Let’s talk about meal prepping. Some look at meal prepping as a tedious adventure. However, if you start small I feel you will see that it isn’t as bad as what you think. Everyone does meal prepping differently. Explore what works for you and build on that!
If you’re serious about meal planing, here are a few things you should do:
1.Write down your grocery list.
This will take some time, but I write out each meal i’m making for the week and then all the ingredients that I use for them. Then, at the end make one condensed list. Now you won’t have to worry if you have enough ingredients for all of your meals while shopping.
2. Make sure you have enough containers.
I know- no brainer, right? wrong. It’s disappointing when you’re trying to fit 2 cups of protein into a container that only fits one. Amazon has some really good choices for containers. Opt for glass ones, easy to clean and re heat.
3. Watch your proteins.
Not every protein is created equal, and not all proteins keep as long as others. I prep for three or four nights when using chicken or pork, but will only take fish or steak if it’s for lunch or dinner the next day.
4. Use cooking methods that maximize your efforts.
If I have a slower week, I like to bake or roast my proteins, and then throw a bunch of different veggies in at the end. While they roast I can make salads, peel eggs and do all of the other prepping, which cuts my kitchen time in half!
5. Embrace your crock pot!
I LOVE my crock pot! I use my crock pot 5/7 days. Dinners are so much easier when you can set it and forget it, and come home to a gorgeous pot of dinner! You can make all kinds of soup and you can also roast whole chickens! Yes, whole chickens! You can also use your crockpot to make large batches of shredded chicken, beef, or pork that can be used in recipes all week. Not to mention, freezer meals!
5. Shop specifically to save money.
My weekly grocery list is a direct correlation to the meals I am are planning for the week. I know I need 6 eggs to make hardboiled eggs for snacks, 3 chicken breasts for lunch and dinner, and so on and so forth. Because I have a list and I only go looking for those items, I significantly reduce the number of impulse buys I used to make, most of which were starchy, processed snacks I didn’t need anyway. This is huge- especially if you shop at Meijer ;)
6. Shop for left overs.
If I know my week is extremely busy, I will make a double batch of dinner to use for lunch the next day. This is a life jacket that you need to grab on to if you’re having a busy week and are feeling overwhelmed with dinner and lunches.
Here are a few things I do NOT recommend if you are new to meal prepping:
1. Do not try to plan every meal.
2. Do not try new recipes in bulk.
3. Do not forget to check your fridge before you make your list.
I cannot tell you how much my crock pot has helped me. INVEST IN SLOW COOKER LINERS!
Here are a few EASY recipes that you can do.
Sausage, bell peppers & Onions
1–2 lbs uncooked or smoked sausage
3 bell peppers, sliced ( I used different colors to make it more pretty)
1 onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
15 ounces diced or crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp of oregano
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Add all the ingredients, still well. High for 2-3 hours or Low for 4 hours
Add brown rice if desired.
Ranch Chicken Dinner
2 slices Bacon
1 1/2 lb Chicken breasts thawed
2 cans Green beans
5 Potatoes (quartered)
1 packet Ranch dressing seasoning mix
Add all the ingredients. Cook on Low for 4.5 hours