If blocking out an afternoon of your Sunday to meal prep for the week sounds tragic, I am with you. With the amount of laundry that piles up all week, grocery shopping, and house cleaning that has been neglected- I sometimes feel like just sitting on the couch, binge watching Netflix and hiding from all the ‘To-Do’s”.
After choosing to become plant based, I had to start preparing my meals ahead of time to keep me from starving to death or caving to the cravings. I have been preparing breakfast and lunch for my husband and myself for the last 6 months, and within that time I have discovered some tricks that have cut down my meal prep from 2 1/2 hours to just 60 minutes. In this short time, I am able to prepare 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches for both of us and prepare batches of some key ingredients needed throughout the week for dinner.
Here are a few of the top time and $ saving tips that have given me back some time with my family.
Take the time to write down your meal ideas BEFORE heading to the grocery store or adding to your online grocery CART- Walmart pick up Moms Unite!
Saturday morning I sit on the couch, drink a cup of coffee and plan my meals. I troll Pinterest and some of my favorite recipe books to help keep me from a food rut. This 30-minute task allows me to organize by day of the week, meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and snacks.
Yes, I am one of those people who has the weekly dinner plan on a chalkboard in the kitchen. Not only does this help me stay on budget, it keeps me from the agonizing phrase, “What am I going to cook for dinner?”, which is usually a time I dread after a long day at work. When I know what I am making for dinner, then I usually don’t have such terrible thoughts about preparing it. (plus, if I have planned really well- most of the grains, legumes are already prepared and ready to be added)
Stick to your list. With just a few staple pantry items and herbs/spices –you can save a lot.
(This kind of goes a long with #1) Lean on Fall Back Meals
I am a sucker for soup!!! I love making soup because I can just throw together a bunch a veggies, legumes, and veggie broth in no time. Plus, it is always a hit at my house- throw a grilled cheese together and everyone is happy (even my 4 and 6 year old). I actually made lentil soup last night, which also became todays lunch. https://pin.it/777l3uzm5enasi From CookieandKate.com
Bake sweet potatoes – they can be used for breakfast (a little bit of nut butter, cinnamon, chopped nuts and a banana) or with black beans and roasted broccoli for a quick lunch.
Roasted Veggies is also a go-to meal that I prepare almost weekly.
This allows for so much variety, and it is so easy and FAST.
Chop up all your veggies (especially roots), add garlic salt, balsamic vinegar,
And roast at 375 for about 30-40 minutes.
- Many of these items can all be cooked at the same time, which can also Save on time.
Invest in quality containers and food storage totes.
Enther makes great containers that are BPA free, airtight 2 or 3 compartment containers that are microwave and dishwasher safe. I actually have 3 other people at my work already using these to meal prep. A set of 20 is only $16.50.
Or buy mason jars of all sizes to store your batches and Lunches.
Prepare Batches of…
Buy a Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot!
These are great ‘Go-To’ items to add to soups, Buddha bowls, oatmeal, sides etc…
These are just a few tips that have helped set me up for success. I am always looking for more ideas, more quick ‘go-to’ recipes, so please leave any ideas in the comment section.