Sunday, August 25, 2013

Weekend Food Prep

Prepping meals and healthy eats ahead of time is a huge lifesaver in our household. Between training, work and other activities, there's very little free time (or extra energy) for me to cook during the week. Lunches are especially important, since I tend to get to work very early and the hubby will eat oreos if I send him empty handed! Reality: without healthy choices on hand, we both tend to default to a bread and PB or bread and eggs diet (not completely a bad thing some days... just not everyday).

While I still do some prep during the week, having a head start on the leg work certainly helps provide a little extra momentum to get going after a busy day. One of the main things I focus on is taking evaluation of what's already in the fridge and needs to be used. I try to base our meals around veggies, so I start the process by turning on some music, spending time chopping up all unused produce in the fridge (can't stand food waste!!), and making a plan from there.

Benefits of Weekend Meal Prep:

Health-saver: Grab and go healthy foods, meals throughout the week.

Sanity-saver: Less brainpower needed after a hard day's work!! Also: Less dishes to clean throughout the week (meaning theoretically the kitchen stays cleaner...)

Time-saver: Multi-task by preparing multiple dishes at once. Save even more time by preparing double batches for the freezer!!

Energy-saver: Again, you can cook multiple recipes in the oven at once.

Money-saver: Save $$ by eating out less, less reliance on convenience foods.

Here's a snapshot of what I made last weekend:

Round 1

Clockwise: Fresh cut veggies for stir fry or curry and leftover broccoli stems (I ate with hummus), marinated tempeh for tacos (recipe soon!), stir fry with veggie "beef" tenderloins for grab-and-go meals, quinoa and baked sweet potatoes for lunches.

Round 2

Clockwise: Fresh baked bread for sandwiches, homemade almond butter, fresh cut watermelon and pineapple (went towards husband's training weekend), a few green smoothies (my daily mid-morning snack) and fruit cups (mid-afternoon snack), not pictured: chickpea-avocado salad (for sandwiches!)

What you will need:

  1. A Plan-decide what foods need to be used up and pick out your recipes. Make a menu.
  2. Groceries- Again, I try to use what's on hand first and then make a trip to the grocery store for extras
  3. Containers- to store the finished product!!
  4. Labels- not a bad idea to label things in case you forget (or for others who may not know what you prepared). Dating items is important too, especially if you plan to put any of the meals in the freezer.
  5. A dishwasher- for the impending mess you make (cue the hubby)

It can be overwhelming at first so start small! Prioritize and pick out a few key items each week and build from there. It doesn't happen every weekend for us, especially when we travel, but it's definitely a habit I'm glad I've developed more over the years.

Happy prepping :)

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