Beginning Steps to Meal Prep
Does this sound familiar? Wake up, jump in the shower, wake the kids up, fix lunches, take kids to school, rush to work. On the way to work realize you didn’t get breakfast again so you stop at a drive-through and order something really quick, easy, and fattening. Or, you skip breakfast all together and starve until lunch. Lunch time comes and you go get takeout that is again really quick, easy, and fattening. Or if you’re dieting, you eat a salad at your desk wishing it was pizza. By the time 3:00 rolls around, you’re starving and your energy is just about not there at all. So, you grab a candy bar out of the vending machine and call yourself all kinds of names for falling to temptation. Now it is the end of the work day and you have to run the kids to soccer/football/band/library/dance rehearsal By the time you get home, everyone is starving and you don’t have the energy or motivation to cook. Pizza from the drive-through it is. At least the kids are happy.
If that sounds like you, I would love to introduce you to meal prep. It is one of those things that seems really complicated and time consuming when someone else is doing it. But in actuality, it is really simple and easy and can be a lot of fun. Don’t worry, I’m going to walk you through it. And don’t forget to sign up to updates on here, I’m working on putting together a meal prep recipe book.
First things first……
First you need to decide how many meals and how many days are you going to meal prep? Most beginners start with 3-4 dinners and add on from there. But if you want to meal prep all the meals for your family for the week, YOU GO GIRL! You need to make a list of the meals you want to make for the meals and how many people you are making meals for. Don’t forget healthy snacks! After you decide on the meals, you need to make a shopping list and go to the grocery store and get everything at once. No need to make several trips to the grocery store. Now, you need to pick a day to do your meal prep. Sundays are good days for most people to do the meal prep because its on a weekend and closest to the beginning of the next week. It generally takes 2-3 hours to cook everything you would eat during a week, but you can even split some of that time up so its not such a big chunk of time. For instance, you could prep all of your foods on Saturday night (chopping vegetables, pre-seasoning meat). Or you could cook for half the week on Sunday and then finish the week off on Wednesday. This is an area where you would have to choose which way works best for you.
Now, you need to make sure that you have meal prep containers. You can buy them in the bulk from Amazon if you type in meal prep containers. Make sure you have plenty for the amount of meals that you are making. My family always uses gallon size Ziploc bags for snacks because we put fruit in our snack bags. Now onto the work.
Prep all your veggies. Chop, slice, season however you’re going to fix them. An easy way to get different veggies cooked at the same time is by utilizing aluminum foil. Make little aluminum pans to go inside a bigger casserole dish. One aluminum pan for each different veggie you’re preparing. Place the veggies in the aluminum pans and season each one differently. Now, you can roast them all at the same time. The same trick can be used for meats that will use the same temperature. Pasta and rice and be cooked while you’re roasting your veggies or cooking your meats.
After everything is cooked and ready to go, get out your containers. Put together your meals in each container and store for the coming week. If you’re meal prepping for the entire week, make sure to put just the first three days in the fridge, put the other days in the freezer. When its time to start in on the freezer meals, simply put them in the fridge of a morning and you can warm them up when the time comes.