Two local mums have come up with a solution that takes away the stress and time of having to think about and cook dinner each night for growing families.
Long-time friends Jen Horn and Jen Rea started Prep Ahead last July, providing easy-to-follow meal plans and guides.
On their regular plan, which costs $7.50 a week, customers will receive a meal plan for the week which consists of a grocery list, recipes and instructions on how to prep the dinners in one go.
The idea is to be able set aside around one hour of one day to fully prepare all the meals in advance so that during the week the meals are ready to just throw in the oven, pan or slow cooker.
"It's all about getting home cooked meals on the table for your family quickly and easily," says Horn.
She found that having to think of something for dinner each night to feed her family was "painful".
And so she started to meal plan really well, she says.
"Then I started to think about maybe prepping all the vegetables and as much of the dinner ahead of time so that I could just have it in the fridge ready to cook.
"I had a lot more time during the week to do things because dinner was just ready to go."
From there she simply believed that because these processes were helping her so much they'd be bound to help others.
When they launched the business last year, shortly after the lockdown and being a New Zealand business, they said it took off.
They made sure the meal plans and grocery lists were designed with New Zealand foods and supermarkets in mind, and that they could easily be adjustable to cater to all sizes of families.
Horn says she has been spending the past two years coming up with recipes, one of the more challenging parts of the business.
A lot of the recipes are family ones that have been adapted, ones shared by friends or ones inspired by meals eaten out.
"Once our recipes have been tested by our kids then they go onto the plans," says Rea.
Some favourites, approved by the kids, include pastas, one-tray-bakes, mild curries and meatballs - meals that are full of hidden vegetables, says Rea.
Each week, the regular plan also includes one vegetarian meal and a fun takeaway style meal so think burgers, pizza, nachos or tacos.
They also offer a few bundles – school lunch and kid-friendly dinners and summer salads, which are one-off purchases loaded with recipes and organised into weekly meal plans with grocery lists.
And in the pipeline is a vegetarian plan they will be releasing in the next few months.
They also hope to be able to develop an app and take the business overseas to the likes of Australia and the United Kingdom.
"What our customers say the most is that they enjoy not having the stress of thinking up and preparing dinner when they get home during the week, dinner isn't such a chore, they have more time, less food wastage and shop smarter", says Rea.
To find out more or to sign up visit prepahead.co.nz.