Meal prep took on a whole new meaning when everything I was eating had to be prepared. When you choose this lifestyle, you give up the convenience of opening up the cupboard and tossing something in the microwave or oven and BAM! have a dinner. Sundays became my saving grace. I tend to do my grocery shopping for the week on Friday or Saturday. I rarely visit the grocery store throughout the week. This means that my one stop has to be well planned to truly make it count. I will post on my grocery shopping experience but for today I want to focus on the process on meal prepping.
- Plan out your week. This is as simple as writing out each day and what you feel like eating! I typically plan for chicken or turkey 2-3 times a week, red meat once, and fish or vegetarian once. I also will take into consideration what’s in season. Since it’s my favorite time of year…fall baking time…I tend to cook with squashes, root vegetables, and turkey. And I absolutely love it. I also try to make at least one soup a week because we always have leftovers and soup heats up so nicely.
- Setting the mood. I never meal prep if I feel stressed about it. I have enough going on in my life on a day to day basis that this does not have room in my life to add stress. If we have plans on Sunday, I just make sure my meals throughout the week are simple enough. I am currently enjoying soft worship music that allows my focus to be on my two favorite things, my Jesus and my family all while DOING my favorite thing:) It’s wonderful.
- Mes in place. This French term “putting in place” is just how it should be when preparing for the week. Before I begin, my kitchen is clean with no dishes in the sink and my counter tops cleared off. This helps with my sanity. I take out the vegetables that will need to be chopped up. This is usually my first step. I will also try to reuse dishes if possible. I try to keep to one cutting board, one knife, one skillet, etc. when possible. I also make sure that I’m always working from left to right. I am a righty so this just make sense to me. A bowl is left out on my counter top for any garbage that is emptied periodically. I usually save all the dishes until the end.
- Until it feels right. Every week is different. Some weeks I can spend one hour and feel like I have a good handle on the week’s meals, other weeks I may spend 2-4 hours. It’s honestly just dependent on what works. I try to cut up all the vegetables that I’ll roast that week, prepare the soup, casseroles or side dishes that can be prepared before hand, pesto or salad dressing, and baggy up the vegetables that I’ll use for our lunches that week.
- My week. I’ve included an example to give you an idea of what our family will be eating this week. With the exception of salads for the occasional lunches, this will provide enough leftovers for lunches. What I prepared this week was the entire Shepard’s Pie, cut up all vegetables to be roasted, and Butternut Squash soup.This week, our menu consisted of:
- Monday-Sweet Potato Shepard’s Pie
- Tuesday-Butternut Squash Soup
- Wednesday-Sausage and Peppers with Rice
- Thursday-Turkey Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries and Brussels Sprouts
- Friday-Roasted Chicken Thighs with Roasted Root Vegetables
Coming home and knowing that I have most or all of the meal already prepared is such a wonderful feeling. Plus, it is not full of harmful preservatives…for I know exactly what’s inside and the hands that prepared it.