On Saturdays I plan for what meals I’m going to prep Sunday. So, for my first post (and because it’s Saturday), I’ll spill all my
secrets tips on how to meal prep effectively and efficiently.
Step #1: Decide what meals you think you’ll want to eat for the next week.
Sometimes this is hard to do, but use Pinterest (link to my meal prep board) or Instagram as inspiration! Another good place to get meal inspiration are from those fun videos all over Facebook like Tasty. I usually think of 1 breakfast option, 2-3 lunch/dinner options, and 4-5 snack options. So, this week here is what I am having:
Breakfast: Protein pancakes with strawberries and almond butter
Lunch: Turkey burgers (I’ll post a recipe later) with sweet potatoes and broccoli
Dinner: Garlic Chicken Veggie Pasta
Snacks: I like to have a variety because I never know what I’ll be in the mood for. This week I’m doing: hard boiled eggs, cheese and pretzels, bananas, energy bites (recipe to come soon), carrots with hummus, and cottage cheese.
I make enough B/L/D for 5 days, my snacks usually last me through the weekend because I don’t end up eating everything I take in my lunchbox but I always like being prepared for when Mr. Hangry strikes. Also, depending on my workout schedule, I may switch up the lunch and dinner so I am eating carbs the night before leg day or the day of cardio for example. I also always have salad on hand incase I want a side salad with a meal or if the item I made doesn’t sound great at the time, I have a backup.
Step #2: Pull up all recipes and start making your list
I usually write all of the recipes down that I don’t know on a piece of paper so I can just have that in the kitchen with me instead of using my laptop during cooking because knowing me, I’d spill liquid all over it.. Then, I go through and see what ingredients I do and don’t have so I know what I need to buy at the store.
Step #3: Organizing the grocery list (Skip to step 4 if you aren’t OCD)
Because I can’t function without organization, I organize my grocery list by department of the grocery store (you can laugh, I can’t see you). And because I enjoy sprinkling organization in everyone’s lives, I have created this handy tool for you HERE. Enjoy an organized grocery store trip…well, unless you have kids.. eek!!
P.S. This is a big time saver, especially if you know the layout of the store you typically go to.
Step #4: Go grocery shopping
I don’t think I need to explain how to do this but if you don’t know..
- Get in your…
But, on a side not, if you want to be eco-friendly, take your own reusable shopping bags! They’re sturdier, hold more groceries, and you’re helping the environment. Win-win!
Step #5: Ready to meal prep
(These tips will help you save time in the kitchen. P.S. make sure everything is thawed before you start. So, take that into consideration when you’re planning on what time you’re going to start cooking)
The order in which I prep is different every week, depending on what I have on the menu. When I’m ready to start cooking I think of what will take the longest to make because obviously that needs to start first. If I’m baking chicken, salmon, or anything with potatoes, I always get going on that and preheat my oven as soon as I walk in the door. This week I’m not making anything that really takes that long to cook but I’ll start my pasta meal first so the pasta has time to cool before putting it into containers.
I’ll begin by chopping vegetables for the pasta and burgers and since I’m chopping vegetables first, I’ll take care of portioning my snacks at the same time. Usually I do that last but I would rather chop everything at once than multiple times. Again…time saver!
You’re probably thinking but “Taylor, you’re making sweet potatoes, turn your oven on!” Hang tight… I’m trying a new method this week!
While the pasta dish is cooking, I’ll start mixing up the ingredients for the turkey burgers and forming patties. I’ll also put my eggs in my Instant Pot to start cooking. They’ll be done in
15 5 minutes and be absolutely perfect. And then I’ll throw in the sweet potatoes to cook in the Instant Pot too! I love my Instant Pot so much, I’ll probably do an entire post just on it sometime.
Next, I’ll cook my turkey patties, and while those are in the skillet, I’ll mix the ingredients for the protein pancakes. If the turkey burgers aren’t all done yet I’ll flip burgers and pancakes simultaneously (iHop/Burger King combo…hmmm). Again… time saver!
My last item to prepare will be the energy bites. They can be a little time consuming but since I’m only prepping for myself this week I won’t have to make a large batch. My boyfriend loves them so I make a lot when I prep for both of us.
Step #6: Prepping snacks
For my snacks I’m not as eco-friendly because I portion single servings into snack size baggies. I put 1-2 eggs in baggies (usually a mid-morning snack and pre-workout if I’m lifting weights), I portion 1 serving of pretzels in baggies and add 1 oz of cheese to it when I pack my lunch in the mornings, 1/2 cup cottage cheese servings, 1/2 cup carrots with 2-3 Tbsp hummus, bananas, and 1-2 energy bites.
I don’t eat 1 serving of each of these snacks every day!! I just like to have a variety of options. I pack 2-3 snacks with my lunch: mid-morning, afternoon and before I workout.
Step #7: Pack your lunch
This is the easiest step! When you wake up in the mornings and you’re crunched for time, you just have to grab a few containers out of the fridge, throw them in your bag and run! Unless you forget your coffee, always turn around for that!
Here is a chronological list of the order of preparation if you prefer that and don’t want to read through all my babbling 🙂
- Chop fruits and vegetables/cook pasta
- Garlic chicken veggie pasta and eggs
- Turkey burgers and sweet potatoes
- Finish prepping snacks and salads in containers
- Portion all meals into containers
- Store in the fridge for up to 5 days
Enjoy and good luck to you in your meal prep endeavors!
Questions or comments?
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org