When I first started prepping, I would dedicate my ENTIRE Saturday or Sunday morning/early afternoon for making my food for the entire week. This process, while effective, was time consuming and borderline burdensome. It helped feed me for the week BUT it also sucked half the fun out of my weekend. I decided that things needed to change. After all, once moving in with my better half and having a full time job, the weekends were for FUN and being social, not slaving in the kitchen.
Since creating my Meal Prep Schedule, I've managed to break my meal prep up into shorter increments of time and have more fun on the weekends. ADULTING FOR THE WIN
Meal prep for beginners: HOW TO Create A Meal prep schedule
- The types of foods will determine the time needed to prep and the tasks as well
- If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you will spend more time peeling and cutting vegetables
- If you prep meat, you will need to ensure you have allocated proper defrost time before prepping
- Picking multiple days/times allows you to spend less time at once in the kitchen
- Select days where you have at least an hour of time to dedicate to meal prep tasks
- For me, this is usually Friday evening at some point, Saturday Morning and Sunday Morning
- If you have laundry to do or another chore to tackle, make it a game and try and finish your prep before the laundry needs to be changed or the dishwasher is done.
- Select days where you have a set amount of time to dedicate to the type of prep task you need to complete. Prep tasks may include:
- Peeling/Cutting up of Vegetables and Fruits
- Bulk Cooking and Cooling of Grains
- Roasting, Slow Cooking, Frying, Sautéing, Broiling or Grilling of Proteins
- Putting prepped meals into containers
- Example of MY Meal Prep Schedule: I pick 3 PREP days and cook ONCE per week
- Friday Evening -> GRAINS: Bulk Quinoa, Spaghetti Squash & Potatoes
- Saturday Morning -> VEGGIES: Kale, Green Beans & Spinach (Steamed/Broiled)
- Sunday Morning -> PROTEINS: Make at least two protein varieties to last through out the week, with a "freebie" day where eggs or tuna or something quick may be a dinner option.
- Cook Sunday/Monday - Depending on our weekend schedule, I will COOK ONCE on either Sunday or Monday to use as another leftover option in addition to our prepped proteins for the week
- TOTAL: I PREP FOR ABOUT 3-4 HOURS a week but by breaking it up, it's not so bad!
(Side note: There are 168 hours in a week, so this is LESS than 2% of your week!)
4. BONUS TIP: SNEAK IN PREPPING WHENEVER POSSIBLE
Racing the clock makes you feel time efficient and makes you move faster!
- Got five minutes?
- Get your lunch box ready to go (unrefrigerated items such as snacks, fruit, napkins and silverware) before work the next day
- Use an apple slicer to dice up an apple for easy eating the next day
- Pre-Peel and Slice an Orange or Pepper
- Throw fresh fruit & veggies in a bag to freeze overnight for a breakfast smoothie in the AM
- Got ten minutes?
- Peel and Slice a Cucumber to eat with your lunchs
- Make your lunch for the next day (my go to is a chicken wrap)
- Section your lunch snacks off into sandwich bags FOR THE WEEK
- Got fifteen minutes?
- Prep some Overnight Oats for the week
- Broil some salmon for a quick dinner for the following night
- Scramble eggs to heat and eat at a later time
- Do you have a meal prep schedule?
- All at once or break it up for meal prep?
- Thoughts on my new series of meal prep help?