When it comes to meal and food prep, I find that people either love it or hate it. Those that love it know how valuable of a tool it can be for hectic families with very tight and packed schedules, students, and parents who work long hours. In some cases, it helps people stay on track with their nutrition, setting up healthy eating habits, or will even just help save money because they don’t have to buy lunch or dinner everyday. For others, it takes out the guesswork, headache, and struggles that come along with constantly having to figure out “what am I going to eat” and the infamous question EVERY mother has to answer on a nearly daily basis… “Mom, What’s for dinner?”.
People that absolutely hate meal and food prep are typically the ones who feel entirely overwhelmed with the process, the thinking, the planning, the shopping, and the prepping in general. I’d say the vast majority of people who prefer not to meal prep have either tried it once and it was too much trouble and bother for what it was actually worth. Or they have no idea where to start and give up before they even get going. If you go onto your favorite social media sites like Pinterest or Instagram and do a search for something like meal prep, you’ll get a thousand and one DIFFERENT ways people tackle it. Some want to do five days worth of breakfast lunch and dinner. Some only prep dinner. Some only take a more of a food “prep” approach and prepare a few things to have on hand like chopped veggies, fruit, some grains, and a protein or two. Some only do lunches. Some do a combination of all of it.
Prepping breakfast and dinners is usually my preference because it works best for our family. Having my daughters first meal of the day ready to go each morning has been truly A-MAZING this year. Taking 10-30 minutes on a sunday afternoon to prepare 5 days worth of breakfasts, allows me to sleep in a bit longer during the week, it takes the pressure away each morning to provide a healthy meal to fuel her before school, and because I always ask Makena what she wants before I even start planning the week… I know she’s going to really enjoy her breakfast and I won’t get those “Do you expect me to eat this” look.
Remember, meal and food prep should be ADDING to your life, not taking away from it. Do simple, do easy, do what you can, don’t stress yourself out! The meal and food prep process does NOT have to be difficult or time consuming. Granted, I’ve been doing this in some capacity for years now and while I wasn’t always quite this efficient, but the benefits hugely outweigh the time it takes to get that momentum going!
First step in my meal prep process actually starts on saturday where I’m planning out the following week. I input a general schedule into my planner for the blog, things I need to edit, studying and school work, doctors appointments, volleyball activities, any changes in my husbands schedule, after school activities, play dates, basically anything I need to remember for the week in terms of scheduling. Next I asked Makena what she wants for breakfast for the week and decide what I should prepare for my husband. Because he works such off hours, I never really know which meal I’m making for him. Breakfast lunch or dinner, I wont know until the start of his work week.
Next, I will try and plan our dinners out. Sometimes I simply just write the ideas down and tackle the prepping part later, other times I will get as much ready as I can especially if I know we are going to have a crazy week. I also try and make a few things for myself. Because I work from home and you can find me here 99% of each and everyday (sad, I know), I can throw my meals together quickly when I get hungry everyday. Every now and then I do like having a dessert ready to go for the evening time, keto friendly baked goods, and soak nuts & seeds that I can nibble on.
Then I write the shopping list for the week and I’m off to the store… by MYSELF! I abolutely hate going to the store with my husband or kids. So much harder to focus and they tend to slow down the entire trip between asking me questions and throwing crap in the cart we don’t need. I also like going by myself because its actual time :)! One tip I have to make the shopping experience go even quicker for you is to have a general idea of how your local grocery store is laid out. Think about where the items are while you are wrtiing out your list. For me, I start in the bread & bakery aisle, move to meats and proteins, head to dairy, which leads me right into produce. I spend most of my time at the store around the perimeter of the store because thats where the fresh stuff is. Once I’m good to go with the more healthy stuff I will head into the aisles and grab things like my tea, frozen veggies, and grains. Once I have everything I need, its back to the house to unload, wash produce, and tackle the prep list!
On this weeks menu, I’m making PB & J muffins for Makena with a side of scrambled eggs, lunches for my husband to take to work, getting some things ready and stored for dinner, and preparing some keto friendly bread and flax crackers for myself to nubble on throughout the week!