Meal Prep Routines and Strategies by-Inchee’s Corner
When it comes to meal prep, it’s not going to look the same for each individual or family. Some people can’t stand eating the same thing for dinner each night, while others are happy to do so. Some people don’t want to cook at all on a week night while others don’t mind it.
Through trial and error, you can try out these meal prep strategies to find out which one works best for you and your family.
I also want to remind you that you don’t need to prep all your meals ahead to feel the benefits of meal prep! Even just picking one meal to prep ahead is going to help you out through the week. The point is for you to be prepared.
If you are new to meal prep, I highly recommend starting with just one or two recipes and adding in more as you feel more comfortable and get a feel for what strategy works best for your family. Please avoid trying lots of new recipes at the same time. Following too many overly complicated recipes can make a prep a lot longer than necessary.
Meal Prep Routine
You know what’s funny, many people tend to think meal prepping is all about cooking. BUT… in actual sense, meal prepping can be anything from chopping up peppers, veggies, cutting, slicing, seasoning, marinating and portioning out food items ahead of time in preparation for your thought out recipes. Of course, each person has to find a system that works for them. Something that fits there lifestyle. For me, I have found a system that works well and I stick with that.
- Step 1: I clean out my fridge before any grocery is done. The more clutter you keep in your fridge, the more overwhelming you will feel every time you open it. The whole point of meal prepping is to make life easy for you and not overwhelm you, but if you leave that clutter in the fridge. You will find yourself overwhelmed. So please, cleaning your fridge and making space for new and fresh foods will help you reach your health goals.
- Step 2: I have a thought out menu. At the moment, I have a lot of fun trying out new recipes, but that wasn’t the case in the beginning when I first started. And I always tell people new to meal planning to stick with their favorite recipes in the beginning….. recipes that they have personally mastered over time.
- Step 3: I shop according to what’s on the menu.
- Step 4: And then I prep. And this is usually done on Saturdays or Sundays. My prep sessions consist of a lot of cutting, slicing and chopping veggies which I Store in containers until the day I cook them for lunch/dinner. I personally prefer cooking all my veggies right before dinner. I season my meats before I freeze them and all I need to do is defrost before cooking. I also make sure that my smoothie packs are ready for my breakfast…. and all I need to worry about is tossing the contents in the blender. My snacks are packed and ready to go.
The routine becomes rather easy once you make it a habit and the most important thing is just to be happy doing it. So, pick a day that works best for you and :
- clean out your fridge
- Have a thought out menu
- Go shopping
- Have fun prepping
- Eat healthy all week
Meal Prep Top Strategies
There are a lot of meal prep strategies that are going to help you out BIG TIME during the week. Assess for yourself which strategy will be perfect for you and your family. Personally, I like to use the buffet style meal prep. Take a look at the strategies I share with you here and decide which one you would use.
- Buffet Style Meal Prep
A lot of people enjoy prepping their veggies, protein and carbs ahead, then using them for easy meals.
This is great for tacos, salads, burrito bowls and that sort of thing. You can also prep a big portion of protein and use that as a base for several meals through the week.
- Rice cauliflower
- chop & peel veggies for veggies & dip
- wash & shred kale and/or romaine
- give your berries a quick vinegar wash
- chop up salad components like cucumber (last 2-3 days), bell peppers (last 4-5 days), onions (lasts up to 4 days)
- cut up veggies for roasting like zucchini (lasts up to 4 days), red onions (lasts up to 1 week depending on freshness), Brussel sprouts (up to 4 days), broccoli & cauliflower (great for 1 week), and so many more!
- spiralize zucchini, carrots, cabbage, butternut squash and more!
- roast up vegetables or potatoes in some seasoning
- shake together vinaigrettes, stir fry sauces, etc
- cook up grains, pasta, quinoa (in your rice cooker)
2. Batch cooking
Aka: cook up a big batch of something and enjoy it through the week. This way, you simply need to reheat for easy meals. Store the food that freeze well such as grains and seasoned meats in ziplock bags or glass containers with tight fitting lids.
- Portion things out
Whether it is an entire meal or just a component, portioning out is one of the most important steps of meal prep because it means you can just grab your meal and go.
- veggies & hummus
- fruit & Greek Yogurt Fruit Dip
- fruit & yogurt
- trail mix
- bento snack box
- portion out ingredients for overnight oats
- make some Frozen Smoothie Packs
- make a batch of salad dressing
- Assemble ingredients but don’t cook
I love to do this with crockpot freezer or Instant pot freezer meals. Typically, this refers to freezer meals, but you can often store in the fridge as well. By assembling your meals ahead, when it comes time to cook, you simply need to dump them in the slow cooker, Instant Pot, skillet or oven and let them cook!
- portion chicken into marinades
- make some freezer crockpot chicken packs
Crockpot freezer meals and freezer chicken marinades are two examples of ‘assemble but don’t cook’ meals.
- Pre-cooked meals
This is my approach for breakfasts and lunches, and is perfect for meals that you don’t have time to prep on the days you will eat. All you need to do is grab them from the fridge, re-heat if necessary, and enjoy!
- breakfast: egg muffins, steel cut oats, breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, banana & oatmeal muffins
- lunch: stir fries, sheet pan meals, Mason jar salads
- dinner: any dinner that can be re-heated. Soups, stews, stir fries, and curries are all good bets.
The benefits of meal prep are so worth the effort. You will save yourself time and money. You will feel less stress. You will eat healthier.
I love sharing the meal prep love and I’m here to help!
Cheers from my Corner to Yours!!
For additional meal planning tips visit Inchee’s website.
After reading this are you inspired to plan your meals? Please share. If you are ready to get your life organized check out my Power Keys Package by clicking this link so I can help you on your journey to living an organized life.