If you follow us over on the Wellness Witness Facebook page, you’ve seen that I’m a HUGE fan of Sunday afternoon meal prep. By spending an hour or two on Sunday afternoons, my week is SO much smoother. You know the old philosophy of fail to plan= planning to fail? It’s totally true in my case.
When I slack and don’t prep some of my meals/snacks ahead, I am off track from the very beginning of the week and my choices suffer.
I’ve gotten several questions from readers wanting to know specifically what meal prep looks like at my house. Here’s an example for those that want to know more:
I get a big pot started heating with some EVOO and some garlic. I quickly chop an onion and drop it in. While that cooks I chop up an entire head of cauliflower and broccoli, then drop it into that same pot along with chicken broth, salt, pepper and spinach to make a batch of my Green Soup.
While that cooks I dice up two more onions and a zucchini. Half of the onions I add to a skillet with one pound of ground beef to prepare hamburger lettuce wraps. The other half I put in a second skillet with some EVOO, some garlic and a chopped zucchini. I stand and stir each dish as it cooks, and add spices and seasonings as needed. Once the zucchini and onions are cooked I add a splash of teriyaki sauce and then turn off the heat (I’ll use these later for this recipe). After the green soup has boiled for enough time I turn off the heat and let it cool before finishing it in the blender.
Next I work on preparing our salads for lunches during the week. These are easy and can be assembled in big batches. We make enough for the entire week at one time and they stay fresh enough for our liking all week long. Typically our salads are made with romaine, broccoli slaw, celery, carrots, baby tomatoes and cauliflower. Each morning we top them with grilled chicken, walnuts, sunflower seeds and green olives.
Next I cut up another onion and two green peppers to grill that week with our chicken.
Next I cut up another onion and two green peppers to grill that week with our chicken. After that, I made up little bowls of things that I knew we would want for snacks during the week. I buy little bowls from the dollar store. They come 8 or 10 to a pack at times for $1.00 or 4 for $1.00 for the bigger ones.
I use little bowls like these to hold snacks such as baby carrots, celery, and deli turkey slices and turkey pepperoni, almonds on-the-go protein bites . I keep these in a basket either in the fridge or on the counter so they can be grabbed and thrown into my purse, the kids backpacks, or a lunchbox.
Next I finished the green soup in the blender and poured it into bowls to be frozen.
We use this soup for a supplement to our normal lunches if we are hungry or feeling a little under the weather, we sometimes eat it for a snack, or we eat it as a side to one of our suppers.
Next I made a batch of Protein Bites and put about 10 into small containers so they could be grabbed quick and packed into lunches.
While I worked on these items my husband got the grilled chicken breasts trimmed and ready to be grilled. You can learn more about his grilling technique here.
I also started a slow cooker that morning with chicken breasts, wing sauce, and about a fourth of a packet of ranch dressing mix. After cooking it on low for 4-6 hours, it’s ready to be shredded with forks and served on lettuce wraps for meals this week. SERIOUSLY so good!
This is what it looked like when complete:
This has everything pictured except the grilled chicken and the buffalo chicken for the lettuce wraps.
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 57 minutes.
LUNCHES for 1 week
Snacks for week
Pizza toppings for weeknight dinner
Hamburger mixture for Hamburger Lettuce Wraps for Weeknight Dinner
Grilled chicken for 1 weeknight dinner
Buffalo Chicken for 1 weeknight dinner
SOUP for 2 weeks for snacks/lunches/side dish
Down side to meal prepping this much at one time:
Kitchen= Disaster! I ended up washing most of these while my husband grilled the chicken. I’d factor in at least 20-30 minutes for clean up time.
Pointers for those wanting to start meal prepping:
-START SMALL- it took us a while to get the hang of this and to get to where we could prep multiple meals quickly. Pick a couple things and then focus on those.
-Best way to plan a menu is to begin gathering healthy recipes that your family enjoys and putting them somewhere together. Before you grocery shop next time, pull out those recipes and pick a couple to try and then make your shopping list based on them.
-Begin to look for things that you can make ahead of time. Veggies and fruits can be pre-washed and bagged so they’re an easy to grab snack for you or the kids.
-BATCH cook! Make double the recipe and freeze half for next time. Major time saver.
If I didn’t meal prep, the chances of me staying on track during the week are slim. Life is BUSY and there isn’t time to come home and do all of this after working a full day. Sunday afternoons work best for me, but find a time that works for your family and make the most of what you can do.
-MAKE IT A FAMILY EVENT. My husband has started helping me and this saves so much time! I let me kids count out baby carrots and add to the baggies or containers. they love to help make the protein bites or help me put almonds into containers.
It will seem difficult at first, but it GETS EASIER. As with most things in life, it takes some time to figure it out. JUST KEEP TRYING.
If you have specific questions send them over to me by email or contact me over at the Wellness Witness Facebook page. I am praying this post helps give you the encouragement and the info you need to be successful. YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!