Does the idea of doing meal prep make your head spin? For a lot of people, the whole concept can be pretty overwhelming…Where do I start? How do I make a plan and carry it out? Will I have to spend my entire weekend in the kitchen?
Well, not to worry. We’ve got you covered, start to finish, and you won’t need to spend your entire weekend in the kitchen. By carving out a few hours to make a plan and prep some ingredients, you can save yourself valuable time over the course of your week.
Make a Plan
- Note any existing commitments and account for them. Is there a night you’ll be eating out for dinner? Do you have guests coming over for a meal?
- Then figure out how many breakfasts, lunches, and dinners you’ll need to plan and how many servings you’ll need of each.
- Select some recipes, focusing on real food. Start by picking a protein as your main dish. Then decide what veggies you’ll include as well as any other sides.
- Keep it simple. Choose recipes and meals with simple ingredients that don’t require a lot of time to prepare. Slow cooker or instant pot meals are a great option.
Create a list
- Figure out what you already have. Do you have meat or veggies in the freezer you could use? Do you already have some of the spices called for in your recipes?
- Make a list of the ingredients you need. Group items based on their category or location in the grocery store. This will save you time when you shop.
- Stick to your list. You’ll save money by not getting anything extra and time by staying focused on your goal.
- Cross items off your list as you go. There’s no need to waste time trying to remember if that bag of potatoes is actually under the rest of your groceries.
Prep meals / ingredients
- How much additional prep you do at this point is up to you. Feel free to do all these steps or just pick and choose what works best for your schedule.
- Wash and chop any veggies you’ll need later in the week. Store them in Tupperware containers so they’re ready to cook when you need them.
- If a recipe calls for lots of spices, pre-mix them in a small container. That way they’re ready to go when it’s time to use them. You can simply add them to your recipe and not spend time measuring everything out.
- Put together a crock pot meal. If you’ve got enough hours left in your day, cook it right away. Otherwise, store it uncooked in the fridge and cook it the following day. When you get home in the evening it will be like someone came over and cooked for you!
- Pick a meal or two to cook that can easily be stored and reheated. This is a good option if you’ve got some extra time on your prep day or if you know you’ll be pressed for time later in the week.