Updated: Feb 2
WHAT IS MEAL PREP AND HOW DO I START?
Growing up, my grandmother would prepare a large pot of Chili for the week for my siblings and I. We would get creative throughout the week to keep the meals exciting. A classic bowl of chili, chili cheese fries, chili over rice with avocado, or my favorite chili cheese Fritos. This types of dish planning would happen each week with a different protein freeing up my grandmother’s time while allowing us kids to let our creativity shine.
What is meal prepping? Meal prepping is preparing a variety of whole meals to last you throughout the week. I personally like the flexibility of meal prep. I can choose to prep for 7, 5 or 3 days based on my week. I can choose to prep breakfast and dinner or to prep 3 well balanced meals plus snacks. Do what works for you and your family. Read along for some helpful meal prepping tips.
Use What You Already Have
Start by doing a thorough inventory check of your pantry and refrigerator. When I started meal prepping I would skip this step and purchase items twice. When I finally started to skim my pantry I realized I had three unopened jars of peanut butter AND peanut butter was on my grocery list. How could I overlook something like THREE jars of peanut butter? Peanut butter is a non perishable but I have done this with avocados as well. We all are aware that avocados a "perfect" for about a day. Purchases like that made me feel like I was wasting time and money. That is why taking inventory is super crucial, no one wants to waste time and money!
Plan Your Menu
This is the fun part! Time to channel your inner Chopped contestant. You can be creative or simple, it is up to you. If you are new to meal prepping I recommend using basic recipes that don't contain too many ingredients but again, this is the fun part. Did you know that there are app to finding recipes for the ingredients you already have? Here are a few Big Oven, Allrecipes Dinner Spinner, and SuperCook.
Make A List
Having an idea of your inventory and creating a menu makes constructing a grocery list a little easier. I am sharing a printable Meal Plan and Grocery List with you guys. Once you get completely organized, you are going to love how much easier cooking, shopping, and meal planning is.
Choose a Specific day.
If you follow the hashtag #Mealprep on social media, you'll noticed that a lot people prep their meals on Sunday's. I understand why, you are setting yourself up for a successful week. Choose a specific date and allow yourself a few hours to make the meals.
BONUS TIP: Purchase your groceries a day or two before your planned meal prepping day. I am guilty of grocery shopping with so much enthusiasm just to get home and crash. Have you ever done this? If you choose to meal prep on Sunday, try to go to shopping on a Friday evening. Believe me, it’s a lot less crowded than Saturday’s and Sunday’s.
What will you store your meals in? When I began meal prepping, I used what I had. Mason jars and Pyrex storage containers that were gifted as housewarming gifts. After countless hours on Pinterest. I wanted what EVERYONE else were using and that was the 3 compartment plastic storage containers. (This was pre-ascetically pleasing mealprepping trend.) I ordered those plastic storage containers in bulk, I had enough containers to last a family of 10 for a year. I quickly regretted the purchase for three reasons:
-It lacked an airtight seal. My food would spoil quicker and spill during transportation.
-They became a single use plastic. I am not proud of this but since I had an abundant amount and they were plastic I would throw them away. (old Tikima was not as environmentally friendly as she is today.)
- Stackability. They were not as stackable as they were advertised to be.
I hope my tips are helpful to you. Are you an avid Meal Prepper? If so, I want to hear your tips to making the process a success?
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