Summer means busy schedules and crazy calendars. Between summer camps, family vacations and weekends away, it can be tough to whip up a delicious and nutritious meal for you and your family. Make meals easier by hosting a meal prep party with friends and neighbors. Here are ten tips for throwing a meal prep party this summer.
#1 Gather a Group of Friends
Gather a group of 4-5 friends who are interested in saving time and money while serving their families healthy meals. Throwing a meal prep party can be fun to explore new recipe ideas together as a group, but it can also be challenging if everyone has different dietary requirements. (Think AIP, GAPS, Gluten-Free, Keto, Paleo, Sugar-Free and Whole30). Although you can select any of your family members, friends and neighbors to join your meal prep party, it’s easiest to work with people who have similar dietary standards.
#2 Time and Place
Pick a place to hold your group’s meal prep party, preferably someone who has a house with the most kitchen space. It is summer after all, so why not take your meal prep party outdoors and grill? Just be sure to pick a day and time that works for the entire group.
#3 Designate a Leader
Getting a group together may sound like a small undertaking, but when there are multiple people coming together to cook many meals, things can quickly get complicated. Make things easier for everyone by picking a leader. This role does not necessarily have to be you, but this role should typically be someone who is diplomatic, organized and patient. Once the recipes are decided upon, it will be the leader’s responsibility to coordinate getting the ingredients. Whether the master shopping list is divided up among all group members or the leader purchases them solo, make sure to keep receipts and divvy up the final bill accordingly.
#4 Vote for Recipes
Ask each member of your group to come up with 1-2 of their favorite recipes that can easily be frozen. Share all of the recipe ideas with the group and take a vote for the top 4-5 favorite meals. Lean towards simple recipes to make the workload easier on everyone, but feel free to throw one or two new recipes into the mix to keep things fun.
#5 Pick a Number
Decide how many family members each member of the group will be cooking for and then double, triple or quadruple all recipes accordingly so participants have a sufficient amount of meals to take back home to their families.
#6 Select Supplies
Make sure each member of the group brings an appropriate amount of containers for all of the prepared meals. Glass containers that are freezer safe work best, but freezer bags can work too. Label everything so you remember what each dish contains. Bring along a basket or a large plastic tub to place meals in. This will make getting them home much easier. Plus, if there are any small spills along the way it keeps the mess contained to one spot.
#7 Have Snacks
All of this meal prep work can create an appetite, so instead of dining on the dishes you are making, make sure there are snacks on hand. Some of our favorites include nuts, crackers with slices of cheese and of course don’t forget something sweet like fresh fruit or chocolate.
#8 Get to Work
When it’s time to get to work, follow the leader’s plan. It’s usually best to start with washing fresh produce then cutting and chopping accordingly. Next, cook your selected meats like chicken, beef, pork or lamb. If your group wants to walk on the wild side, try something new like grass-fed bison or some fresh, wild-caught seafood. Once the ingredients are ready, prep one meal at a time. This will eliminate any possible confusion that may arise from preparing multiple meals all at once. Once all of the meals have been prepared, divvy up the dishes.
#9 Clean Up
Meal prepping 4-5 meals with 4-5 people can make quite the mess, so once the meals have been made and properly divided, have everyone pitch in and help clean up. Fill the dishwasher or start an assembly line at the kitchen sink. It’s the least you can do to thank the host for holding such an awesome event!
#10 Have Fun
It’s true that too many cooks in the kitchen can cause culinary chaos, but remember to have fun. There is a sense of togetherness that comes from preparing food together with people you love. That’s what makes a meal prep party so memorable. Remember to live in the moment and enjoy the company of family, friends and neighbors as you come together for an epic meal prep party this summer.
Meet The Author:
Ashley Martens is a Health and Wellness Writer based in Chicago, IL. With a background in digital marketing coupled with her knowledge of general nutrition and a lifelong passion for all things health, wellness, fitness and nutrition, Ashley offers a healthy alternative to traditional writing. You can learn more about Ashley and her writing over at her blog, Three to Five a Day.