For anyone who has not tried weekly meal prepping, the task seems daunting at first. I know it did for me. But now that I have been doing this for about 10 years, I have honed my meal prep skills and have it down to an art form! My kitchen looks like an assembly line for a small army, and when I am done, my freezer and fridge are so organized Martha Stewart would be jealous!
It really is about time management. To prep an entire week’s worth of meals — breakfast, lunch, and dinner, together with snacks does sound time consuming. But in reality, the time you spend prepping for the week you will get back tenfold during the week when all you have to do is open the fridge or freezer and grab what you need for the day and you are out the door.
Meal prepping also saves money. Prepping in advance prevents a good deal of waste, especially of produce. When it is prepared and packaged, chances are it will be consumed and not end up in the compost pile or the garbage can, which will save your family money in the long run.
And, being prepared prevents you from indulging in whatever unhealthy thing your office mate brought to share, or from going to the vending machine in the break room. Having your own stash of healthy prepped meals and snacks will help you stay on track when changing your eating habits, trying to lose weight, or just wanting to eat clean.
I do all of my shopping, cooking, and prepping on the weekend, usually on Saturday, but sometimes I will wait until Sunday afternoon just depending upon what activities are going on in my life. Pick a day that is good for you and your family — it an be any day of the week, so long as you can try and do it that same day each week.
Here is a guide to help you get started:
Some things that you will need, if you do not have them already:
Good quality plastic food storage containers with lids (at least 15 or more)
Glass mason jars with lids (about 5 is all you need)
Ziploc bags (variety of sizes)
Steamer or crock pot/muffin tins/cooking pots, pans, utensils/smoothie maker (optional)/juicer (optional)
Here is a snapshot of my meal prep day:
Hit the local farmers’ markets to get the freshest local produce, eggs, and other wonderful things!
Stop by the grocery store to pick up proteins and other items not available at the markets
Chop, season, and prep everything for cooking
Load up steamer with proteins and veggies (stackable steamer by Oster will cook an entire week’s worth of meals in under an hour!) See the steamer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGDQCvvCEKU
Broil other veggies in the oven or on the grill (Brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, and cauliflower all are awesome broiled or grilled in olive oil and garlic)
Boil and peel a dozen eggs (great for snacks or breakfast)
Make 5 or more salads in a jar (sealed in a glass jar keeps them fresh all week, just put your lettuce on the top so that it does not get soggy). Watch the YouTube video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eulb27Q-2vQ
Make breakfast egg muffins (eggs, spinach, onions, turkey bacon, cheese, poured into muffin tins sprayed with coconut oil and bake until eggs are done. These keep well in an airtight container or Ziploc bag all week!)
Make a small pot of oatmeal (portion into small containers and add fruit, granola, honey, and freeze. Great for breakfast or a bedtime snack)
Wash, slice, and portion out greens and fruits for smoothies and juices into Ziploc bags and place them in the freezer for use during the week (yes, you can freeze the greens also!)
Once everything is cooked, I portion all of my meals into plastic containers. About half goes in the freezer for later in the week, and the rest goes in the fridge for the earlier part of the week. Be sure to let everything cool to room temperature before sealing and placing in the fridge or freezer!
This schedule may look like it takes all day, but I can do all of this in about 2 hours (cooking/prepping time). Add the farmers market and grocery store time and it is maybe a total of 3 – 4 hours tops. I am typically out the door Saturday morning around 7:30AM to get started. If you feel like you do not have that large of a block of time to set aside in one day, consider doing your shopping on one day and your prepping on the next.
Meal prepping is a skill that you can perfect over time, with your own personal twist on how to get things done. Once you have it down as part of your healthy eating routine, you will want to do it every week!
Health and Happiness,