Meal Prep Hacks
Feeling like you’re constantly cleaning the kitchen? Understandable. Meal prep alone is a catastrophe waiting to happen. Cooking in large batches or bulk is an amazing way to save yourself time throughout the week during your busiest times, while also helping you to stay on track to eat healthy, wholesome meals. In my beginning stages of the wonderful world of meal prep, I would hop on the biggest emotional roller coaster. I’d start off happy, even excited, to make a meal that would be nutritious, delicious, and last me all week! The excitement would slowly, but surely, fade as the dirty dishes would continue to overflow my kitchen sink. By the time I’m packing everything up into their containers and stowing them away in my refrigerator, exhaustion settles in. I turn around, and there they are. 1 million dishes to clean up. And it’s not like I can just throw everything in my dishwasher because many of the appliances I used such as pots, pans, kitchen knives, and wooden cutting boards are usually unsuitable for the harsh conditions of the dishwasher. By the time I finish cleaning the dishes, my entire night is over. Now, I don’t mean to sound depressing, but is it ringing any bells? Maybe a little?
SOLUTION: Clean. as. you. go.
It’s the best advice I ever received. Let’s say your recipe calls for baking. While all the appropriate ingredients are in the oven, hit the dishes while you wait instead of diving into the next recipe. This way, you can reuse some dishes, and not have to worry about them piling up in the sink. IT’S GOLD PEOPLE. Give it a try!
Okay, we made it past the first roadblock. Now for the next tip.
Now, I’m all for juicing and making smoothies and all things yummy and wonderful, however, they can get a bit pricey if you are not equipped with the knowledge to counteract the cost of fresh produce. There are MANY different ways to get your daily amount of nutrients in without having to go to Whole Foods and spending hundreds of dollars on produce that might go bad in less than a week.
There are so many other options to get nutritious and lush produce at a much lower cost including Farmer’s markets in your area, other grocery stores with much better deals such as Sprouts, Safeway, Fry’s, etc. Almost every grocery store has an organic section now as well, so you can feel confident that you’re getting fresh, untampered produce. Growing at home is also a great option if your residence allows for it! There are many unique and creative ways to make home-gardens no matter what the living situation is. Pinterest displays so many amazing ways to do so. The world is your oyster!
I’d recommend looking up what farmer’s markets are in your area, or even if there are any farms close by! They offer things called CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture) where they send a basket full of produce, and sometimes eggs, to a local church or public place where you go pick them up for a small price. From what I’ve experienced, you really get your money’s worth!
Above everything else it’s always great to keep a few things in mind:
Always write a list before you do any type of shopping. Take inventory to see what you already have, or what you can work with, then plan your menu from there. Which brings me to my next tip…
Plan a menu. Does it have to be the most elaborate and sophisticated menu you’ve ever written? NO. But it should cover the essentials.
Ensure all of your ingredients make sense. For example…I might make a beef stew one night that will last me for dinner for a few nights. But what about the extra ingredients that are unused? Grab a carton of eggs and make steak and eggs for breakfast! Or take any extra veggies, chop them finely, and there you have a nice stir fry that you can pack for lunch for a few days or so.
Take note of how much you’re spending. Can you afford to spend a little more? Maybe a little less? Or maybe it’s just right. Look out for coupons or flyers that your local grocer may hand out and plan your menu around that. It’s good to plan for one week at a time, so you don’t overwhelm yourself in the beginning. If you end up with leftover ingredients flowing into the next week, great! Store them in the freezer or refrigerator and plan your next week’s menu around those items if you wish!
Relax. Take a deep breath. You are doing so well! Keep up the amazing work, and don’t forget to remain in tune with yourself.
Stay well beautiful people!