Meal prep can feel like a super overwhelming and daunting task if it means spending all day in the kitchen. The last thing I want to have happen is my meal prep take over my entire Sunday! That’s supposed to be a relaxing day, right? Or better yet a “Sunday Funday”! All I know is that I do NOT want to waste my weekend cooking and stressing over weekday prep.
I’ve had plenty of practice over the years finding the best ways to be effective and efficient in my weekly meal prep. Really, truly, it’s totally do-able and can even be fun! So, over the next week, I will be sharing a couple of posts outlining my favorite meal prep “rules of thumb” that help me whiz through my weekly prep. Try them out, and share which ones you personally love the most!
Tip #1: For roasted veggies, I use 2 tablespoons of oil/melted butter or ghee per tray (and as many veggies as will fit on it). Sometimes, I use my measuring spoons, but other times, I just wing it. I also highly recommend using a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper. It makes clean-up so much easier!
Tip #2: Save time with pre-cut veggies, bagged frozen, or pre-washed greens. It might be a little bit more expensive, but time is money! And if those expensive shortcuts save me time and motivate me not to let them go to waste (and eat healthier!), it’s money well spent!
Tip #3: Chop, slice, mix, and prep everything you need for the week. I’ve found over the years that chopping takes up SO MUCH of my meal prep time. If I pre-chopped most of my veggies ahead of time, dinner comes together so much quicker on a busy weeknight. Plus, I hate wasting food (and time!), so I really have no excuse not to cook a healthy meal if the majority of the prep is already done.
Tip #4: Make a big batch of shredded chicken for the week. I love using my Instant Pot, but a crockpot or roasting in the oven will work, too. It’s such an easy addition for salad kits, stir-fries, quesadillas, store-bought sauces, and so much more! And if you ever make too much, you can totally throw it in a freezer bag and pull it out in a pinch.
Tip #5: Keep your freezer and pantry stocked with easy sources of protein, so you always have options ready to go. Some of my favorites: Meat from ButcherBox, canned salmon, frozen haddock fillets, frozen shrimp, Banza pasta, Greek yogurt, eggs (if you can tolerate), and quality deli meat. Cooking protein can often take some time, so keeping ready-to-go options on-hand makes meals come together much quicker.