Tips & Tricks for Meal Prepping
Meal prepping used to give me so much anxiety. Just the thought of the sheer amount of food I'd be cooking all at once was intimidating, but over time I've learned some fun ways to make it more efficient and to make me appreciate the whole process.
Plan, Plan, Plan:
Keeping a folder on my google drive just for my weekly meal planning has helped me in a big way. I can always reference past meals so trying to get creative every week seems less daunting. The other great thing about google drive, you can access it ANYWHERE. So when I get to the grocery store I open my app and go straight to that week's plan and my grocery list is right there. It's so helpful when you're in a rush and takes out the whole 'forgetting your list' problem.
Every Saturday or Sunday morning I will go through the week and plan 2-3 lunches and 4-5 dinners. For the lunches I just make extra so I can eat those meals a couple of times through the week. Once I have my plan roughed out, I update my shopping list so that everything I need is right on the same Google Drive sheet as my weekly plan. I do this in case I forget anything, I can quickly scroll up to the meals I've planned while at the grocery store and just double check I have everything.
Pick a Day to Prep and Make it Consistent:
I used to meal prep 'when I had time', which really meant it never got done. During football season one year I realized I could meal prep while I was watching the earlier games on Sundays and well, it stuck. Every Sunday (or Monday if I have a 3-day weekend), I meal prep for the week. Having this done on a weekend makes my week nights much less stressful because I can come home from work to meals that are already pre-portioned and throw it all together then hit the gym.
Learn to Love the Crockpot Craze:
My crockpot is my best friend when doing my meal prep because it allows me to prep multiple meals at the same time. I always start with my crockpot meal and then work on the others from there, that way whatever is going on in there can slow cook while I chop veggies, bake chicken, or whatever else is needed in the meantime.
This might seem a bit extreme, but as you get in the habit of meal prepping, try to prep everything, even your snacks. I am notorious for over-eating, especially if I'm eating while I work. So I set aside 20-30 minutes of my meal prepping time and measure out servings sizes for my snacks and put them into their own containers. If you still have a bunch of veggies on Thursday, throw them all together and make a stir fry. It'll be quick and easy because you already took the time to chop everything earlier in the week!
Start a Pinterest Recipe Board:
Pinterest is a great source of fun recipes and you can search by diet type, cooking method type (i.e. crockpot meals), or even by type of food (i.e. Italian, French). Whenever you're sitting around watching TV, head over to Pinterest and pin a few things that look good to you. Then when you're planning your meals for the week and desperate for inspiration, head over to your Pinterest board and pick out a recipe or two to try out for that week.