Meal prep sounds complicated I know, but it doesn’t have to be. Just remember KISS (keep it simple stupid). I live by this, but that’s a whole different blog post. As long as you keep the meals simple it will be a breeze.
I grocery shop about every 2 weeks. When i do, I make sure I’m prepared. I usually start by makeing a menu of dinners about a week prior. I try to focus on things that will use similar items or recipes with fewer ingredients. I complie my grocery list, with added breakfast, lunch & kid items. Then the day of I lug my two littles into the car and make a day of it because kids have a way of turning a 30 min errand into 3 hrs.
Meal preping containers. Are they nessacary? Not really. I mean if that’s what’s going to motivate you to do so, go for it. If you don’t have the extra cash to spend, any old tupperware ( or ziplocks) will work just as good. If you want to spring for them and want a good deal I found these bento boxes on amazon for less than $1 each Check them out here.
So, this is my fridge in all it’s glory. I reserve the top shelf as my meal prep shelf. There are 3 catorgories, Fruit & Yogurt, Lunch, & Veggies. I packed some fresh cut fruit ( in reused baby food containers). I have yogurt and applesauces as well. In the middle are two pre-packed leftover lunches from the days prior. Then there is my salad/veggie bowl. I make ahead salads (these are chicken ceasar) minus the dressing or cut up veggies and put them in ziplocks.
Hubs brings a lunch to work every day so this helps him make his own choices. He gets to take one of each plus a snack pack and a beverage. It helps switch things up so he doesn’t feel rescricted to eating the same things everyday. It is also easier for me to grab throuout my busy mom day or for school aged kids. I also keep “snack packs” in the pantry which usually consist of nuts, trail mix, pretzels, & granola bars.
I only do lunches because I’m a stay at home mother so I cook dinner everynight. If you work and don’t have time by all means prep dinners as well. It wil make your life easier.
Now there are two ways you can approah this, Batch Prepping or Leftover Lunches . I will usually do a combo. I don’t like to waste food. Here is a Basic example of a meal with a few variations for you to give you some ideas.
Batch Prepping- Makeing one big meal (breakfast, lunch, snacks, and/or dinner) , seperating it into containers, and fridge/freezing them to last the week. Leftover lunches- leftovers from the previous dinners redistrubuted in containers for lunches/dinners. I usualy will batch prep my fruits, veggies, and breakfast for the week. I cook everynight usually 4 portions (sometimes more ) and just use the two leftovers for lunches within the following days.
IN THE KITCHEN:
Start off with just a few meals. Don’t try to cook a whole week’s worth of meals in one sitting. You may want to do this later, as you get more comfortable, but for now, just try to find your meal-prepping-groove.
Focus on simple meals. Chicken is a favorite among many meal preppers because it can be cooked in a seemingly endless number of ways. It’s also easy to store and freeze.
With just a bit of chicken and a few vegetables you can easily prepare three totally different meals.
Learn to Multitask: Remember that you can cook lots of different things at the same. Use your oven space to its fullest potential. There’s no need to place one thing in there at a time. Use multiple oven trays if it helps, or use aluminum foil to make dividers on one oven tray and multiply your efforts. Start with a few good sheet pan meal recipes.
When planning your first shopping trip as a meal prepper, ask yourself if you have enough oven trays, aluminum foil and other utensils you might need.
Fruit: Fruit is a great way to dive in to meal prepping. You can cut up different types of fruit and store them just like any meals you could prepare. You can easily make fruit salads or smoothies to go along with you prepped meals. Or you can simply start off with fruit preps only.
The Crockpot: Okay, this one is obvious, yet so many new meal preppers overlook it. The Crockpot has been a favorite among moms for decades. Use it to make simple, great tasting meals then store them away. Or make double batches and freeze half for easy one pot dinners later.
Here are a few weekly meal pans to help you get started.
Hopefully this guide has given all you need to get started with meal prepping so you can make life a little easier.
After all, that’s what meal prepping is all about.