Without meal prepping, I'd probably be very frustrated and hangry ALL of the time. Honestly meal prepping is the way that I make it through the work week. It's the absolute pits to have to come home (or walk into the kitchen- if you're working from home now thanks to the pandemic) and cook something up when you're starving. It takes a lot of discipline not to dig my hand into a bag of chips and devour them all. Or even worse, picking up some take out on the way home- because let's face it, that take out will never be as good for you as a homemade meal. This is where meal prepping steps in to save day! I get to reap the benefits of all of my slaving over the stove for an entire day (slightly dramatic here), but you get the point that it's going to take some dedication. The trick is to figure out how it works best for you. Are you limited by time? Do you not like eating the same meal for days in a row? Do you need some inspiration? Then, read on!
I've created a basic outline of what works for me with some examples to help illustrate. Take what works for you and switch up the things that don't.
1. Designate a day
This one to me is paramount, it's helped me develop a routine around meal prepping to where it's now become a habit. My day is Monday and I religiously follow it. I start coming up with a list of things that I'll be cooking on Friday, do my grocery shopping on the weekend and then come Monday I'm ready to get my cooking on. I'd say if you skip anything, don't skip this part!
2. Keep it simple, but strategize!
Find recipes that are easy to prep, don't take long to cook and dust off those kitchen appliances. Food processors, garlic pressers, and my recent fav the instant pot! I like to determine what meals I'll be cooking for the week. Usually it goes like this: 1 lunch, 2 dinners. So I know I'll be making 3 meals and then I'll set out to find 3 recipes that get my mouth watering.
3. Use versatile components
This is for those of you that don't like eating the same meal 5 times in a row (🙋♀️me!!). I'll begin by finding 3 recipes that can loosely be made from the same ingredients. So let's say one of the things on my list is a burrito bowl. That burrito bowl is most likely going to have some type of roasted veggies with rice and beans. I'll then look for another recipe that also has those ingredients in it. Let's say its a stir fry. So I'll make twice as much rice and roasted veggies that can be used in both dishes. That way I only need to make a few additional ingredients and switch up the spices to get two entirely different meals! Time saved? Hours!!
4. Put those leftovers to good use
Have a plan for what to make with those extras. So let's say like in my example above I had a lot of beans left over. I'll whip those up into a quick bean and cheese burrito or a quick and tasty bean soup! There's so many ways to use leftovers, and if you're ever running low on ideas that what Pinterest is for, friends!!
5. Write it out!
This part also really helps me, otherwise juggling all of that in my head would not be good. So I'll use my Todoist app to set a list for the things I'll be cooking on Monday along with the corresponding recipe links ;) I'll also create a grocery list that I keep in my Todoist as well. This just makes things SO much easier.
Now I know it sounds like a lot of upfront work and while it may feel like that in the beginning, I promise once you get the hang of it, it'll become like second nature! It's completely rewarding to spend just half a day or so prepping and cooking meals that will last you for the entire week!
TIP: Looking for a quick way to warm up your food? We use our oven and set it to broil for just a few minutes with the plated food inside. It comes out steaming hot, and no separate pans to wash! 🥳
Happy meal prepping!