If you’re a Fly-by-the-Seat-of-Your-Pants kind of cook, meal prepping is going to seem like a completely foreign concept to you. Meal prepping can’t happen in a wing it scenario… at least not well. But if you’re finding meal times to be chaotic, rushed, less than healthful, and a big stress on your life, THIS is for you!!
It’s no big secret why meal prepping is so important. If you’re not sure, you can check out the 5 Real Reasons It’s Important to Meal Prep here. And while it’s all well and good to understand the importance, that doesn’t really help make it any easier to actually do, right??
I mean really. If it were easy, more of us would do it. So how would it feel if someone took some of the work off your plate and broke it down into steps that made sense? What if someone could share their secrets of meal prep success and make you look so good your friends would be jealous?
I’m that person. 😉
There’s the organized part of me that gets all excited when I hear the word “plan” but then there’s the reality side that always asks the question, “But how am I fitting anything into my already packed schedule?” If you feel this way, know you are not alone! But you gotta also know that without a plan, you don’t have a prayer. This is what works for me:
- Develop your meal plan. You can do this all in one day or you can spread it out throughout the week. Use tools like Pinterest or cookbooks to find recipes and add those onto your list. How involved you get with it is totally up to you but my suggestion is to start with keeping it as simple as possible. Repeat meals 2-3 times during the week. Use dinner as leftovers for lunch. Alternate breakfast and snacks between 2-3 ideas.
- Make a grocery list: I find it easier to make the grocery list as I’m choosing the recipes. You can write it out on paper or you can use an app to help with this. Whichever makes your life easier.
- Set aside meal prep time: Yes, you’ll need 2-3 hours to do this when you first start out. If it takes you longer than that, you’re doing it wrong. Figure out what you can do ahead of time that will keep. Meat cooked ahead typically lasts up to 4 days in the fridge. Cut up veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots will keep as well. Bell peppers, cucumbers and softer veggies don’t typically keep much longer than 2 days. Even just having veggies cut up and grains cooked and ready to go will be a huge time saver for you.
- Use tools: There are so many freaking awesome apps out there that make this stuff super easy.
Peapod and Instacart offer grocery delivery service for those times when you just can’t possibly fit in grocery shopping (believe me, I feel you). Peapod is through Stop & Shop whereas Instacart offers delivery from a variety of local stores such as Aldi, Shop Rite, and Big Y.
Walmart Pickup does all the shopping for you, you swing by at your designated time and pick it up. The cool thing with this one is it doesn’t have to be only food related items! Need a garbage can? Put it on the list. Ran out of toothpaste? Put it on the list. Almost anything that Walmart carries can be added to your list.
Mealime is a meal plan service that offers a free and paid version. The free version provides plenty of meal ideas for you to select from, gives you the shopping list for all the recipes you selected (you can remove items you already have on hand), and get this… gives you the option to have those groceries delivered to you through Instacart! Wait… what??? I know right?!?
Cozi offers family sharing of a variety of different things from calendars to lists to recipes – all on the free version. We use it to be able to work off of one grocery list and to do list. For $29.99/year you can add in cool stuff like contacts and birthday trackers.
Seriously… it is really that simple. Stop overthinking it and just start with those simple steps. You can do this! Know how I know? Because if this hot mess express can make it happen – I know you can too!