Meal Prep Tips

Meal prep Sunday….

Okay, well it doesn’t have to be on Sunday. But meal preparation is so key for a healthy lifestyle. Think about it. Would you still go out to eat on Tuesday night if  you already have a Slow Cooker meal ready to throw on in the morning that will be ready for you when you get home from work? This would be quicker and cheaper than if you chose to go out to eat. Oh yeah, and healthier.

I have a few quick tips that will help you stay on track with meal planning and meal preparation.

Yes, meal planning. Can’t do one without the other. I pick one day each week (always at least one day before I go grocery shopping or use my awesome Hy-Vee online shopping site) to plan out my meals for the week. I usually plan out from Sunday to Saturday. Below are 5 tips for weekly meal planning.

1. Pinterest is your best friend. Thousands of recipes available at your fingertips! I think what has helped me the most with meal planning is Pinterest. And, rather than sifting through hundreds of recipes and spending hours trying to find the recipes that I remember liking and disliking, I finally decided to create my “favorites” board. Every time we try a new recipe, I turn to Lars during the meal and ask “favorite it?”. And of course with Lars being the awesome husband that he is says “oh yeahhh!”. And there’s that. I add it to our favorite board (which now has 184 of our favorite recipes as of today!). That sure makes meal planning easier having a stash of recipes to choose from when I am stumped on what to make.

2. That being said, I do try to pick at least one new recipe each week. Because we have to have some variety and can’t let the menu rotation become monotonous!

And if Pinterest isn’t your thing, book mark your favorite cook books, or type up your favorite recipes and print them off. But have some type of system that keeps all of those recipes that you know that work in one spot.

3. Make it a team effort. Always ask your family what they would like to see on the meal plan. Lars often asks for homemade pizza on Friday nights! Getting the family involved is a good way to help make sure they will like and eat what you make.

4. Think through each day of the week. On Wednesdays, I don’t work out after work. So those days I pick a meal that will take a bit more time, rather than a Crock Pot meal or a casserole I made on Sunday that I can easily pop in the oven when I get home from the gym at 6:30 to heat up while I shower. Or say you have an appointment after work on Monday, well pick a quick meal or Crock Pot meal for that day.

5. Consider planning for leftovers one night. I always save one day for leftovers or a quick meal that Lars can help with like taco meat for a salad, or one of our favorite go-to’s, Emily Bite’s pizza logs with salad (you need to try!). We are bound to end up having leftovers at the end of the week, why not save time and prep for one less night of the week. I also always keep ingredients for these quick meals on hand, to make in a pinch if we do not have leftovers.

Long story short, meal planning is critical and meal prep is essential. They go hand in hand. Find a schedule and a routine that works for you and stick to it.

Any questions? Email mealsdonelight@gmail.com.

Also, here is the template that I use for my meal planning as well as my grocery list that I organize by section in the grocery store. Feel free to download and use for yourself!

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