“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” is one of my favorite quotes. If you do not take the time to give yourself the tools to be successful- the odds are against you! This leads me to Meal Prep Sunday/Saturday/whatever day fits your schedule. When I first started prepping my food for the week, it was daunting! I hated doing it, I always bought too many ingredients, it took hours upon hours, and then when you finish there are 100 dishes waiting for you.
Here are some of my favorite tips for successful meal prep!
- Plan your menu. I first think about what foods I am in the mood for and then I begin to look for recipes. I try to pick one recipe to have for breakfast, two recipes to have for snack, and three or four recipes that I will cycle for lunch and dinner. I also usually pick a healthy treat to help keep my sweet tooth satisfied and out of the candy drawer at work.
- Write out your grocery list and be specific. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the average American wastes 25% of their food and beverages purchased. My boyfriend and I make a very strong effort to waste as little food as possible. I used to write a grocery list by simply writing apples, lemons, onions, etc. Next thing you know I would have waxy apples, dried up lemons, and moldy onions. Now I write specific grocery lists based upon my recipes/meal plan.
- Prep your ingredients as a group. If you have two different recipes that call for garlic, peel and chop the garlic for both recipes at the same time. This goes for other vegetables like carrots, celery, etc. It is more efficient to knock out all of the servings that you will need then to keep going back to chop ½ cup of something.
- Stagger your recipes. I always prep my meals in an order that will allow me to multitask. If I know a dish is going to take 45 minutes in the oven, I get that recipe going first so I can then move on to others while it is cooking. This goes for boiling water, simmering soups, and marinated meats. I want to spend two quality hours in the kitchen from start to finish and then move on to whatever else my weekend has in store.
- Store your meals in grab n go containers. I am all about the Mason jar. They are the perfect size, safe for the dishwasher and microwave, and you can easily replace the lids if you A) lose them or B) they get gross. It’s also very easy to pack your lunchbox when you just grab different containers and put them together!
Do you have any favorite tips?