Meal planning and preparation were hard for me to incorporate into my weekly routine. Though I’m not entirely sure why, because, really, it’s not that hard. It just takes a little bit of time and the more you do it, the more efficient you become! Now, I am able to look forward to having extra time during the week that I would have otherwise spent in the kitchen.
Part of the reason this works so well for us is that we don’t mind eating the same foods all week. It’s that whole “eat to live – don’t live to eat” thing. So, I’ll usually decide on the following for each week:
- 3 main dishes for lunch and dinner
- 2 breakfasts
- 2 snacks
- fruits and veggies
We do our best to focus on eating real food – when you can read all ingredients AND recognize them. I also try to make my meals gluten-free and dairy-free, because I feel SO much better when I eat that way! Clean Food Crush, 100 Days of Real Food, and the Minimalist Baker are some of the my favorite resources.
Once I choose my recipes, I do a quick inventory of what we have for ingredients, then make my shopping list. Not only does this save time when I’m at the store, but it saves us money too! I am not aimlessly roaming the grocery store aisles or running out mid-week for last minute ingredients.
Preparation also allows us to do a lot of our shopping at Costco, which is awesome. We have their Visa card, so we get 2% cash back on anything we spend there. It’s a win-win! (note: we have a credit card strictly as a tool to earn cash back; it’s treated like a debit card and paid off every month)
Anyway, back to food! Once the shopping is all done. I set aside 2-3 hours (usually Sunday afternoon) and cook everything! We’ll also chop up any fresh fruits and veggies , too. When it’s all done, we portion everything out into individual containers that we store in the fridge and freezer. It makes weekday mornings a breeze!
Like I said, this does require some up-front effort, but, it is SO WORTH IT! Don’t let it overwhelm you. Start small, choose simple recipes, and soon enough, you’ll be a meal prep expert!
Here’s what we prepared for this week. We were in the kitchen about 2.5 hours.
- chocolate almond butter protein bites
- quinoa “taco” meat with black beans
- egg and veggie scramble
- roasted potatoes
- chicken sausages
- roasted cauliflower and broccoli
- baked potatoes
- oatmeal pancakes
- turkey and avocado wraps
- berry/banana/spinach smoothies
- apples and baby carrots