Meal prep is one of those terms that has been overused in my opinion, but for good reason. Meal prep was something that I always heard about, but for the longest time, thought that I was not organized enough to actually make happen. This was because I would see pictures of people’s meal preps that were “Pinterest perfect”…where every single meal for the week was laid out perfectly in its own individual storage container.
It just seemed so unrealistic and unattainable to me. But the thing was: I did really want the convenience that it seemed to offer, so I decided to make meal prep work for me. Meal prepping now saves me time, money, and multiple trips to the grocery store during the week. I am able to eat healthy all week, without the stress of always worrying about what I will be eating. The great thing is it does not have to be overwhelming. I’m going to share some things that make meal prepping easy and I’ll also let you in on a few pitfalls that I’ve faced along the way, so hopefully, you can avoid those.
Tips to Make Meal Prepping Simple
Tip #1: Determine which day of the week you will meal prep
Decide which day of the week that you want to meal prep. This will allow you to plan accordingly and not try to meal prep on the fly.
Tip #2: Determine which meals and/or head start ingredients that you will be prepping
Some people opt to prep all of their meals for the week: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. This can be overwhelming, especially for someone who is new to meal prepping, so I recommend that you start by prepping the one meal that you struggle with the most during the week.
As an example:
~Do you eat a muffin from the vending machine at work every morning, because you never have time to make breakfast? You may want to prep breakfast.
~Do you tend to end up in the Chick-fil-A line come lunchtime because you rarely bring lunch? Lunch may be your meal.
~Are you so exhausted after work that you end up getting takeout most nights of the week? I recommend prepping dinners.
As for me: I prep lunches, and most of the time breakfasts too. I also wash and cut up all of the fruits and vegetables that I will be eating during that week. During the week I usually eat the prepped fruit with breakfast or as snacks. I use the vegetables that are prepped as head start ingredients for dinnertime, which makes cooking dinner during the week a lot easier and less time-consuming.
Tip #3: Plan to meal prep things that you actually like
I never meal prep things that I am not excited to eat. Plan to make meals that taste good and that you enjoy, otherwise you will not eat them, and you’ll have wasted time and money.
In other words: if you don’t like grilled chicken and broccoli… do not prep grilled chicken and broccoli just because someone told you that it was healthy for you. Get my drift?
Tip #4: Make a meal plan
Take a few minutes, BEFORE going to the grocery store, to write out all of the dishes that you will be prepping for the week.
BEWARE: Keep the meal plan simple
It can be easy to get so pumped up about meal prepping and getting on track for the week that you may be tempted to try tons of different recipes. I urge you… don’t do that!
If you want to spice things up a bit, I recommend trying no more than two new recipes, in any given meal prep session. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. Trying more than two new recipes always ends in overwhelm.
Tip #5: Make a grocery list and head to the store
Once you know the dishes that you will be making for the week, write out a grocery list of all the ingredients that you need to make each dish. Once you have a list of all of the ingredients that you will need: go check your pantry, fridge, and freezer and cross off the things that you already have.
Quick tip on making your grocery list:
I like to organize my list in a way that is consistent with how my grocery store is laid out. For instance: in my grocery store the first thing that I pass is the produce section and the second is the dairy section. The first thing that is always on my list is each piece of produce that I need, while the second is anything that I need from the dairy section, and so on. I find that having a well laid out grocery list makes shopping a breeze.
Tip #6: Write out a plan for execution
This part may seem like an extra step, and I mean technically it is, but it’s so worth it! Take a sheet of paper and decide what you will make first, second, third, and so on.
Let’s pretend that this week I will be prepping: produce, egg casserole, ground turkey, chicken breasts… I would write down on my sheet of paper:
- Wash and chop all produce
- Make egg casserole
- Brown ground turkey
- Season chicken breasts
Having a game plan helps you to stay focused, be efficient, and avoid overwhelm. You know exactly what you will be doing and in what order.
Tip #7: Turn on some jams and get to cooking
Turn on your favorite playlist and get your cook on!
Tip #8: Let the food cool and package it up for the fridge
One option for packaging up your food is to put each individual dish in its own storage container. Another option, if you want to be even more prepared, is you could divide each meal up into the portion size that you will eat it. I also sometimes use gallon storage bags to package food up. I have used all of these options, at one time or another, and they all work well. Do what works best for you.
Now that the meal prep is done… sit back, prop your feet up, and feel good knowing that you are all set for the week!
Posts You May Find Helpful:
Want to remember these tips? Save this article to your favorite Pinterest Board!