Meal prepping has a lot of benefits: home cooked food is almost always healthier, less expensive and allows you to control the ingredients and portions.
But working ahead on food for the week can be intimidating and overwhelming. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. First, make a meal plan.
To start, write out 3 possible dinners you would like to cook and something for lunch. Fill in your week with nights of leftovers, eating out or throw together meals like eggs so you have every day covered.
Making a batch of soup or a large quinoa salad for the week is a good way to prepare for lunches.
If those dinner meals take more time than you will have, what can you do ahead? Prep some of the veggies? Thaw meat? Mix up a sauce or dressing?
2. Start with one hour.
Could you carve out one hour from your weekend? Maybe Sunday afternoon?
Have a list of the 3-4 meals for the week. Is quinoa or brown rice a side dish? You can make those in advance and easily reheat or steam with a bit of added water.
Start with the one thing that takes the longest. Put the sweet potatoes in the oven or vegetables to roast and then spend the majority of the hour making your soup for lunch or dinner recipe.
3. Batch cook
When you roast veggies, do two pans instead of one. When cooking rice or quinoa, make double so you have it for the whole week or to turn into fried rice or a quinoa veggie side dish later.
4. Cook once, eat twice
Be flexible with leftovers and find ways to re-purpose food you have on hand. Leftover chicken and rice can top salad greens for lunch. Leftover roasted veggies can combine with quinoa and a can of chickpeas or tuna or a lunch option.
A few of my favorite recipes for meal prep:
Lemon Tahini Broccoli Slaw Salad Jars
5. Keep it simple
Start with the basics. What are foods you tend to run out of? Are you stuck at lunch? Cook quinoa or rice to throw over salads or top with leftovers.
Do you struggle to grab healthy snacks?
Chopping vegetables to have for snacking with hummus or washing and preparing fresh fruit is a great start. When you have healthy snacks that are ready to eat, you are much more likely to choose them!
Prepping healthy food and making good choices is the number one struggle I hear from women. I hear you!
I'm working on a group challenge for January where we can cheer each other on to meal prep and make healthier meals and snack.
How often do you meal plan or meal prep?