Establishing a meal prep routine can be a big time saver. Here are some tips to help get you started.
What You’ll Need
Starting a meal prep routine doesn’t require a lot of upfront cost but there are a few things that will help make life easier.
First, you’ll need a set of meal prep containers. There are a variety of them available. I like to use a container with three compartments. The larger space is for my main dish and the smaller areas are for sides and condiments. The compartments help with portion control and they stack easily in the fridge or freezer.
Next, I recommend a set of mason jars. I use 16oz jars for soups, salads, and overnight oats and 10oz jars for individual desserts, like cheesecakes, mousses, and parfaits.
Finally, I keep a selection of resealable bags and condiment cups on hand. I use quart size bags for smoothie packs and snack size for add-ins like granola or croutons. Condiment cups come in handy for salad dressings and sauces.
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Planning Your Menu
I typically start planning for the coming week on Wednesday or Thursday. I spend a little time going through recipes on Pinterest or from my cookbooks and creating a shopping list. I meal prep my breakfasts and lunches and I make dinners fresh throughout the week. This is what works best for my lifestyle. You may want to experiment to decide what works best for you.
I’m often asked if I get tired of eating the same thing all week long. The simple answer is I don’t eat the same thing all week long. I plan for two options for breakfasts and two options for lunches. Then I have two choices to alternate between. If you prefer making one recipe and portioning it out over the number of days you’re planning for, by all means. But I like a few choices available.
Your time in the kitchen is going to largely depend on how ambitious or elaborate your menu is. A typical session for me isn’t more than an hour or two. Save yourself extra time by selecting recipes with common ingredients you can prep or make all at once.
Other Helpful Hints
To help keep track of what I have on hand for the week, I like to create a menu including breakfasts, lunches, dinners, even snacks and desserts listed out. This gets posted to the side of my fridge and I cross off items as I make them. It also helps as a reminder of any essentials that need to be replenished on my next shopping trip. Become a subscriber to receive access to free food journal printables!
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