Weekends are all about prep for me. Its a time to prep my mind for another busy work week by finding ways to restore and relax. Its time to prep my to do list for both work and personal items to complete during the week. Over coffee on weekend mornings I love looking at Pinterest and reading my favorite cooking magazines. Then its time to make a meal list for the week and hit the grocery store or farmer’s market. In addition to planning out meals I try to do also do food prep that will help make lunch and dinners a bit quicker and easier all week long.
Here’s a few tips for prepping food & planning out meals;
- Plan out your meals – Look at your schedule and figure out how many meals you’ll need. Be realistic about how many meals you can prep in one day and how many meals you’ll need during the week. Build your food plan around meals that can build off each other. For example leftover ground beef from Tuesday night tacos can be used in soup on Wednesday.
- Prep ingredients in advance – When you get home from the grocery store or farmer’s market prep as many ingredients as you can. Wash your produce and even cut up fruits and vegetables into portions and sizes that will make them easy to eat quickly throughout the week.
- Cook ingredients – One of my favorite tricks is cooking food like ground beef or turkey, shredded chicken or Mom’s Italian beef and having them on hand for multiple meals all week long. Ground meat is ready for lasagna and shredded chicken ready for salads and tacos. A huge batch of black beans and brown rice can be used in more recipes than you can think of.
- Double your recipes – If you take the time to make a special meal – try doubling the recipe to freeze or eat later in the week. I’ve gotten in the habit of any time I bake lasagna, mac & cheese or make any kind of meat to always make more than I need for that meal.
- Make the freezer your friend – Pinterest is full of great freezer meals that can be easily thawed out and heated or thrown into the Crockpot. My favorite freezer tricks are making smoothie bags filled with spinach, berries and bananas that can be easily put in the blender with some juice or milk. Once a month I make a huge batch of breakfast burritos stuffed with cheese, egg, bacon, turkey and veggies. I roll them up in foil and bring some to my office for those mornings when I don’t have time to eat at home. These egg cups freeze really well too. If you double a recipe try freezing individual portions into Tupperware for a much healthier and satisfying version of a TV dinner.
- Portion out snacks and meals – To make lunches easier I like to place snacks like carrots and peppers in baggies ready to grab on my way to work. Making a few salads in advance and putting dressing into small containers to toss on top later makes healthy lunches super simple.
What other tricks are you using for food prep and meal planning?