Meal prepping is something that I have struggled with a lot, but am working on. I am that person who puts together a lunch in the morning with whatever can be found in the kitchen. I have learned a lot in the past few months about what works and doesn’t work for my family. Here are some tips and tricks for healthy and delicious meal prepping.
- Plan your meals before you grocery shop: I am guilty of grocery shopping and then having to go back out to the store because I didn’t get everything I needed for lunches. Depending on your schedule and location, you might only be able to get to the store once a week. Make sure you schedule the time to meal prep beforehand so you can save yourself time and money. Every time you go to the store is another opportunity to make unnecessary purchases. If you are working on your budgeting skills, try limiting the number of times that you go to the store and sticking to a list of needed supplies.
- Prep 3 days at a time: I feel like this is a manageable amount of prepping that can be done easily while the food maintains freshness. For us, meal prepping is easiest on Sunday and Wednesday evenings. On Sundays we make a crockpot meal such as soup or chili and section them into enough storage containers for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Then on Wednesday, we will food prep for Thursday and Friday with veggies (baby carrots and celery), hummus, peanut butter, and strawberries for example. You can switch up the crockpot meal, veggies, and fruit or do a spinach with chickpea salad.
- Use several different sized containers: We have reusable containers that we use regularly (mostly glass, but some plastic). This decreases our waste from plastic baggies. Using different sized containers to hold hummus, salad dressing, and other condiments, can keep your foods from getting soggy. And three days isn’t long enough to wilt vegetables in a covered container.
- Stock up on regularly used items: We usually stock up on things like chickpeas that we use frequently and have a long shelf-life. Check your local newspaper for sales in your area or get an app such as “Flipp” to find places to get the best deals on your favorite items. I even have the Walmart app that allows me to scan in receipts and if they find a better deal elsewhere, I am refunded the difference. I have actually gotten back money on that app on things that I normally would buy anyway! We purchase most of our food from Aldi and Wegmans, but I’m sure you can find awesome deals near you if you look closely. Planning ahead of time for meals can decrease your stress levels from doing it last minute and help you to find the best prices for what you need.
- Check Online: If you are struggling to figure out easy recipes for lunches, don’t be afraid to check out blogs, websites, and Pinterest to save the day! I love searching through blogs about people’s favorite recipes and can always find something that is both easy to prepare and vegan. Like I said earlier, crockpots are my favorite way to meal prep because it’s so easy. You can put it all together and just forget about it for hours. That’s my kind of cooking.
Take things three days at a time and before you know it, meal prepping will be a habit and a built-in part of your schedule. Planning your meals ahead of time helps to maintain a health diet at an affordable rate.
You got this.