A lot of people have been asking me about meal prep lately. So here is your Meal Prep 101! I think regardless if you are trying to lose weight or not, meal prep is essential to keep the mind sane. Especially for someone like me, a full time working Mom who also has eight million other things going on (like working out)! I would never make it without pinterest, my cookbooks or one of these, then there are no guesses as to what is for dinner for the week!
If you don’t have a meal planning magnet on your refrigerator, I highly recommend one! Even if I don’t make what I write down for a certain night, I know that I have all the ingredients to make anything on that list. Very Essential. It takes all of the stress out of knowing what I have planned for the week. A lot of people do meal prep, freeze and then defrost, but if the chicken or fish or whatever it is I’m cooking for the night is out, it usually doesn’t take me very long (I never pick labor intensive dinners).
If you aren’t on pinterest, get there! It’s seriously the best, and I get so many dinner ideas there! I usually pin during the week, and then by the weekend (Friday or Saturday night) I know what I’ll be making for dinners the following week. I would like to say that I vary my snacks, but I go through phases, and usually eat the same things for a month before I move onto something else. Take for instance, this month I am eating tons of coconut milk greek yogurt with gluten free granola mix. Check out my yogurt parfait recipe here! I’ve also been really into Practical Paleo’s Pumpkin Pancakes (Zoey loves them too)!
1. Start with finding your 6 or 7 meals. I always plan one night of eating out because I go to art class and Jake plays soccer.
2. Will you both eat the same thing? Awesome! If not, and you’re like me (because Jake eats meat and I do not) you might need to double plan some nights. It’s usually just something easy like when we make fajitas, Jake has steak, I have veggies, beans or fish. Or, if Jake wants something like pot roast or meatloaf, I plan on zoodles or a big salad (even eggs if I’m busy)!
3. Do you coupon? What’s on sale that week? (we get our circulars the week before). If there is grassfed beef or chicken, I usually stock up. You pay a little more upfront, but then there are weeks your grocery bill is cheaper because you don’t have to buy it. I try to get to trader joe’s when I can, and I make a lot of food and snacks from scratch. We save a lotof money by only eating out once a week, and we usually go somewhere inexpensive, or to a place that has specials or we use a groupon. Unfortunately for us, all of this saved money usually gets dumped into formula for Zoey (I can’t wait until she doesn’t have to drink it anymore)!
4. Make your grocery list. Check your pantry. What do you have that you could use (this cuts down on your grocery bill big time). What’s in the freezer? I know people that are notorious for forgetting all the marvelous things they have in their freezer, and then they go bad.
5. I usually eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch and my snacks during the week. This also keeps my grocery budget down!
Other good breakfast ideas:
Paleo/Nut Free Lemon Blueberry Muffins
Easy Breakfast Egg Muffins
Chia Seed Pudding
Easy Morning Quiche
Cinnamon Almond Butter Pancakes (Make a big batch & retoast them all week)
Morning Frothy Monkey Smoothie
Pineapple Basil Smoothie
Green Monster Smoothie
Apple Cinnamon Smoothie
And again, lunches and dinners vary.
These are some of my favorites that I make from my blog on a regular basis:
Springtime Vegetable Pot Pie
Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
Cauliflower Tortilla Tacos
If I’m feeling like something salty at night, I usually make some homemade air popped popcorn (this air popper is awesome, and worth it if you eat a lot of popcorn, you can put any toppings on it), or I indulge in some so delicious coconut milk ice cream (they make lots of different kinds, including one with no sugar! It’s awesome!
So, I hope that is a good first start to your Meal Prep 101! It gets easier as you do it each week, so don’t give up, and good luck!