The Magic of Meal Prepping
My mom packed my lunch until I was probably 6, and then she was like, “You’re on your own kid.” While I may or may not be joking about when exactly my mom reared me to be a more self-sufficient human being, the fact that I continue this practice even as an adult tells us what she taught, stuck…and in the best way possible. My love for preparing in advance and cooking in general has led to my commitment to using less dishes, not eating the same meals for 8 days after I cook them and increasing my overall efficiency and pleasure in meal preparation.
So, let’s start at the top! When did packing a lunch turn into ‘meal prepping’? I always get the, “How hard has it been for you to meal prep,” when they see my to-go boxes filled with yummy leftovers. Guys the jig is up! Meal prepping does not have to be as complicated as it sounds. In fact, I’d like to share with you how we can simplify the process.
- Don’t grocery shop in the same day you plan to meal prep. No-brainer, right? Well, just in case it wasn’t, let this piece of advice sink in. Meal prep definitely has an element of planning ahead and if you succeed at doing this, you’re almost guaranteed not to play yourself when it comes time to actually cook. Completing these two pieces of the puzzle together is like working another full time job in a day. So, try getting yourself excited about the dishes you want to make on Pinterest in the middle of the week, grocery shop on a Friday or Saturday and cook on Sunday!
- Speaking of the grocery store, buy healthy snacks and ‘I ain’t got the time today’ meals! There is nothing worse than packing a delicious meal and feeling prepared, but it’s not quite enough to hold you over to the next meal. That’s where keeping your bag handy with protein/granola bars, water and fruits & veggies will make you feel like ‘You won!’Not to mention those days where you spent all night watching the Real Housewives of Whatever Land instead of cooking like you were supposed to do. I keep tuna, crackers and quick & interesting salad items in my arsenal at all times. I can never calculate those days where I worked a little too late or caught a wave of laziness, so it’s great to have this as a back-up.
- Let’s try not to cook 21 meals in one day guys. You will hate yourself in the end and never want to do it again. In order to make this process more digestible, I recommend that you prepare no more than 3 dishes at a time.That’s 6 meals that you can ration for 3-4 days if you play it smart!
- Efficiency is key in making this a painless process. Choose dishes that can cook at the same time, require less prep work and possibly some that might be able to be frozen later. So instead of doing all 3 compartment meals (i.e. baked chicken, rice & veggies) try mixing it up! Personally, I love to get a good crockpot of chili going while roasting vegetables and potatoes and cooking rice and bean burgers on the stove-top. From start to finish, it should take about 2.5 to 3 hours to get your meals together. That’s over EIGHT meals cooked for one person. I’m in heaven just thinking about not cooking for the rest of the work week.
All in all, don’t overthink it. Of course, there is planning, but if you break down the goal into smaller tasks, it makes the process less worrisome.Turn on your favorite playlist and turn your kitchen into a sanctuary…a place you’ll want to return to every week. If you want to see what kind of dishes I rotate between on a weekly basis, make sure you sign up here for all of the newest stories, news and updates!