1. Plan ahead
Prepping meals in advance requires planning ahead on your part. Set aside one day each week to plan your menu, figure out your shopping list, and prepare your meals.
Then when you get home from work at night, there’s something waiting for you in the fridge to cook and you avoid unnecessary trips to the drive through for food that isn’t good for you. Not to mention how much cheaper it is to eat at home than just grab something on the way home.
2. Grocery List
If you don’t have a grocery list that you like, this is a great grocery list that you can print and use. It makes it easy to see if you’ve forgotten anything because items are combined by where they are located in the store instead of whatever random order you write them down from your memory.
3. Get Everyone Involved
Don’t plan all the meals yourself if you’re cooking for a family. Everyone should pick one or two meals and fill in what they’d like to have. Kids would be happy to eat Macaroni and Cheese every day, but they should be able to compromise and eat someone else’s favorite on other days. Ask your spouse as well what they want to eat.
Read a few food blogs or get a couple of food magazines for new menu ideas. It’s always nice to throw something into the mix that you haven’t tried before. Who knows, it might end up as a new favorite in your house.
4. Make Extra Meals
When you’re making something simple like meatloaf or casserole, consider making two or three extra meals. Once the food is prepped, cook one for dinner and freeze the others. You’ve spent the same amount of time on prep to make the meals, and now all you have to do is defrost it overnight and you’ve got a meal that’s already done.
5. Don’t Buy What’s Not on the Grocery List
Being tempted at the grocery store happens to the best of us. Try not to shop when you’re hungry and stick to your grocery list. The list has everything you need on it to prepare food for the week, so there’s no need for extra food.
Impulse buys cost you extra money and will either go bad and be thrown out or that aren’t good for you in the first place and that’s why they weren’t on your list to begin with.
6. Plan Easy Snacks
You don’t have to have homemade elaborate snacks to please your family or eat healthy. Simply a fruit cup, a hardboiled egg, or some veggies and hummus will do nicely for a snack. Choose items that are easy to prepare and can be done ahead of time.
7. Cook Everything at Once
On your meal prep day, fill your oven with everything that needs to be roasted and baked all at once. You’ll save electricity by only using the oven once, and you’ll save time by pre-roasting everything. Store the roasted items in the fridge until it’s time to use them in your recipes.
8. Use Glass Mason Jars
Mason jars are great for food prep because they are clear and they come in different sizes. You can make a salad in one to take to work for a healthy lunch, put all the ingredients for your morning oatmeal with fruit in one. Portion out your nuts, cheese, and salad dressing so that you don’t overeat too many calories.
9. Stock Your Pantry
Stock up on staple items so that you’re not buying them every time you’re at the grocery store. Items like rice, beans, flour, oats, seasonings, and broths will make it much easier to prep meals. You know what you use all time, so make sure to look for those items on sale or in case lots. You’ll save money by purchasing these items in bulk.
10. Organize Your Fridge
An organized fridge will help you save money because things won’t get lost and go bad. Have all your prepared meals in the same place. Also, group snack items together so that anyone opening the fridge knows right where to go for a snack.
What tips and tricks do you have for weekly food prep?