Meal prepping or food prepping is something that is a twice a week activity in our house. We spend a good amount of time planning, shopping and then prepping meals because it allows us to save money, time, provide healthy meals for the family and avoid a lot of stress. I get so many questions about how we plan, when, how often we cook. Etc. so I am going to try and answer all of the questions and give my top tips so you and your family can organize
Let’s be real, our lives are crazy and there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get what we need done. That is why I carve out time to plan out our meals and prep ahead so during the busy week, all I have to do is reheat or cook the prepped Ingredients. It has saved us so much time and meal time is less stressful and more about enjoying time and good food together.
The evening before I go to the grocery store, I am on Pinterest deciding what to cook for the week. I use my meal prep pad to take notes and on the left hand side I write the meals for the week. As I write down each meal, I add to the shopping list on the right, and this helps so you do not forget all of the ingredients you need. There are also a ton of Instagram accounts that help make meal prepping cheap, simple, and fast.
Once I’ve done the shopping I cook enough food to last around 3-4 days (this usually includes a few lunches and breakfasts), freezing any extra portions and generally roasting a lot of veggies. I also marinade chicken if that is in the plan and freeze extra if i don’t think I’ll have time to cook it or it won’t last.
You guys know I always keep it real and I am not perfect— I have weeks where I am not as organized—things happen. Life happens. We are all human, but during the weeks where I am not as organized, I see how much more stressful meal time is and how we tend to eat out more and spend more money.
Here are some tips to help get you and your family on the right track to a successful meal prep routine!
MAKE A MEAL PREP SYSTEM AND STICK TO IT:
Friday/Saturday’s, we meal plan and then grocery shop. Sunday’s I cook and prepare the food we bought (meat in marinades, eggs in instant pot, roasted veggie galore, etc. ) I wash and chop all the produce for the week, make hard boiled eggs, and I sometimes make dinner for Monday so no one has to come home and cook. I portion out veggies, fruits and snacks for 2-3 days in glass containers. If you follow me on Instagram you know I have snack bins in the fridge and pantry for Marlie that I stock all of this weeks goodies so she can grab when she’s hungry.
A MID-WEEK MEAL PREP TO STAY ON TRACK:
I do all of our meal prep on Sunday and Wednesday. Sunday I make lunch and breakfast to last till Wednesday. On Wednesday I cook breakfast and lunch to last till Saturday. I cook dinner on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I found that we would run low on our veggies and other prepped foods by Wednesday, so it worked for us to do round 2 of cooking the foods that we prepped (pre cut your veggies and fruit, marinate your meats)
MAKE LEFTOVERS TO SAVE TIME:
I make dinners that I can turn into lunches for the week. My husband loves when we have tons of left over dinner (because I double and sometimes triple recipes) so he can pack it for lunch the next day!. My goal is to not have to dirty up the kitchen every day for every meal—because let’s be honest ain’t no body for time for that! Make more than you need and either put it into containers for the next new days or freeze for a reheat later down the road.
MAKE IT A FAMILY AFFAIR:
Get your kids involved in cooking. This helps them see what goes in their food and what it looks like before and after it is cooked. If they are involved, they are more likely to try something they “cooked.” My daughter has been helping since she about 18 months and she looks forward to helping me cut, season and cook everything. At first it did take a lot longer and was messier, but we have a pretty good system now and I love getting to show her how to shop, cook and have a healthy relationship with food.
Check what items are on sale and integrate that into your meal planning. For example, the asparagus were on sale this week, so I bought those instead of brussel sprouts. In addition, the strawberries were on sale so we got 2 cartons instead of blueberries because they were double the price. Buy in bulk when you can, we stock up on meats and save a lot of money (thank you, Costco). This is why it is so important to plan ahead!
KNOW YOUR GO-TO MEALS AND HAVE THOSE GROCERIES ON HAND:
We plan out five meals a week. You don’t have to set a specific meal for a specific day, just know what five meals will work for the week and have those ingredients on hand. The meals that were a huge hit last week, I carry over to the next week and add a few new fresh ideas from Pinterest. You do not have to get too fancy! A lot of our meals just include rice, chicken and a few veggies! check out my go to grocery list!
HAVE FUN WITH IT!
my biggest advice is to just have fun with it! Try your best to enjoy planning your food calendars. Try new recipes. Learn from your mistakes. You do not need to go all in, you can start small and work up to it! Set a goal, make a plan and execute!!
Hope you find this helpful and can start your journey to meal and food prepping!
I hope these photos can inspire you to meal plan and prep!