Each week I spend a while on Sunday afternoon working on prepping snacks and meals for the week.
I’ve had many, many questions about it and my post on Sunday meal prep is still one of my most popular posts to date.
Most comments that people make are along the lines of, “How do I get started?” and “How do you find enough time?”
The answer to the first question is simply DO WHAT YOU CAN. When I first started on this a year and a half ago, it took me twice as long to do half as many foods. Now that I know what recipes to do, what to purchase, and how to maximize my time (THROUGH TRIAL AND ERROR) it is much, much easier.
The answer to the second question is pretty simple, too. USE WHAT TIME YOU HAVE. I no longer take Sunday afternoon naps and this is the time that I use to meal prep. Amazing how once I cleaned up my diet I no longer need or want to nap! 🙂 But even if you do still enjoy a nap from time to time, you still have enough time to prep some foods ahead to make your week easier.
Today I decided to set my timer for 1 hour and to tackle anything that I could within that hour. After the hour was up, no more prepping, chopping, washing veggies, or cooking.
1 Dozen hard boiled eggs
Three bags of protein shake ingredients
10 bags of washed organic baby carrots
8 bags of washed, chopped organic celery
10 salads for lunches this week
5 bags of low sodium deli ham for snacks
11 egg muffins made with either ham or beef plus spinach, onions, and peppers.
Several bags of hummus and celery
10 containers of nuts for the week for snacks
1 large bag filled with any salad toppings I will use during the week- I take this to work on Monday and use it all week.
1 large pork loin trimmed and prepped and ready to be cooked first thing tomorrow in the slow cooker.
A dozen soaked and rinsed apples
Things I didn’t get done:
*Energy Bites/Protein bites for the week
*Dishes washed/kitchen cleaned
The only supper that I got prepared today was the slow cooker pork bbq that I will serve tomorrow. The recipes I’m making later this week do not lend themselves to prepping this far ahead, so I’ll have to do it either the night before or when I get home in the afternoons.
Here is what my kitchen looked like at the end of 1 hour:
I now have my breakfast taken care of for every single weekday, my lunches packed and ready to go, snacks for myself and for the kids, and a start on supper for at least one night (if not two as we normally eat warm-ups at least once).
Hints and Tips:
1- Multi-task with your time! While I had my eggs boiling, I sauteed my beef and veggies for the egg muffins. While my produce soaked, I mixed my eggs and egg whites and poured into muffin pans.
2- Recruit help! Once I get the lettuces chopped and rinsed, I let the kids help soak, drain and then spin them.
3- Lay out all your storage containers ahead of time. I knew that I would need to make 10 salads, so I laid out all the 8 bowls we had and then set out two quart sized bags. I put the lids I would need underneath them.
4- Have all ingredients out and ready to go.
5- If you’re chopping a vegetable for one recipe and you know you’ll need it for another- go ahead and do it all at one time. Chop once, use for multiple foods.
6- Try to keep your kids/husband out of your way as much as possible. 🙂 I did have to stop a few times to deal with kid arguments. It’s a part of life, so don’t get bent out of shape if it happens.
7- Have ingredients as close to ready to use as possible- I had to open a new jar of natural pb and it took a good five minutes to get it all stirred and ready to use for the protein shake bags.
Regardless of if you choose to prep a little or to prep for the week, make it something that doesn’t overwhelm you. Start small and then add as you go. You will be AMAZED how much time this will save you during the week!
There are a ton of great resources out there on meal prep= a quick google search should turn up hundreds.
GOOD LUCK! If you happen to tackle it for the first time, let me know how it goes!