and use hot salami , hello metabolism! There are only 4 simple steps t creating this pasta and we can guarantee you will keep coming back to it.

This recipe 559 calories.

Find this recipe is 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge recipe hub.

6. Spinach and Ricotta Rolls

Spinach Ricotta Roll

Spinach and ricotta can’t be any better suited. These are a great snack to make for guests as they’ll be beyond impressed you made these from scratch (they don’t need to know how simple it was). Remember a typical spinach and ricotta roll from a bakery or frozen section of the supermarket has anywhere from 400-500 calories per serve, compared to ours which is 230 calories.

Get the recipe here.

7. Stove Top Lasagne

As we move away from summer and into cooler nights, the desire for warm meals hits us. Without adding calories, this stove top lasagne is the perfect family meal, sans turning on the oven! This recipe is 365 calories.

Get the recipe here.

8. Butterbean and Chorizo Soup

Store this beauty in the freezer and de-frost whenever you desire or need a hearty meal and just couldn’t think of anything worse than cooking dinner! This recipe will save you from picking up the phone ordering takeaway, not to mention it will feel good for your purse too.

This recipe is 336 calories. 

Find this recipe is 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge recipe hub.

9. No Bake Raspberry Cookies

5 minutes. Yes your read that correctly, these cookies take 5 minutes AND require no baking. So what do you do? You blitz, shape with your hands and then pop into the freezer. Done!

This recipe is 105 calories.

Get the recipe here.

10. Peanut Bubble Crunch


Just looking at this sweet treat makes our mouth water. They’re perfectly cube-shaped and it doesn’t require a professional chefs hand to get the look, or the taste! Puffed rice and peanut butter are the star to this show and they basically require a standing ovation for their performance. You and your family will want to put this recipe on repeat again, and again.

This recipe is 124 calories.

Get the recipe here

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