Meal Planning Week 7 talks about meal prepping. To save you time, money, and eat healthier.
Alright, we got you set up with some meals packed with delicious and easy recipes for your family. We have talked about the importance of a stocked pantry. Then we talked about using your freezer as an extension of your pantry. Now, we’re going to take all this grocery list, menu plan, inventory stuff to good use and meal prep!
What is meal prepping?
Well, in my head you’re prepping meals for the week. Cutting veggies and prepare your meats or marinades. Then packaging it all up in a zip top baggie for easy meals. Sort of like your typical subscription meal plan only it’s cheaper, healthier, and the portions are what you make them.
For some, that’s cooking up some ingredients or some proteins to eat throughout the week. Some people just cook up a big pot of soup or pasta and eat that all week. Some people cook up a chicken and use that meat for salads, sandwiches, pizzas, enchiladas, etc. I did something similar when I cooked up a pork butt roast. There is so much you can do with both a roasted chicken and a pork butt.
Either way, you’re making your life easier for weeknight meals. If you want to package it all together like they do in the subscription boxes, feel free to do that. I prefer to use container and stack them up together in the fridge. That is when I meal prep. I will confess I am horrible at it. And I’m writing this post more for me than for you.
Why should I meal prep?
You save money. No subscription boxes, eating out because you’re too tired to cook dinner, or stopping for something on the way home. The meal is ready to be cooked. Just need to take the 30 or so minutes to cook it up. Don’t get me wrong, we order in one day a week because it’s a relief for me to not have to cook every night of the week. But that’s a planned meal, too.
Prepping meals saves times. Yes, I know. You spend a few hours on the weekend prepping the meals and sometimes it doesn’t seem like it. But when you’re tired, it’s been a long day, and you want nothing more than order in you remember. Oh yeah! I prepped a meal for dinner and it will only take a few minutes to cook up. Win win! No extra money spent on ordering in and a healthy dinner on the table in the quick.
And since you’re not ordering in you’re eating healthier. You can even plan for healthier meals now that you have them all prepped to cook. It also allows you to portion control better when you’re prepare your meals ahead of time. Measure out the protein, carbs, and veggies for the best ration for your family. Don’t like carbs? Up the protein. LOVE carbs, monitor protein and cut back on the fat intake. Either way, you’re controlling what your family eats making it for a healthier meal.
How meal prep works.
I’m sure meal prep works different for each person. First, you have to do some prep work. Make a checklist of all the things you hope to accomplish during your session. Now, that doesn’t mean you’re going get all that stuff done. So, don’t get discouraged if you don’t. Just go with the flow and try to get as much accomplished as possible.
You’ve heard, “Cook once eat twice or three times”, right? So, for meal prep that means if you have peppers or onions in more than one recipe for the week chop them all together and separate them out. The same with meats. If you’re serving up chicken more than once, like we always do, then prep it all at once and package it separately.
Set a timer for your meal prep session. You don’t want to get overwhelmed. So, set a timer and try as much done in that time as possible on the weekend. And whatever you don’t get done, so be it! You can either schedule another session later or just prep and cook on the same day for those.
Check your containers!
Now, I would prefer you not to use single use plastics unless you have to. Try investing in some quality containers. I always get some new containers for black Friday. Last year it was nice Rubbermaid containers. And this year new Rubbermaid container with tight fitting leads that attach to the bottom of the containers.
I hate losing lids or not being able to find them. Or have more lids than bottoms or vice versa. Such a pain. If you start with quality containers with matching lids then meal prep is easy for you. Heck, you could even get fancy and color code them based on the lids for every night of the week. Just throwing out suggestions.
Embrace the weekday time savings.
Seriously. Take some time for yourself. Or spend some extra time with the kids helping with their schooling. Sit down and have a glass of wine with the hubs. Or just binge watch a show in the time it would take you to prep for dinner.