Let's Talk Meal Prep

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It is well know that prepping meals ahead of time is a big key to success when it comes to smart nutrition choices.  Figuring out when and how much to prep comes with practice.  To help with the process, here is peek into meal prep for a week in our home…

Meal prep doesn't have to be the same thing every day and it doesn't have to be boring and or overwhelming to do.  Yet, it does takes practice to figure out what works for you and your family.

Personally, during the week I don’t want to stop at the grocery store to make a meal.  I have little “ME” time during the week I would rather spend it at the gym, walking the dog, spending time with family and not spending it on multiple trips to the grocery store.

Therefore, I get my meal prep, for the WHOLE week, done on Saturday or Sunday, depending on our schedule. Sometimes I will prep food on Saturday and cook on Sunday, but if time is tight I will do it all on Sunday.

Saturday and Sunday Morning  

  • meal planning - deciding which meals to make and what ingredients are needed
  • making a grocery list
  • Heading to the grocery store before most people are even awake
  • Food prep – dicing veggies, marinating meat

Saturday and Sunday Morning

  • Cooking food (meat and veggies) – on the grill, in the stove or crockpot
  • Preparing salads
  • Quality time with the family
  • Getting to bed early

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I plan the meals for lunches, dinners and hardboiled eggs for breakfasts for both my husband and I for the whole week.  I like to cook on Sunday for meals to eat Monday-Wednesday and cook again on Wednesday for meals to eat Thursday-Friday.  Whatever I am cooking on Wednesday is also bought and prepped (as much as can be) on Sunday.  If I am making salads I will prep them for 2 days a time.  Salads cam be a little limp if you prep them too far in advance.

This weekend I had more time so I started the food prep on Saturday and cooked the chili, but left the rest of the cooking for Sunday. Here is my weekend of cooking to give you an idea of how much prep is needed for two people.  Everyone is different so yours may be more or less.

lunch prep

  • Chili – made in the crock pot on Saturday – 2lbs of ground chicken, 3 types of beans, chopped peppers and zucchini
  • 4lbs of chicken both light and dark meat - marinated in a citrus and onion marinade (prepped on Saturday and grilled on Sunday)

***I usually make my own marinades (post to come!) but store bought is also great, just be aware of the quality of the ingredients.

  • 1 lb swordfish– marinated in olive oil, lemon, pepper and salt (dinner for Sunday night)
  • 4 salads made – for Monday and Tuesday
  • 2lbs of lamb chops in homemade rub for Saturday night and Sunday lunches
  • 1 Cauliflower, 5 zucchini and 4 peppers  prepped to be grilled in oil and pepper for lunches
  • I have 2lbs of ground beef that will be cooked with pasta sauce and added to 2 spaghetti squash for Wednesday cooking
  • 18 Hardboiled eggs for easy grab and go breakfasts or snacks.
  • We have a variety of fruits and nuts for snacking.

This list of food looks overwhelming but it was easy to prep and makes nutritious, easy and already made meals to keep us on track!

To make this process easy:

  • Pick recipes that you know how to prepare or are as simple as can be.  I used a prepared rub, ½ a marinade and olive oil with lemon or pepper to prepare meals.  Nothing too fancy but it still tastes great!  The chili was the most time consuming part, but you can make a variety of easy crock pot meals.
  • Be aware if you cook early on Saturday then you are tempted to eat the already prepared food during Saturday and Sunday and then you run out of food for the week!  Have something ready for dinners and lunches over the weekend that way you wont eat up all the prepared food for the work week.
  • If you pick complicated recipes for your meal prep, it could be overwhelming and take over your whole weekend.  If you like to cook fancy meals that take a lot of time, set aside time on Friday or Saturday night to get your chef skills on.  That way you wont feel rushed and you can even get the family involved!

This takes time and practice to make it habit, so keep it simple and use quality meats and veggies!

What prep tips do you have up your sleeve?!