Happiness is a fully meal-prepped fridge! “SELF”
For me, the key to a stress-free week of cooking is having a successful meal prep plan. But I’ve always struggled on Sundays when I tried to cramp everything up in one day: grocery shopping, chopping vegetables and cooking at the same time. By the time I’ve finished preparing meals for the week, it’s 7 in the evening and it seems so much time has been wasted.
So I came up with my own game plan to help me meal prep more efficiently. It definitely helps me in my meal planning process and I hope it will help you too. Kudos to the hubby for giving the inspiration for this post!
Rule #1: Stick with your Grocery List
This has become my number 1 rule of thumb. During the week, I write down and pick a maximum of two recipes that I’ll be prepping on Sunday. I write down a list of grocery items I need to get at the grocery store and I stick to it. So even if I see sale items or anything outside my list at the store, I won’t get it because I know I won’t get to cook it during that weekend. If you want to be frugal, you can also plan your meals around items that are on sale that week!
I also plan my days in advance. For example, Friday after work will be a grocery day, Saturday night will be prepping, chopping, washing all veggies and Sun is meal prep day.
Why it helps me: having a list will help me stay focused and not wasting money on buying items I don’t need for that week.
Rule #2: Stick with Simple, Easy Meals
I am a huge fan of simple but still delicious meals. Sure, during the week, I’d often crave a cheese cake or a home-made cookie or a fancy steak salad. With that being said, making a fancy steak salad or cheese cake could cost me more calories that I would need and more time in the kitchen. So I always like to stick with my staple, pantry ready items like baked salmon, or steamed green beans and fresh fruits.
It is also beneficial to choose meals that are simple but also has longevity to last the entire week.
Here are some of my recommendations that I used in my meal prep:
- Proteins: Chicken breast, Salmon or Tofu
- Carbs: brown rice, quinoa, steam rice, pasta, etc.
- Greens: Steam green beans, Saute Kale, Spinach, Brussel Sprouts, Roasted Veggies, etc
Why it helps me: having simple, easy meals not only saves time, but also encourages me to eat well and stay healthy with my food choices.
Rule #3: Cook in Large Batch – Pick Two Main Recipes
I used to struggle and run out of food during midweek because of not making enough and not planning ahead of time. If you don’t mind eating two meals during the work week, this might work for you.
I’d do a large batch of two recipes and save it during the week for lunch and dinner.
Why it helps me: having large amounts of food will help me saves money but also reduce food waste. Write down your menu and post it in the kitchen. Too many varieties will slow you down and make meal prep stressful.
For example, I’d prep one meal for lunch and a different one for dinner. If I cook salmon for dinner with veggies, then I’d do shredded chicken with a different vegetable. Then I’d have a few veggies on hand just in case I want to switch it up.
Rule #4: Keep at least 1 freezer meal ready in the freezer.
Having a freezer meal on days that you ran out of food. If there’s nights when you won’t be home on time, you still can have an ease of mind because you can pop that freezer meal in the instant pot (or slow cooker) before you leave for work and meal’s ready when you get home.
Why it helps me: make my meal time easier and save me money from ordering out. Win-win!
Rule #5: Prepping, Chopping the Day Before
Wash produces and chop them the day before will help you save time when Sunday rolls around. You already have everything in the fridge and ready to go.
Why it helps me: it helps me to save time and also energy from running around washing produces and cleaning up the kitchen.
Rule #6: Become Multitasking Maniac
It takes practice but it’ll help you become more efficient and will make meal prepping an enjoyable process. For example, if I’m baking something in the oven, I’d clean up the dishes while waiting for the food in oven to be finished. I also use this time to do laundry, or watch a movie while cooking. Enjoy yourself and relax. You’ve got this!!
Why it helps me: save time, and also not feel overwhelmed by a messy kitchen by the time I finish.
Rule #7: Keep breakfast simple
I usually don’t meal prep breakfast. It’s usually boil eggs, oat meals for the hubby, two slices of bread with butter and fresh fruits.
Why it helps me: simple breakfast will help me move fast on hectic mornings. All I have to do is grab some fruits, some yogurt and I’m ready to go.
Rule #8: Be creative
Simple doesn’t mean boring. I cook shredded chicken tacos every week but it can also be served on tacos, salad, or with rice. I also keep sauces like hummus, cilantro or salsa in hands to serve with vegetables to avoid same meal fatigue. Possibilities are endless.
Why it helps me: it helps me to feel the meal is unique and not get so bored with eating the same thing over and over.
I hope these tips will help you become more efficient in meal prepping. If you have any questions, or comments or any tips on how to be better at meal prepping, I’d love to hear.
Now let’s go and tackle those meals this weekend!!!