food · Uncategorized

Making meal prep work for you

Just search #mealprep on instagram and you will see photos showing off  tupperware containers with matching packed lunches, baggies full of smoothie ingredients, and mason jar salads to tote on the go. Having nutritious meals all ready to fuel a work week, class week, or busy mom life can be a huge help, but not everyone loves the meal prep system.

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made a double batch of quinoa and sauteed kale, then topped it with different veggies to spice things up!

I, personally, am not against meal prep…but I do see both sides of the argument.  Getting a whole lot of cooking out of the way at once is convenient (and doesn’t even have to take that long!) but I really do treasure a lazy Sunday, and I know I’m not alone in that sentiment.  Another gripe is the bore of repeated meals.  So, what’s a girl (or guy) to do?  I make meal prep work in sneaky ways.

Here are some tips to work in meal prep the way you want it to work:

Do it on your time – Don’t sacrifice a Sunday if you don’t want to!  If you’re into it, go for it, but there are no meal prep rules and you can do it any time of the week.  I often find myself cooking quinoa after dinner just because I know I’ll want it for lunch the next day.  Whenever you have down time, get in the kitchen and make a double (or triple!) batch of something, chop veggies, wash salad, or cook grains.  It will pay off!  It can be fun too – just make sure to blast some T Swift.  Overnight oats are another great, easy make ahead item for nighttime prep, and I just finished (at 9pm) making pancakes for tomorrow’s breakfast.

Start small – Now for the ‘boring’ issue.  Not everyone likes to eat the same thing for lunch for a week straight.  If you don’t like repetition, try prepping just the main ingredient (like chicken, roasted veggies, or marinated baked tofu) and then spice it up each day.  If something you like takes a long time to cook, make that one thing and then transform it each day.  I once ate spaghetti squash for 5 days straight and had it in a totally different way each time! (and then didn’t eat spaghetti squash for weeks…but I’m back to loving it).

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protein pancakes are a great make ahead item for quick breakfasts (or even snacks!)

Freeze! – Another way to avoid boredom is to use your freezer.  Things will last longer and once you’ve made a few double batches of recipes you’ll build up a reservoir of good meals, and you’ll have options!

Keep it basic – Start with a bland flavor profile.  Prep your items without seasonings so that you can season them based on your mood and cravings.  You can also make a few different dressings for easy variety.  Sometimes just changing the topping makes something taste totally new.

Now get in the kitchen!   If you have any other meal prep tips, share them!  I’d love to hear how you love to cook.

 

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6 thoughts on “Making meal prep work for you

  1. Love this! I used to try doing lots of meal prep at the weekend, but I’m a slow cook and even a relatively basic menu would devour half my Sunday – and then I’d spend the other half doing dishes and playing fridge Tetris in our tiny under-the-counter fridge-freezer. It stressed me out, and I used to spend Saturday dreading Sunday and simultaneously trying too hard to relax because I only had the one day to do it in. Yeah … no.

    But I *do* do some of the things mentioned in this post. If I’m having quinoa for dinner one night, I’ll make enough that I can toss some in my lunch the next day. If I’m making a stew/soup/curry/chilli, I’ll freeze a portion if there’s space in the World’s Tiniest Freezer (TM).

    Another thing my husband and I like to do is peel and top-and-tail carrots when we get them home from the grocery store, then store them in a Tupperware in the fridge. It only takes about 5 minutes to do a bag, as we don’t chop them into batons or grate them at this time, but it means that they’re now handy grab-and-go snacks, and if we need to cook with them it’s much faster to grab a carrot and chop or grate it into the right shape than grab a carrot, wash it, peel it, remove the ends, and THEN chop/grate it. We tend to find this kind of halfway prep is easier than trying to fully prep something in advance, because it’s easier to persuade ourselves to do something that takes 5 minutes than to persuade ourselves to do something that takes half an hour, and it really speeds up cooking and lunch-packing times later in the week.

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    1. That’s great! I love the carrot idea! I definitely skip out on carrots sometimes because I don’t want to peel them, so I will definitely be adding that mini prep into my routine. 5 minutes is so much more manageable than hours – little wins are always my plan 🙂

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      1. Glad it helped 🙂 Peeling an entire bag of carrots all at once is somehow a lot easier, mentally, than knowing I have to peel carrots if I want to eat them later.

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