I’m always looking for ways to save time. I have about an 1hr – 1.5hr commute to work 4 days of the week. That leaves very little time for me to make breakfast and cook dinner. Once I realized that we’d have to eat out for every meal just to save time, I decided that I needed to look into meal prepping. Let me tell you something….it has TOTALLY changed the game for my husband and I.
On Sunday I prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner for Monday-Thursday. I may be able to make enough for Friday but typically we use that as our one day we might eat out.
One thing to note is that I don’t meal prep for health reasons, I meal prep to save time and money. However, I typically altar my recipes and I sometimes even make two different meals for lunch/dinner because my husband is very conscious of what he eats. I say that just so y’all know…I may not have the healthiest recipes that you would associate with meal prepping. BUT for the most part, I try to keep my meals healthy all around.
Below I’ve listed 5 tips that I’ve learned from meal prepping. After you read these make sure you subscribe to my email list to be the first one to get my FREE meal prep guide once it’s released!
1. Start off small
It may be a bit overwhelming to start meal prepping breakfast, lunch and dinner from the very beginning. I started with just prepping lunch first and then quickly realized that we were still spending too much money on breakfast and dinner AND I had no time to cook. So I jumped into prepping 3 different meals pretty quickly. You may not be in the same situation, so if you can ease into it, I suggest you do so. I won’t lie, I’m always exhausted after cooking all of our meals on Sunday…especially, if it’s been a long week.
Keep in mind you don’t have to cook all 3 meals. I do it because I simply don’t have time with my commute. However, if you live only 15-20 minutes away from your job, making breakfast and dinner might be a bit easier for you, so I’d just start with lunch instead. Everyone has a different family situation. I encourage you to take some time after reading this post to figure out what will work best for you and your family.
2. Find easy recipes
This part is crucial if you’re going to be prepping breakfast, lunch and dinner on Sunday. I learned this VERY early on..probably in the 2nd week of meal prepping. I remember I started cooking at about 12pm-1pm after church and didn’t finish preparing meals until 9pm that night! That’s ABSOLUTELY ridiculous. I knew then that I needed to make some meals that were much easier. I was making some complicated recipes that required several ingredients and also involved lots of chopping, cutting, slicing, etc.
I started to look into different methods for cooking faster and more efficient. One change I made was using crockpot recipes. This was a complete LIFESAVER. I try to make sure that either my lunch or dinner recipe is in the crockpot. That way, I can just throw everything in there, leave it for a few hours and it’s done!
Another way to make your recipes easier is buying some of your ingredients pre-cut. I noticed that sometimes slicing onions, bell peppers mushrooms, etc can be time consuming. If you’re really in a rush I suggest maybe buying them pre cut. I try to avoid doing this because I’d rather cut everything myself and know that everything is fresh. But there are times where I just don’t care…nor do I have the time.
3. Clean out your refrigerator
Make sure you take the time to clean out your fridge at the end of each week. It doesn’t have to be a deep cleaning, but make sure you throw out any food that’s leftover or going bad. One time I went about 2 weeks without cleaning out the fridge and I realized that my husband skipped a few meals that I made and ate out instead (eye roll). They were at the back of the fridge and I hadn’t taken the time out to really look and see what was leftover from the week before. Taking a couple of minutes at the end of each week to see what you have in the fridge will really help you save some time in the long run.
4. Plan your meals.
This sounds like a no brainer but this is where I struggle almost EVERY week. I always tend to wait until Friday or Saturday to figure out what I’m cooking on Sunday. That sounds all fine and dandy, but if you’re indecisive like me, you end up looking at tons and tons of recipes before finally deciding. I find that it’s better to start planning earlier in the week, then I have time to ponder and figure out what I want to make. This also helps so I can go grocery shopping on Saturday and be ready to start cooking on Sunday.
5. Buy meal prep containers
This also may sound like a no brainer, but I actually tried meal prepping without the containers and it sucks..but it’s doable if you don’t have them and want to get started right away. When I first started I was using whatever plastic containers I had on hand and it was extremely hard to separate food. I found myself putting some meals in containers that were too big and then ended up with a fridge that had no room for anything else!
Here are a few different types of containers you’ll probably want to have on hand depending on what type of meals you’ll be making.
- Mason Jars – I typically use these for breakfast. You may want to have a couple of different sizes on hand
- 3 Compartment Containers – I love these containers because I can use them to help control our portions. They also don’t take up a ton of space in the fridge. I use these from Amazon and they work great!
- Single Portion Container – I typically use these for our meals that are crockpot or one pot meals.
I hope these tips will help you on your journey to meal prepping! Make sure you stay tuned and subscribe to my newsletter! I’ll soon be releasing a meal prep guide with recipes, grocery list ways to help you get started! STAY TUNED!
Do you have any tips & tricks that you’ve learned while meal prepping? If so, please share them below!