Meal Prep. It is the latest craze, and for good reason. It saves so much time in the kitchen throughout the week, cuts down on waste, and the dreaded thought of, “what am I going to make for dinner tonight?” If you meal prep, that is amazing, don’t stop! It is a great strategy if it works for your lifestyle. However, here is why I don’t meal prep…
I simply find meal prepping to be really overwhelming! It is stressful for me to: think about, plan out, and cook a week’s worth of meals in just a few hours on Sunday. And let’s talk about Sunday of all days. Sundays, are sacred in our house because we are actually all home together, so I don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may be thinking, “But Krysten, you talk about meal prepping a lot in your feed.” Yes, I am a firm believer in a form of meal prepping. While I don’t meal prep full meals, there is some prep work that goes into my routine.
Instead of full on meal prepping, I have 6 strategies I implement, every single week. These strategies are very doable even for the busiest of moms! And I promise, they will save you so much time, money, and exhaustion in the kitchen.
1. Cut Up All Fruits and Veggies Before They Ever Enter the Refrigerator
I have found, the best system is to pull out your strainer and cutting board, and wash and cut your produce before it ever enters your refrigerator. If you don’t do it as soon as you get home from the grocery store, it probably won’t get done.
Below are the benefits of implementing this technique:
- All of your produce is easily accessible and everyone is more apt to eat it if it’s already washed and cut
- You are only pulling out your cutting board and strainer ONE time, instead of several times throughout the week (one mess instead of multiple)
- You are more inclined to throw fruits and vegetables into your salads, breakfast eggs, dinners, etc. when they are cut up and ready to go
2. Make Extra for Dinner
I am a huge fan of leftovers! I always try to make extra so my husband has lunch for the next day, or better yet, we have dinner for the following night. While this works really great for our family, I know leftovers aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. If you find yourself in this category, that’s ok! Another great option is to throw some extra chicken breasts (or any other protein of choice) on the grill when you are grilling, so your protein is ready to throw on salads/wraps throughout the week.
3. If You’re Roasting Veggies for Dinner, Roast Extra
Roasted veggies are such a great add on to so many things. I love roasted veggies, but they do take some time to cook. So, if I am making them for dinner, I double the batch so I have extra for the week. No extra time or work on my end, but lots of great goodness for the week.
4. Make 1 Dressing That Can Be Used On Multiple Things
I love fresh, homemade salad dressings, especially when they are versatile! Many olive oil based salad dressings can be used in a variety of ways. Pour it over a chicken and kale salad, or use it in a quinoa/vegetable bowl. Get creative! You may find a new favorite combo.
5. Go To The Grocery Store The Same Day Every Week
I know this can be hard, but it truly makes such a difference. Even if you don’t think you need groceries, go anyway and get the small things you need. Chances are, you will find yourself there a day or so later, and then your routine is messed up. Creating a system is key to a successful week of healthy eating, frivolous spending, and food boredom.
6. Create a Weekly Meal Plan
Before I go to the grocery store, I ALWAYS make my meal plan. Creating a meal plan makes it so much easier for you to plan for the week. This helps you to meal prep the night before if you need to unthaw something or marinate a meat.
At some point, I will do a blog post on meal planning with a really pretty, printable meal plan because I am a HUGE believer in a meal plan. Until then, just do it! I promise it will save you so many extra trips to the grocery store (wasted time) and frustrating days trying to figure out what’s for dinner.
While none of these techniques are groundbreaking ideas, they can become an afterthought in the busyness of life. No matter how busy you are, or how crazy the days get, implementing these 6 techniques will help you so much! And although you aren’t spending a few hours in the kitchen on Sunday, if you stick to these techniques, you will still save yourself hours of cutting and washing produce, making extra trips to the grocery store, and researching recipes to find something new.
Have other great techniques you use? Let me know in the comments!