Meal Prep 101

Meal Prep 101

Years ago, I finally got fed up with being stressed out by the 6 words that were uttered by my family daily: “What are we having for supper?”  I seriously believe that they all think with their stomachs and I have the grocery bill to back that claim up!  I called a family meeting and told them all that we need to stop the madness and start putting our heads together to come up with a plan for the week.  Thus, our family meal prepping was born, and we haven’t looked back.

 

We started off simple…. You would be amazed at the impact of having just one meal every day already planned can have on a household.  Our first priority was to make sure that supper for every day of the week was planned.  Being a family of nerds, we started tracking this.  Here is what we found in a few short months of planning ahead:

 

  • We were saving money. Planning ahead means you are buying only what you need, so you’re not wasting food.  How many times have you purchased fresh produce with no idea of what you’re intending to do with it, only to find it weeks later wilted and moldy in the fridge?  We were also saving money because having a plan meant that we were not grabbing a pizza or fast food.
  • We were saving time. I can’t tell you how many times we would stand in the kitchen, looking in the fridge or the freezer trying to figure out what we could scrounge together to make a meal.  Having a plan means that all the ingredients are right there waiting to be put together.
  • We were reducing our household stress. None of us were agonizing all day about what was going to happen once we got home to a hungry bunch.  It was one less thing to worry about every day for the entire week.
  • We were eating healthier. When the temptation to order in is eliminated, you’re almost always bound to make better choices.

 

I know it seems overwhelming.  The first piece of advice I am going to give you is to just go for it.  It doesn’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to be fancy.  Start out by picking the one meal that gives you the most grief.  Maybe supper isn’t an issue for you, maybe lunch or breakfast is?  Whatever meal is the most stressful for you, that is where you need to start. 

 

When we started out, we would all get together on a Sunday morning to plan out the menu for the week.  Everyone had their input into what meals they wanted to see on the menu.  Sunday is my grocery day, so this was the perfect time to do it.  We would write the menu for suppers for the week, and then I would be able to make a list of all the things I needed to pick up for them at the grocery store.

 

Meal prepping scares people because they think they have to spend an entire day doing it.  Guess what?  You DO NOT need to take an entire day to prepare full meals to eat throughout the week.  You can do small things like chopping up vegetables, or cooking batches of rice, or precooking chicken to help shorten the amount of time it takes to prepare meals during the week.  That’s why this blog is called “Meal Prep 101” because it’s a sort of beginner’s course on getting on the right track with meal prepping.  I will do a follow-up post on some more complicated and dedicated food planning in the future.

 

The benefits of meal planning are so worth the effort – I promise!  You will save yourself time and money.  You will feel less stressed.  You will eat healthier.  Remember these things if you start to feel overwhelmed and feel pulled in the direction of fast foods.  You’ve got this!

 

Be sure to check out the recipes on our website to help find some great meal ideas!

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