Meal prepping doesn’t have to be a chore or take all day. When you plan ahead and take some time to outline your meals, you’ll find that following your eating plan is much easier and stress free! Follow these simple steps and you’ll have healthy meals ready to go all week long.
1. Look at your weekly grocery store sales flyer and outline your menu for the week.
I plan all of my meals based on what’s on sale. I have several go-to meals that I know my family loves that will also fit into my diet plan. Then you can figure out what to make for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. It helps to generally eat the same meals each day with some minor changes to keep from getting bored.
Here is a sample of what a typical week looks like for me. I usually keep my meals and snacks the same and just alter them each week. It makes prepping and logging much easier.
2. Simple Foods + Similar Meals = Easy Planning
While eating the same thing each day can get boring, you need to think of food as fuel and also get creative with spices and condiments. For example, Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel Spice is what I use on my egg whites in the morning to give them some zing. I also live by McCormick Grill Mates Smokehouse Maple Spice for my veggies. It tastes amazing on broccoli, cauliflower and string beans. I even have my 15-year-old son using it.
3. Create shopping list
I typically order my groceries online from ShopRite. It’s the best spent $10 in the time and stress that it save me. I’m able to shop from a list and use coupons, which helps you stay on track, save money and save your precious time and sanity. Your shopping list should include all of the items you will need for all of your meals. I typically shop online Saturday night and pick up my order Sunday morning or early afternoon. Then I spend 60-90 minutes prepping once I pick up my order.
4. Get out all of your essential prep tools.
Once you get your order, dig out all of the tools and gadgets you will need to prepare for the week. This includes food scale, containers, labels or post-its, spices and be sure to clear out some room in the fridge.
5. Cook or prep food to be cooked.
Now you don’t necessarily have to cook all of your food ahead of time, but you can if you want to. What I do is prepare all of my meals and keep them refrigerated so I can just pop them in the oven and have dinner ready to go within 30 minutes of walking in the door. For example, crockpot meals can be put in the crockpot (or instapot) and then into the fridge for whenever that meal comes up during the week. I like to buy frozen bags of veggies that can easily be microwaved at home for dinner or at work if I include them for lunch. It’s easy to roast mass quantities of chicken, vegetables and potatoes. But you can also just have them ready to go into the over. For example, another staple meal is sheet pan chicken fajitas. I slice up the chicken, peppers and onions, coat them in fajita mix and put them on a sheet pan. Then cover and leave in the fridge until that meal is needed.
While this may take some time at first, once you get the hang of it, meal-prepping becomes second nature and just another part of your routine.