Meal prepping can mean different things to different people. It could simply be planning out your meals for the week, or cooking certain staples or it could be tupperware stacked in the fridge with the same meal for lunches. Whatever way you look at it meal prepping is being prepared for the week to come.
Meal prepping doesn’t mean you have to eat a certain food on a certain night just because you said you would on Sunday. It just means you are more prepared and less likely to stress out about what’s for dinner. It gives you options and helps keep you on track, especially if you’re trying to eat healthier. We all know we reach for convince foods that aren’t the healthiest when we’re in a rush, feel like we don’t have time to cook or have no food in the house. Meal prepping helps with all of that.
For me it doesn’t mean you prep a head of steamed broccoli, baked chicken breast and rice and eat that everyday for the entire week. It’s setting my week up for success by having a plan and a stocked fridge.
I decide how many dinners I need to make then go through my recipe bank and choose what sounds exciting that week. Then I think what staples I want on hand for breakfast and snacks (I typically have leftover dinner for lunch). After I have my meal plan I make a list and head to the store. I don’t typically do a big batch cook but I will prep fruit and veg or cook up some quinoa for breakfast. For me this is enough, just having a plan is the biggest life saver. For you, it might mean pre packing lunches and making some overnight oats or batch cooking some protein and grains for the weeks dinners. These tips are guidelines you can implement into your life where and how you see fit.
Meal prep is a life saver, but it can be daunting – one big shop, planning multiple days and spending and hour or more chopping, prepping and cooking. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Get organized – look at your week ahead. Are you working late, out with friends, have to get the kids to hockey, etc. Knowing what’s on the schedule for the week helps you plan smart – how many dinners do you need to cook, do you have to prep a make ahead breakfast or lunch, are you on the go and need some quick snacks, etc.
I have a white board on the fridge where I write down the meals for the week. I love being able to see my plan in writing and be able to easily erase or switch meals if needed.
Pick your favourites – having dishes we are excited to eat and know we love on the plan makes us more excited to follow through. Grab inspiration from your favourite cookbooks, browse your go to blog or scroll through your Pinterest boards at the beginning of the week and choose some exciting recipes. I do however suggest including a higher percentage of recipes you already know how to make as it helps make meal time easier – especially on those long work days.
*Remember – some nights you may need dinner on the table in under 30 minutes or have a fully prepared meal you can quickly heat in the microwave. Do you love pasta at dinner or have to run out the door in the morning with breakfast in hand? Whatever fits your life, your goals and your taste buds.
Make extra – make an extra serving of dinner so you can pack it away for lunch. Cook once and eat twice!
Make a list – Once you’ve determined how many meals you need to make, the recipes you want and the staples to fill in the blanks it’s time to make a list. This step is nonnegotiable for me. Shopping with a list keeps you on track, saves you money, reduces food waste and stops you from having to run to the local store every night. It also eliminates the excuse, I don’t have anything in the house, let’s order take out. Which can get really annoying and expensive.
Put aside time for prep – this part takes a bit more work and is probably most peoples least favourite. But it’s worth it. The planning and shopping are done and it’s time for a little prep. I typically find Sunday afternoons work best for me. Pick what ever time or day that fits your schedule – put on some good music, have your organizer out and get in the zone.
*I keep prep easy and quick – wash fruit, chop veggies for quick snacks and lunches, and cook a batch of quinoa for breakfast. But you might need/want to batch cook some chicken, pre pack some lunches or make a lasagna and pop it in the freezer for later in the week. Whatever you need to make your week less stressful – do that.
I find a sense of accomplishment and relaxation in knowing I’ll have more time during the week to be outside, read a book or watch netflix because I put in the work at the beginning. I also love that it helps keep me on track and away from the processed quick foods and take a way. Win Win!
Well that was a long old post. Hope you implement these tips and fid them helpful, I know they’ve made a huge difference in my life and really help keep me on track :).