Let's talk meal prep ladies! It is often something viewed as mundane, time consuming, and same-old-same-old, but meal prepping can actually be something to look forward to every week! The best part is it can be as time consuming as you make it depending on how much you enjoy to cook and how many other tasks you have on your weekly calendar.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
Pick a Theme- The first thing to consider when sitting down to plan your meals for the week is a theme. There are two ways you can do this. The first way is to select one or two food items you would like your meals to center around. (ex. Sweet Potatoes or Broccoli) The other option is to pick a cultural theme. (ex. Mexican, Italian, etc.)
By selecting a theme you are creating a foundation for brainstorming. You have a direction and an immediate rough-draft of a grocery list.
Look at Your Week- The next subject to consider is what your week looks like. Is it crazy-hectic busy or do you have a little more flexible time to spend in the kitchen? Do you have nights that are busier than others? What are the other members in your household committed to?
Take some time to layout your week and think about how much time you will REALLY have to be in the kitchen.
Designate when you will actually meal prep. And this is key... YOU CAN MEAL PREP MORE THAN ONCE IN A WEEK!! Yep. If you have a couple small bubbles of time or just a really big one, you can choose to meal prep once, twice, or even three times!
The important part of the puzzle is to recognize what your schedule allows for.
Get Creative (Or don't)- Now the fun part...at least for me! Discovering the meals you want to cook for the week! Remember to keep your schedule in mind. If you have a busy week, keep it simple. Even if it is meal prepping, the last thing you want to do is spend hours on food when you don't have the time. Plan accordingly. You can write down some of your go-to recipes, or use platforms such a Pinterest to get inspired, or do some of each!
Bonus- You have already selected your theme so you can simply type in "Sweet potato" or "Italian recipes" and get a slew of ideas! Also, be sure to create breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack lists when selecting your recipes. Meal prepping isn't just for dinner chicka!
Once you have selected the meals you wish to make, lay them out in your schedule in a way that makes sense. Easier options on busy days, more complex recipes when you have more time. (Doing this will come in handy for later.) Also use this time to make a grocery list of the items you will need. You may notice that all of your recipes have similar ingredients because you picked a theme at the beginning! Neat eh?
Make Friends with Your Kitchen- Once the groceries are purchased, it is time to actually prepare your goods! Using your meal prep times, begin to think about the meals you have laid out during the week and how much of each ingredient you should prep.
Let's use dried black beans as an example:
If I am using black beans in three of my meals during the week, I will soak that amount in a mason jar filled with water for at least six hours (if not overnight). I will then cook all of them over the stove, and portion them out into how many meals worth I am needing them for. Once I need them for a meal, I will remove the amount I need, heat and season accordingly and viola! It's that simple! The key is to take the time out of your busy day to consider what foods you want to fuel your body with!
Meal prepping can be broken down even more, but this is a great summary to get you started! However, if you would like to learn more about how to save time and still cook meals you love, SUBSCRIBE to my newsletter where you can be kept in the loop about upcoming workshops, groups, and materials to embrace the Foodie in you! You can also set up a consultation to work one-on-one with me!
The past week, the hubby and I flew down to Las Vegas for a billiards tournament (needless to say Tanner did swimmingly). During this trip, something kept showing up for me on a daily basis; something I already knew, but had forgotten about. I LOVE BIG CITIES! Does this get you thinking, "Then why do you live in such a small town?". It should. Let's talk about showing up for yourself regardless of where you may be or what you may be doing.
A few things to consider before you take on the task of showing up for yourself are- who are you (what makes you YOU), what are your priorities (what is important to you), and what do you do with the leftovers?
WHO ARE YOU?
The biggest thing for you to sort out is WHO YOU ARE. Take some time, put pen to paper, and define what makes you so uniquely you- What has God given you that makes you unique? What life gifts has He given to you to cherish and value? For me this may look something like- I am a Christian woman who prides herself on being the best wife I can be, who values family and close friendships, and embraces deep conversations around a delicious meal. My description may also include the fact that I do love big cities for the culture and the ease of public transportation, I am a creative at my core, and I need "me" time to restore because I am, my friends, a complete introvert. I am a foodie, a mover and shaker (literally, I am obsessed with movement), a writer, and I can be a bit heady. Alas, the list goes on. The important piece here is you take the time to get clear about your God-given talents and life gifts. Got it?
WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES?
It's ok lovely lady, life happens, and somewhere down the line you may have forgotten what is most important to you. Next on your to-do list is to write down your priorities. What are the BIG things that matter to your soul? If this is too difficult for you to sort out right now, that's o.k. This task can be BIG and SCARY if you have not focused on what truly matters in life. If you need help, let's connect! (I mean it, I am here to help you sort through the muck!)
But if you clearly know what is important, write it out, number the list, and pick your top four-ish. These priorities are what should define your life, where you put your energy, and what consumes most of your time. They are what allow you to be YOU most easily. My life example- Faith and spending time with my Savior is my top priority! Thus, everything I do should be a direct reflection of my belief system and guide how I live. When I get off track, I know, because it is like a gut punch to my soul (literally). When you know your priorities, you know when your life matches up to them, I promise.
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS?
The leftovers are the items in your life that you choose based on your priorities, but they do not necessarily match perfectly with who you are or what you enjoy. Once you have established your priorities, hopefully you have begun the process of aligning your life with them. They are too precious to be neglected girly. They are your priorities after all. (Again if you need help with sorting through the gunk, I'm your girl.)
Once you are done with creating a life that is in line with who you are and your unique set of talents and priorities, there will be bits and pieces that match your lifestyle, but require you bring yourself into them. What does this mean?
Let's go back to where we started. One of my priorities is family- I embrace the moments gathered around a family dinner, creating subtle memories of running errands and going for evening walks, and seeking advice from those who saw me grow up. Family and my closest friends are important to me, and they are important to Tanner. The fact that family is a priority for the both of us impacted our decision to stay in the Black Hills rather than move to a larger city that would have made it easier for us to embrace what we love so much about city life.
The beauty is, my friends, that it is easy to bring everything you love and everything that makes you, you, into the aspects of your life that you have chosen to create.
Knowing Rapid City is my home, I actively seek out creative opportunities. I walk to and from sessions, the grocery store, and events whenever possible. I create moments of "good eats" and dinner parties, and I never forget that I can do A LOT in creating a "big city life" in this place I call home. It is simply a matter of perspective and knowing I can make active choices in my life.
So there you have it! Phew! A bit lengthy, but I truly don't know how to do it any other way! No matter where you are today, lovely lady, you can CHOOSE to SHOW UP FOR YOURSELF. It is simply a matter of knowing who you are, what your priorities are, and bringing yourself into the leftovers!
What are you waiting for? Go SHOW UP!