Meal prep is a simple way to make sure you and your family can eat real food all week long, even when schedules become hectic and time is tight. To make the process easier, today I'm sharing How To Meal Prep: 8 Do's and Don'ts for Effortless Prep.
1 | Do Select Recipes
Think about your meal needs for the week, then select 1-3 recipes to prepare. If breakfast is a struggle for your family, consider preparing some muffins or egg cups. If lunch poses a challenge, consider a make-ahead quinoa or lentil salad. And if you know you’ll be home late for dinner, prep the ingredients or make the entire recipe ahead.
Related post: Real Food Meal Prep: 27 Effortless Recipes to Make Ahead
2 | Don't Forget to Add a Few "Non-Recipes"
In addition to formal recipes, add a few “non-recipes” to your prep list. Non-recipes are those that are so simple and straightforward they don’t even require instructions. Think hard-boiled eggs, washed and sliced veggies and fruit, zoodles, roasted nuts, and roasted veggies.
3 | Do Make a List
Once you have your meal prep sketched out, make your list. Maximize efficiency by dividing your list into store sections: produce, pantry, bulk, frozen, deli, dairy, and protein. Then fill in your list with ingredients from your recipes and non-recipes to prep.
Related: Real Food Whole Life Grocery List Printable
It's All About Timing
4 | Do Schedule It
Schedule in meal prep time on your calendar just like any other commitment during your week. I like to set aside an hour or two Sunday in the late afternoon, but you can select any time that works for you.
5 | Don't Take All Day
Meal prepping can seem like a daunting task, particularly if it’s new to you. Determine a set amount of time, 1 hour for example, to complete your meal prep in. Then do what you can within that time and then call it quits. Even if that means 1 recipe and 1 non-recipe, you’re still better off than if you did no prep at all. Eventually you’ll become more efficient within that hour, and may consider adding additional time, too.
Enjoy the Process
6 | Do Invite Help
Meal prep does not have to be taken on alone! Invite a friend or family member to join you in the kitchen. Make a double batch of recipes and split with a friend, have your partner assist with chopping, or recruit your children to wash and store veggies and fruit. Get creative and find ways to share the work and make the process more enjoyable.
7 | Do Tune In
If, on the other hand, you find yourself meal prepping alone, take a few steps to make the process fun. Listen to your favorite album, stream a favorite music station, or listen to your favorite podcast. Then pour yourself a cup of hot tea or a glass of wine and enjoy a little alone time in the kitchen.
Related post: Real Food Whole Life 2015 Favorites (see this post for a list of my go-to podcasts)
8 | Don't Forget to Store, Cool, Label and Freeze
Be sure to have plenty of containers on hand to store what you’ve prepped. I like to use sealable glass containers, but use what works best for you. Cool food before storing in the fridge or freezer, and make sure everything is clearly labeled.
Related post: How to Freeze in Jars: A Step-By-Step Guide
Do you meal prep? What are your do's and don'ts?
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