Meal planning 101 – how to meal prep!
I get the question about meal planning and preparation all the time. All the time. For good reason! Preparation (in any regard), is extremely beneficial to our success. It helps us stay consistent and keeps us on a more direct, mindful path. When we’re prepared, we’re less likely to make poor decisions or make excuses for why we weren’t able to commit.
Along the same discussion, I usually get the question, how do you meal prep?
To some, it seems a little overwhelming. “Meal prep” is often times seen as being boring (eating the same food over and over again), time consuming (spending hours in the kitchen) and bland or tasteless (dry chicken breasts and frozen vegetables). Which is simply untrue.
Meal preparation can be easy, quick and delicious. I feel like I’ve perfected my own meal prep. I can get in and out of the kitchen in under an hour and a half and have delicious meals ready for the next several days. I look forward to all my meals, because I know they’re tasty, nutritious and what I want to be eating.
So, I want to share with you my meal planning and prep!
Meal Planning 101
- Figure out what you want to eat
- Sounds easy enough right? A few days before the weekend (I prep on Sundays), I go through some of my favorite food blogger’s sites and decide what I’m feeling and what looks good. I will either print the recipe or save it in my Evernote app.
- Make a list
- I take the recipes I’m planning on recreating and mark down all the ingredients I will need (and don’t already have on hand). That starts my grocery list.
- Next, I fill in the staples: I start my grocery list with breakfast ingredients (coffee, eggs, coconut milk, organic sausage), move to lunch (some kind of protein, vegetables, fruit), dinner (recipe ingredients or similar to lunch needs), and then snacks (bars, jerky, protein smoothie fixin’s, etc.)
- I may be a little OCD when doing this, but I make my grocery list in the order I walk the grocery store. I start right>left and follow the outside (health market, protein, produce, cashier). This helps me from aimlessly walking around the store.
- After I make my grocery list, I browse the store’s weekly ad. I highlight anything on my list that’s on sale.
- Conquer the store!
- Follow the list. Stay to the outside (away from the pre-packaged stuff) and bring your recyclable bags (not only are they a plus for the environment, let’s be honest … they’re so much bigger and more efficient, too)
- Prep time
- This is where it can get overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be! You’ve planned accordingly, you have the ingredients, now it’s time to get busy.
- Turn on your favorite gangster rap … or country music (it’s either or)
- Preheat the oven
- While you wash and chop your vegetables – cook your protein
- Once protein is done, cook your vegetables. I usually throw them all into a big roasting pan, toss with olive oil salt and pepper and throw into the oven. It’s easy and quick and delicious.
- With the oven hot, I also throw in some sweet potatoes or chopped plantains. The cooking time is about the same as my vegetables
- While vegetables roast, I cook anything else (like some kale), wash some dishes (to keep up with the dirty ones), or start on my recipe!
- I assemble my weekly recipe while I already have food cooking in the oven – gives me enough time and I’m already movin’ and scootin’ in the kitchen.
- Finally, if that recipe needs to be cooked (or maybe it doesn’t) I’ll make sure to wash the dishes before I leave the kitchen. It’s truly the last thing I want to do, but once it’s done, I’m so happy it is.
- Lastly, I’ll store all my food in large glass containers. I won’t portion things out, instead, I’ll just pick and assemble the day of. This keeps foods different and interesting and I can mix and match and try different combinations when I’m feeling something a little different.
What’s my prep look like? Here’s this week’s prep:
Roasted brussel sprouts and roasted plantains. Cooked in two separate dishes, but at the same time!
Cooked some ground grass-fed beef on the stove top, then used the same pan (and juices) to cook some kale!
Tossed some chopped sweet potatoes with olive oil and added them to the hot oven with my vegetables and plantains.
Prepped my egg loaf recipe while the vegetables were roasting. Once the vegetables were done, I switched them out and cooked the egg loaf.
My meal planning essentials:
roasting pan // for roasting all my vegetables, starches and chickens glass containers // safe, clean storage for all my prepped food nuwave oven // uses infared heat to cook, keeps the oven off (especially during the summer!) and cooks everything super fast
What’s your meal planning look like? I’d love to hear it!