Over the years, I have had a love/hate relationship with meal prepping. On one hand, I love being prepared and having my food for the week, but on the other, I hated dedicating my Sunday to it. My meal prep game has gone from cooking for the entire week to tweaking my process to make it as easy as possible.
While meal prepping will always require discipline, below are a few tips that I personally follow:
Use Your Notes App
In my Apple Notes, I have a doc called “Food Shopping”. I do most of my shopping at Whole Foods and Costco, so I split up my list according to the store. What I love about the notes app is that you can add multiple people – I add my boyfriend so he never has to ask me what we need from the store, he can just go to the notes (jk, he still asks me). As I realize I need things throughout the week, I’ll add it here.
Group Your Prep
I used to meal prep on Sundays for the entire week, but by Wednesday I was over it all. While I still involve leftovers in my prep, grouping my meals allows me to not have to eat the same thing for too long. For example:
- On Sundays, I cook 2 meals (lunch and dinner) for Monday, Tuesday through Wednesday Lunch. You could also leave Wednesday as your “eat out for lunch” day, as it’s in the middle of the week. This is a great option for someone starting out, who wants to ease into it.
- On Tuesday or Wednesday night, I cook 2 meals (again) for Wednesday Dinner, Thursday and Friday Lunch (I don’t prep for Friday Dinner).
Here’s a real-life example:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday Lunch:
Lunch: Chicken quesadillas, air fried plantains, and salad
Dinner: Gluten-free chicken tenders, sweet potato fries, and kale chips
Wednesday Dinner, Thursday, Friday Lunch
Lunch: Turkey meatballs with spaghetti squash and sautéed spinach
Dinner: Sweet & sour glazed baked salmon, sweet potato and asparagus
I keep breakfast and snacks separate, as sometimes I’ll prep things for breakfast, but not all the time.
Grouping my prep this way allows me to find recipes I’m interested in (follow my Pinterest here), and easily add all the ingredients to my shopping list.
Prep – Don’t Cook
I don’t know about you, but reheating fish grosses me out. Whether fish or poultry is on the menu, prepping and marinating your protein and cooking it that day makes meals so much more enjoyable.
For example, if salmon is on the dinner menu for Wednesday and Thursday, I’ll make a marinade maybe Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. Then I can pop that baby in the air-fryer when I get home from work and eat a freshly cooked meal. This process requires a little more “thinking ahead” but once you get into that routine, you won’t be stuck eating re-heated food.
Keep Batch Items at Work
When I first started getting into meal prepping, I would measure and weigh everything out and add it to separate containers like above. Sure, it’s a pretty picture but it’s honestly an additional step you could skip.
Have rice in your meal plan? Bring a big batch of rice to work, and keep measuring cups at your desk. Hell, I even have a small electronic scale to weigh out my protein when tracking macros. Sure, people will look at me and ask questions… but who cares (not me!).
Also, if your job has a blender, FROZEN FRUIT IS KEY! I get a big bag of organic frozen fruit from Costco, bring a bag of frozen bananas and spinach and leave it at the office. At my desk, I keep protein powder, chia seeds, coconut flakes, and peanut butter to easily throw it in. This comes in so clutch if I miss breakfast by accident or need a mid-day snack. And since it’s frozen, you don’t have to worry about it going bad in a week.
I hope these tips help you out! Let me know if you have any suggestions that I should try. My last suggestion is to invest in glass Tupperware – especially if you’re reheating meals constantly in a microwave.