So often when people hear about meal prep, they instantly say they don’t have time. Well we believe, give a man a meal and you feed him for a day; teach a man to meal prep and you feed him for a lifetime.
Or woman. Or child. Get everyone involved! What you don’t realize, is you will save an enormous amount of time that’s disappearing throughout your week. No more last-minute grocery runs, spare moments thinking what you’re going to cook for dinner, sitting in line at drive-thrus, rushing home to start making a meal and all the ten minutes here and 30 minutes there cooking two or three times a day. Meal prep is consolidation! It gets a week’s worth of lost minutes and half hours and puts that time back in to your every day. So here’s how you make the time! If you’re not sure what meal prep is or how to get it started, take a look here Why Meal Prep. Once you feel firm in the basics, start implementing these simple hacks to make a week of delicious meals in under three hours! First time hack is choosing the right recipes. Find your favorite website, cookbook or aunt and look for three to four recipes that do not challenge your cooking skills and most importantly share similar ingredients. If a recipe calls for half an onion, find a recipe that uses the other half. The more ingredients they share, the faster the meal prep.
Second, choose the right ingredients and look up ways to keep them fresher longer. For example, a coarser lettuce like Romaine or Kale will last much longer than a delicate leaf lettuce. No matter what green you choose, put a paper towel over the top of the lettuce to absorb moisture in the dish. Add your toppings when you’re ready to eat. For fruits and veggies that brown easy, like apples or avocados, squeeze a little lemon or lime juice over them to keep them fresher longer. Next, always consider a meal’s shelf life. A pot of curried beans will hold all week, so eat that closer to the weekend. Cooked fish lasts three to four days max, so eat it towards the beginning of your week. A salad will last all week if you keep wet ingredients like tomatoes and dressings in separate containers.
In meal prep, the freezer is your best friend. Try ready-made smoothies! Pre-portion each smoothie in a freezer safe zip-lock bag. Then you don’t need ice. Just dump the mix of frozen fruits and veggies into your blender with whatever liquid you’re using. You can freeze avocado, spinach, most of your favorite powdered additives and have it all ready to go within 30 seconds. When prepping your meals, also think of cook time. Whatever takes the longest to cook in the oven or on the stove, start it first. That way your rotisserie chicken will be ready once you finish salads, snacks and all other weekly tidbits. Finally, schedule out your meals so the same leftovers don’t fall too close together. Meal prep should not cause you loss of flavor, variety or interest in your food. Choose three or four large pot meals that can be alternated throughout the week between lunches and dinners. If you’re still not convinced, consider this. You only have to clean your kitchen once a week!