On Sunday afternoons, I typically spend about an hour preparing food for the upcoming week. I usually cook the most time-consuming meal of the week on Sundays, so while I am preparing it, I prep other foods””most of which will be stored in Tupperware containers and incorporated into meals later in the week.
A “Sunday Cook-up,” as I’ve started to call it, might seem like a lot of work, but it’s totally worth it since it helps me eat better in the long run. For instance, when I am starving for dinner and faced with the choice of ordering take-out or eating a healthy meal at home, knowing that I have a number of nutritious options waiting in my refrigerator helps me stick to my healthy habits. Plus, once you do a few “Sunday Cook-ups,” it gets easier and easier. You’d be surprised how quickly things come together, and it sets you up for a healthy week ahead. To help get you started, here are some ideas for weekly meal prep!
Cook all of your starches.
Baking a big spaghetti squash in the oven will take at least 45 minutes to cook. Reheating already prepared spaghetti squash takes about 2 minutes. Obviously, it takes some planning ahead of time, but having food ready to go is a life-saver when I’m hungry or just don’t feel like cooking. I also cook Sweet Potato Wedges and homemade French fries, which I eat reheat (the toaster oven works best), eat cold, or mash up (with a Curry Spice Blend) later in the week. Cook your starches and have them ready to eat all week!
Cook your meat.
Similarly to the time-consuming starches, I cook a bunch of meat on Sunday for the upcoming week. I like to buy a big bag of chicken breasts from Trader Joe’s and cook half the bag (or sometimes the whole thing) for upcoming meals, so I’m not constantly cooking chicken, day after day, throughout the week. I will also cook up ground beef or turkey on Sundays for future meals and then store it in Tupperware, so all I need to do is reheat it when lunchtime or dinnertime rolls around.
Prep big batches of grains.
Rice takes forever to cook sometimes (or maybe I’m just super impatient?), so I prepare several servings at once to eat throughout the week. (Mal eats a ridiculous amount of rice, so I always prepare more than I think we’ll need and somehow it always gets eaten). Similarly, if couscous or quinoa is on the menu for the upcoming week, I’ll cook it ahead of time, so I just need to reheat it.
Hard boil some eggs.
Hard boiled eggs are a great snack to have on hand. They’re nutritious, delicious (especially with a little salt and pepper), and satisfying. Most weeks, I’ll hard boil a half dozen, so Mal and I have quick snacks or I’ll incorporate them into Avocado Egg Salad for lunch or dinner.
Wash all fruits and veggies.
I’m super lazy when it comes to washing fruits and veggies, so I do it all at once on Sundays. I take all of my fresh produce, wash it, chop it (if applicable), and put it away. That way, I don’t have to worry about washing it later in the week. Of course, this saves time too!
Chop fresh produce.
While I am washing my fruits and veggies, I chop them up and store them in Tupperware containers for later in the week. For example, I’ll chop up onions and peppers on Sunday for a pizza we’ll eat on Wednesday night, so all I have to do is sprinkle them on top of the crust instead of breaking out the cutting board. I also love to have fresh fruit (I am currently on a pineapple and watermelon kick) on hand for snacking between meals and when I am cooking dinner.
Make iced coffee (or tea).
Instead of buying iced coffee every morning, I make two big pots on Sundays, which last us almost the entire week. It’s quick, easy, and saves us money. This would also work with iced tea!
I love blogging about meal planning, grocery shopping, and all that jazz, so be sure to check out some of the other posts I’ve written over the years:
- How To Stick to Your Meal Plan
- My Top 10 Healthy Grocery Shopping Tips
- Grocery Shopping Q & A
- How to Get Healthy at the Grocery Store
- Grocery Shopping 101: How to Save Money (5-post series)
Question of the Day
Do you do a “Sunday Cook-up”? What are your best tips for getting prepared for the week?
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