To make everyone’s lives a little bit easier now that school is back in session, it is more crucial than ever to have those weekly dinners scheduled. If you’re constantly on the go, working, or just have a busy schedule in general, prepping your meals in advance can be a game changer for getting organized and saving both time and even money each day.

Even while preparing meals can seem like a difficult process, there are ways to make it easier. Ask your children to help and join in the fun!  If you struggle with time management, consider it a temporary investment. Since cooking won’t be on your to-do list during the week, the time you spend on the weekend shopping and prepping will save you time.

In spite of the fact that there is no secret to efficient meal preparation, with a little time, advance preparation, and a few helpful pointers from Carolina® Rice, you should have no trouble getting started.

 What Meals Should be Prepped?

Consider the meals you would like to eat throughout the coming week. Plan the types of grains, vegetables, and meats you’ll eat. Plan a vegan or vegetarian dinner for the week as well. It’s a terrific method to keep your meal plan varied.

Think About Your Needs: What meal or meals could be more simply prepared in advance? Do you need breakfast to get the most out of your morning? With a dinner that has already been prepared, would you prefer to stay out later? 

Create Order: What window of time will you be able to set aside to cook the food you require? Is Sunday the best day to prepare for the next week? Or maybe a midweek evening suits you better? 

Select Your Recipes: Now that you know what you’ll need, you can begin the fun work of selecting your recipes. Ask your kids to assist!

Create a List: Create a list of everything you need to buy and stick to it before you go shopping, using your recipes as a guide. Because you won’t be purchasing as much in excess, you’ll waste less food and money as a result. Keep in mind to examine and see what you already have before going to the store. 

Pantry Prep

The key to any effective meal planning technique is selecting ingredients that will keep you full and energized, such as robust grains alongside meats, fruits, and vegetables. Ideally, the meal components you choose should be adaptable and suitable for any menu.

  • Grains: Jasmine, Basmati, White, Brown, or Ready to Heat.
  • Oils and Salad Dressings: Olive or Coconut oil, sriracha, soy or various salad dressings. 
  • Legumes: Black beans, pinto beans, or chickpeas (in dried or canned form).
  • Canned Items: Tuna, salmon, tomatoes, tomato sauce, artichokes, olives and fruit (without added sugar).
  • Baking Needs: Baking powder and flour (including all-purpose, whole wheat, almond, and rice flour) are vital ingredients.
  • Seasonings, Spices and Herbs
  • Additional

Meal Planning Tips for Beginners 

Avoid feeling overwhelmed and take each day as it comes. Here are some pointers to make planning less difficult:

Versatile Meals: Make sure you start with dishes like rice bowls, rice salads, or wraps that may be filled with a variety of foods. 

Prepare Vegetables Ahead: So that you can combine them as you make your fillings. 

Use Ready to Heat Variety: Our Ready to Heat Variety is ready in only minutes! 

Thoughts for Recipes

It’s time to let Carolina® Rice suggest some weekly recipes for you to prepare for family and friends.

Snack and Breakfast Ideas

Some meals may be prepared in large quantities and frozen for later, which is fantastic for saving time in the morning rush or watching spending. If you have prepared snacks on hand, you won’t be as enticed by the nearby restaurant or the vending machines at work.

It is easy to make muffins, bars, or cups ahead of time to bring with you throughout the week or to freeze for your family and thaw as needed. Pick grains that will help you feel satisfied for longer during the day, if possible. We have some delicious recipes that you can try;

  • Our Puffed Rice Chocolate Bars are an excellent alternative to have on hand for those times of the day when hunger hits. They have only 5 ingredients and are dairy-free while also being flavorful.
Puffed Rice Chocolate Bars
  • Chicken and Brown Rice Lunch Box CupsThese wholesome muffin-like chicken and brown rice lunch box cups are great for on-the-go snacks and are suitable for any time of day. They are loaded with delicious proteins, creamy cheddar, and Carolina® Brown Rice.
  • Savory Rice Muffins– These on-the-go muffins are perfect for wherever the day takes you.
Rice Muffins with pecans and onion
Savory Rice Muffins

Inspirational Lunch Ideas

Salads and bowls are simple lunch options that may be prepared in advance and made in no time at all. Fluffy Carolina® White Rice, filling beans, lettuce, avocados, tomatoes, carrots, and other ingredients are used to make our Mason Jar Rice Salad. One of its biggest draws is how convenient it is to enjoy a rice salad in a mason jar during a hectic or busy day. Whether you’re working from home, in the office, or on the go, this delicious rice salad is perfect for pre-planning your meals. Try one of our numerous rice bowl selections, such as our Baked Orange Cauliflower Rice Bowl

Ideas for Dinner

Chicken Tinga and Rice Tacos

Storage and Reheating Tips

If you’re a big fan of meal planning, you already realize how crucial it is to properly prepare, store, and reheat your food. After making all that effort, nobody wants a dinner that is mushy or bland! So, here are some useful suggestions to preserve your prepared meals tasty and fresh:

1. Make an investment in high-quality storage containers. Make sure you have a set of sealed containers that can be used in the freezer and microwave. Your meals will stay fresher and there won’t be any unwelcome leaks or spills thanks to this.

2. Label and date your meals: When you prepare several meals at once, it’s simple to forget what’s in each container. Label each container with the contents it contains and the date it was created. By doing so, you can keep track of the freshness and prevent confusion in the future.

3. Portion out your meals: Before storing your prepared meals, divide them into separate servings. With less defrosting and reheating required, it is simpler to grab a meal on the go.

4. Properly store in the refrigerator or freezer: If you intend to eat your prepared meals soon, store them in the refrigerator. Freeze them instead for longer-term storage. To guarantee food safety, always be sure to allow hot dishes to cool before storing them in the refrigerator or freezer.

5. Reheat carefully: For the best taste and texture, pay attention to how long and at what temperature you reheat your prepared meals. Use medium heat settings in the microwave or oven, but pay attention to any special directions that come with each dish.

You can make sure that your prepared meals stay nice, fresh, and ready to eat whenever hunger hits by using these suggestions!

Follow us at www.carolinarice.come for more tips and recipe ideas.

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