The hardest part about weekly meal prep is getting myself into the kitchen on Sunday afternoon. Once I’m in the kitchen and pull out all my prep items, I am so glad I took that first step. It’s that way with a lot of things that require discipline, and the payoff is huge when we are able to eat healthier during the week with a lot less effort.
Why do I meal prep?
- I eat healthier when I meal prep. I will grab healthier snack options and lunch options when they are already done.
- Economies of scale…I waste less vegetables & fruit because I figure out how to use it all during the week. It also decreases the overall amount of time in the kitchen. Cutting up my fruits and vegetables for the week is faster than doing it on all 7 days of the week.
- I enjoy being in the kitchen, so I get my cooking/kitchen fix at the beginning of the week. I don’t feel cheated on work nights when I am too tired to enjoy the process.
- I love the sense of accomplishment knowing I have it all done for the week!
So what are my meal prep steps:
→ Mark your meal plan with items you plan on prepping for the week. Typical items for me include: fruit for breakfast & snacks, vegetables for salad, chicken for salads and meals requiring pre-cooked chicken, ground turkey, healthy dessert, scrambled egg whites for breakfast, smoothies, pre-portioned cottage cheese or other snacks, and other meals for lunches.
→ I put chicken in the crockpot in the morning so it’s done by my afternoon prep time. I cook it in chicken broth so it stays moist and shred or cut it for meals when it’s done.
→ Once you are in the kitchen for your prep, pull out all items that you plan on prepping.
→ Start with the items you need to bake or cook first, so you can prep fresh foods while it’s cooking. I usually start with the dessert since it requires the most prep and baking time.
→ I put portions in mason jars so they are easy to grab for lunches. I also prep any sides that go with the meal such as flour tortillas in individual baggies, lettuce and tomatoes in containers, sour cream etc.
→ Next, I work on cutting up lettuce and vegetables for mason jar salads and other lunch sides.
→ The last item I prep are any other snacks such as smoothies to be frozen or portioned out items like cottage cheese or hummus.
My meal prep time takes anywhere from 1-2 hours depending on how much variety I want for that week’s meal plan. The more variety, the longer the prep. I don’t meal prep every week, but I try to do it most of the time. If you don’t have time to do as much prep as I have outlined above, just do the items that take the longest or are the hardest to do during the week.