Meal prepping has been the biggest lifesaver for me recently. I haven’t been in the mood to do any cooking that requires effort. Having everything ready to go is the difference between eating a satisfying meal at home or ordering take out five nights a week. I love knowing as soon as I get hungry I have food ready for me. A couple of months ago I signed up for Workweek Lunch, and it’s made all the difference. They provide two breakfasts, three dinners, and a database of over 400 recipes every week. All of the meals can be reheated and store well, but I tend to mostly make the dinners fresh.
My meal prepping begins on Thursday. I sit down and plan out all of the meals I want to have the next week, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert. For breakfast, I use the two meals provided to me. Lunch is usually a combination of rolled turkey, hard-boiled egg, almonds, and yogurt. Snacks are foods like fruit, smoothies, and pretzels with hummus. And finally, dinner includes:
- 3 meals from Workweek Lunch
- 1 other meal
- 1 “free” day where we decide what we’re in the mood for that day
- 1 eat out day
- 1 leftover day
I find if I am too rigid and try to plan all of my dinners for the week, I am less likely to actually eat the food I plan to eat. I set a day for all of the meals, but don’t stick to it. If I planned to have bourbon chicken and rice on Wednesday, but I’m in the mood for take-out, I get take out and have the bourbon chicken later in the week. The idea is to reduce stress and make sure food is ready to go, not force yourself to eat something you’re not in the mood for.
Once all of the meals are planned, I use my list to order food on Instacart to be picked up on Friday or Saturday. I also go to Costco every other week for produce, meat, and whatever else we are running low on that we buy in bulk (such as tortilla shells and pasta sauce).
Sunday is usually my prep day. I open all of the recipes for the week and
- Cut up the vegetables I need for the week
- Defrost meat
- Wash fruit
- Make hard-boiled eggs
- Pre-make my breakfast
- Bake dessert (I’m currently baking my way through the Nestle cookbook)
I prefer to have our dinners fresh, but having the veggies ready to go is LIFE CHANGING! It cuts my cooking time in half. Seriously, if nothing else, try it. When it’s time to make dinner, I grab everything I need, throw it all together, and it’s ready to be cooked and eaten. If you haven’t tried meal prepping, now’s the time! Yes, it can feel daunting and be time-consuming at first, but the more you do it easier it becomes, and eventually, you’ll find you never want to go a week without it.