For a couple hours a week, I meal prep. It’s something I’ve actually come to enjoy. I usually put on some music, (sometimes pour a glass of wine too — when I’m not pregnant 😉 ), and prepare for a healthy week ahead. When I don’t make time to meal prep, I’m more likely to turn to quick, unhealthy dinners and lunches, which can get expensive too. I know myself, and know that meal prepping and planning ahead are key to staying healthy.
I thought I’d share how I meal prep for a family of four. This is what a typical Sunday meal prep looks like, plus a few tips that make it easier for me.
After I’ve planned out my meals for the week, including snacks, I figure out what can be prepped ahead of time. During a recent week, here’s what I prepped in about an hour.
- Cooked quinoa: This will be used for Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls for dinner one night and leftovers I’ll have for lunches.
- Chopped romaine lettuce and spinach: I’ll use this for Mediterranean Salad one night and Cauliflower Quinoa Bowls another night, plus as a base for lunch salads.
- Chopped beets: I cheated a little and bough pre-peeled and cooked beets at Trader Joe’s, but chopped them up to make them quicker to toss into a Beet and Goat Cheese Salad one night.
- Chia Seed Pudding: I use this Tone It Up recipe, which is super quick. I’ll have this for a mid-morning snack during the week.
- Sliced zucchini and yellow squash: I’ll use these as a side, cooked up with a little garlic and seasoning, for a couple dinners.
- Cooked pearl couscous: This will be used for Mediterranean Salad one night.
A few tips that help when I’m planning and meal prepping:
- Cook it once and use it twice. When I’m planning for the week, I try to think of ingredients I can prep that I can use for dinners and lunches. I might cook up a batch of quinoa for a dinner one night and be able to use it also for lunch salads.
- Chop all of the veggies. This is such a time saver for me during the week, and I’m more likely to eat more veggies when they’re easy to grab. These can be cooked up for a quick dinner side dish, or added to salads, or eaten raw with hummus.
- Prepare casseroles ahead of time. If I have a casserole on the menu, I’ll plan for that earlier in the week and prep it Sunday so during the week I can just pop it in the oven. This is such a time saver!
- Get your kids to help. Most weeks I’ll make a batch of chia muffins and my girls love to help. They sit on the counter and help measure, add and stir ingredients. I love that they’re also learning what goes into what we eat.
I love to cook, but after a long day, making dinner stresses me out. On weeknights, I want dinner to be quick, healthy and delicious. Since I’ve made meal prepping a weekly habit, it has helped me so much with finding balance. Balance in being able to make healthy meals for my family, but not letting the time it takes to make those healthy meals become a stressor. So for me, meal prepping on the weekend keeps me sane during the week!
Do you meal prep? What tips do you have?