Updated: Jan 20, 2021
For years I have prepped meals. I no longer think about it, it’s just something I do every Sunday morning. I prepare my partner’s breakfasts, lunches and my lunches and snacks. While it eats into my Sunday I would rather lose an hour or two for one day, than faff every day of the week.
It all started when I embarked on a healthier way of living. It just made more sense to plan for the week than try to get by from meal to meal. Since I moved out (a long time ago!) I have always planned my dinners for the week, I would get out my recipe books, write down what meal I was having on which day, then when I went shopping, I knew exactly what I needed which reduced the cost and waste. The next step was to plan and prepare my lunches and breakfasts.
I am quite happy to eat the same lunch 4-5 days a week. When I first started eating like this, people would question how I could eat the same thing every day, I then asked them what they have for breakfast everyday, 90% of the time it was cereal every day, the same cereal. So, you want to question my choices now? Thought not. When I first started meal prepping I didn’t really know where to start, then I happened across the best meal prep website I have ever found. Sweet Peas and Saffron. It is just the best, the lady who comes up with all the recipes is Denise and she has all your meals covered from breakfasts to freezer ready dinners. To this day her website is still my go to. She has options that cater for meat eaters and vegetarians.
The basics of meal prepping.
So when you come to meal prepping you need to make sure that you have plenty of containers ready, I use Lock ‘N’ Lock, just because they wash well, are BPA free and often are available to buy in big sets. I have a whole cupboard full of assorted size pots. You can get glass containers too but with biking to work (and falling off bikes) I would rather stick to plastic, it’s ok, they can be used for years!
So now you have your food storage sorted, you need to carve out some time. I like to do it over the weekend as I have more time and it means I am set for the whole week. Just pick a time that works best for you. The time needed will greatly depend on the cook times of your chosen dishes. I think I probably spend between 1 - 2 hours every Sunday cooking. I like to listen to music, but now football is back on, my partner watches Match of the Day while he irons (Sunday is definitely a chore heavy morning in our household).
So now you have your containers and time, you need to get all the ingredients out. If I am cooking multiple dishes, I do one dish at a time. While one is cooking or cooling, I can prepare for the next dish. Time management is key. Now we are approaching winter, soup is back on the lunch menu, so I start there. I prep all the ingredients, get the soup on, then move onto the next dish. This tends to be Matt’s breakfasts. Once his breakfast items are cooked they need to cool, so while they cool I prep his fruit! It really is just a case of juggling best you can. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes I forget something and get in a right flap but once it’s done, it’s done and I don’t need to worry about it all week.
So let's break it down into steps and send you off onto your own meal prepping journey!
Buy sustainable food containers that are fridge, freezer and microwave safe
Write down a list of what you want to eat for your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Then when you go shopping you will know exactly what you need, reducing waste and cost
Set aside time for you to get your cook on and make sure everyone else is busy with their own tasks. There is nothing worse than people getting in your way while trying to move around the kitchen
Start cooking. Try and time everything so that while one is cooking/cooling you can be doing the next task
Portion everything out and store in the containers either in the fridge or the freezer depending on the recipe
I hope you found this helpful and that you are ready to make your life just a little bit simpler. Once you start, you won’t look back! It is a life saver when you work full time and have to leave early in the morning. I do not meal prep my dinners but I do know what I am having every night and I make sure they are quick recipes so I am not spending too much time cooking on a work day.