Meal Prep Tips to Save You Time in the Kitchen
We’ve swept away the sugar cookie crumbs, Googled healthy recipes galore and vowed to make a fresh start with clean eating in the new year. But let’s talk sustainability, and I don’t mean how thoughtfully our organic fruits and vegetables are sourced. Exactly how long are we going to stick out this healthy eating plan of ours?
Over the past two years of January Whole30 resets, I’ve bemoaned how much time it takes to prepare from-scratch meals sans grains, dairy, sugar and legumes. But during these dietary resets, I’ve also honed time-saving meal prep habits that help make clean eating sustainable past the first month of the year.
If you come into my kitchen, you’ll realize I’m not preparing elaborate dinners every night. But I am cooking meals with clean ingredients and saving myself time in the process. For me, spending a few hours on meal prep a few times a week—rather than every night—has resulted in a shift in my thinking and in clean eating becoming a lifestyle rather than a resolution. I hope these ideas help you as well!
On the weekend, sit down and bust out all those recipes you pinned. Plan your menu for the week down to breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. When you’re on a new and specific diet, it’s helpful to have it all plotted out and written down. Once you have your new go-to favorite healthy meals on lockdown, you’ll have the confidence to mix things up a little.
Dice and spiralize vegetables and store them in lidded glass containers to easily cook up on a weeknight. With a few exceptions, all vegetable noodles will store in the fridge for up to four days. Don’t do white potatoes ahead of time, they oxidize (turn brown) when cut.
Take it one step farther and roast several large pans of veggies for quick sides throughout the week. Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale and sweet potatoes are all great roasted and reheated.
Make a veggie-packed crustless quiche (or two) as breakfast for dinner one night. Eat it for breakfast the next few days.
Prepare a large cut of meat, such as a roast, pulled pork or whole chicken, for dinner one night and repurpose leftovers the next night. Shredded leftover meat is a great topping for cauliflower rice burrito bowls (for me) and tacos or burritos (for my kids). Adding beans enhances the meal’s protein and stretches it out.
Make a big batch of soup and store leftovers in Mason jars for grab-and-go lunches throughout the week.
Prep a layered lunch. Portion 2 tablespoons of your dressing of choice in the bottom of a wide-mouth Mason jar. In order, layer on hard veggies, soft veggies, cheese/meats, grains/pasta, toppings and greens. The key is to keep the dressing away from your greens. Properly layered salads will store for three to five days in the fridge.
Freezer meals can be your best friend. Hear me out; I’m not talking scary casseroles here. Using the book From Freezer to Table as a guide, in October, I made one meal and was able to swap six other meals with a group of friends. This is life-changing, I tell you. Grab some recipes, get a group of friends together and have your friends make dinner for you!