If you’re not prepping your meals for the week ahead, then you’re probably wasting a lot of time and money…and maybe even food.
You’re probably wasting time figuring out what to eat every day, trying to come up with good ideas and running to the supermarket every other day because you’re missing ingredients.
Maybe you’re even wasting a lot of the food you buy because you end up buying too much food, which goes bad so you have to throw it out.
You’re probably also wasting money if you end up eating out a lot. When you’re buying food here and there, you’re probably spending 2-3 times more on a meal that you could easily make and prepare at home.
I honestly love to prepare meals for the week ahead. I usually only prep my lunches to eat in the office, but if I were really smart and efficient, I’d also prep my breakfasts and dinners. But (sigh), I have yet to get there.
Prepping your meals for the week is also a great thing to do if you’re single or generally only cooking for 1-2 persons, which can be tough to do when you’re just cooking one meal at a time.
Cooked or prepped food will last for a week in the fridge without any problem.
So, to prep…you’ll need:
Containers: Tupperware boxes, glass jars or even reusable bags.
A good and simple meal plan: Make a list of all the foods/meals that you like to eat, that are easy to make and don’t requiere a lot of ingredients. Pick 5-7 meals that you want to prep for the week. If you don’t want to eat the same every day, see if you can use the same ingredients with some variety to make 2-3 different types of meals. You can e.g mix one type of protein with veggies and rice/pasta/quinoa/noodles/tortilla wrap as your variable carb. Or have the same carb with different protein sources. Or one carb and one protein mixed with different veggies.
A shopping list: Use your meal plan to create a shopping list and go shopping… be realistic with how much food you actually need to buy. Consider if you also need to prep snacks and add that to your shopping list.
3-4 hours in the kitchen: Wash, peel, cut, cook, fry, bake… Cook large batches and then divide everything up in equal sized portions in your containers.
Space in your fridge and/or freezer: Store your containers in your fridge/freezer and just grab a meal a day to enjoy for breakfast, lunch, snacks and/or dinner.
A cool bag: If you’re on the road a lot during the day and need to bring your meal prepped lunch & snacks with you, I’d recommend buying a cooler bag and freezer packs so you can keep your food cool during the day.
Depending on how many meals you’re prepping, I’d say that you would need about 1 hour to make your meal plan and shopping list, another hour to go shopping (it usually takes me about an hour including the drive to and from the supermarket…if I can get all my groceries in one place), and 3-4 hours in the kitchen to cook everything.
If you’re prepping your lunches and you don’t have access to a kitchen with a stove/microwave/oven/toaster, then you definitely need to prep meals that you can eat cold (salads, sandwiches, wraps, etc.). Otherwise, you’re fine with prepping hot meals which you might even also use for dinner.
If you take half a day on your next day off, make your meal plan the night before, go to the supermarket first thing in the morning (as soon as they open), then you should be able to come home and prep all of your meals for the week ahead AND be done sometime around lunch so you’ll still have the whole day left to relax….
Once you get into the habit of prepping your meals, you’ll (hopefully) be so happy about the time and money that you’re saving and the stress that you’ll be taking out of your life.