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!