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.
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).
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.