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By Samantha Burnett

Meal prep 101

Meal prep sounds tedious, doesn’t it? On top of working, housework, repairs and having a social life, who has time for meal preparation? It is very normal to initially have these thoughts. What people find after they meal prep is, “why didn’t I do this sooner?”

Let’s first define meal prep. What is it? It is what you need it to be to make your life easier. For many, meal prep is about planning what meals they will have for the week, shopping, then creating the meal. How can we simplify this to make it easier for us? Let’s break it down.

  • Plan. Have fun with this! Grab a cup of coffee or tea and take ten minutes and make a list of your favorite meals, (as well as new ones you would like to try). Once you make this list, you have just created a variety for yourself in the weeks to come. Long gone are the days of having, “cooking block” and cannot think of one single meal that sounds enticing.
  • Take inventory. Look through your recipes. What do you need to buy? What do you have on hand already in your pantry and spice cabinet? You may find you have many of the ingredients already.
  • Be creative and save money. Monday night, you have grilled chicken. Make a little extra for a delicious chicken sandwich for lunches. Or, take the extra chicken, make chicken soup. Freeze half and enjoy the rest – it can be fun to see how versatile you can be.
  • Time to shop. Once you have mapped out your meals and reconciled what you have on hand, you will have your grocery list complete. Don’t forget your storage bags and containers. These are essential. Short on time? Many grocers will deliver too, which is a great time saver.
  • Chop chop! This is a favorite of mine. Once you have all your items, start chopping and bagging ingredients. (One very important item-meat and fish need to be in separate containers from the other ingredients if not cooked!) Start with the produce, then the meat/fish and finish by measuring out spices. Label the containers or baggies with the meal it contains. It takes about 45 minutes total to get this all done. A great way to have fun with this is to call a friend while you are chopping and prepping. It makes it fun as you talk about the different meals you will be making for the week and you have a chance to catch up with your friend.

At first this may all sound daunting. It’s absolutely understandable. Many people find, that what normally would take 8-12 hours cumulatively in a week thinking, shopping, defrosting and cooking, really only takes 4 hours a week once they meal plan. And, once you get the hang of things, it can be even quicker! You will find you enjoy the fluidity of having some extra time back in your life and being stress free of what and how they eat. Truly a lifestyle change!

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