Entrepreneurs, diligent moms, and workforce women alike all have one thing in common. We want to be efficient with the time we have. We want to spend the least amount of time on chores, errands, and those annoying work tasks that always end up following us home, and the most amount of time with friends, family, and a glass of red wine (give or take on your preferences).
I am a teacher, and from the day I began my career I knew that meal prepping was what I needed in my life to ensure that extra time to spend on the things that I enjoy. Being a person who purses a healthy lifestyle, meal prepping has become very beneficial to my way of living. I can hear you now, “You’re telling me to take 3-4 hours out of my sweet weekend to plan and cook food?” Heck yeah I am. I totally get it. I know the feeling of the weekend being too short. But don’t you feel like week nights are even shorter?! Why not have an extra hour of time each night to spend playing with your kids, cuddling your fur baby, or catching up on your Netflix shows while still having a delicious dinner prepped and ready to go? I know that hour provides me with endless possibilities and it feels FABULOUS.
Let me provide you with a few tips to get you started on this journey. Trust me. You won’t regret a minute of it.
It all starts with a plan. There are two different directions you can go with this. If you are a person who is trying to lose weight or watch what you eat, I suggest doing your planning on the app, MyFitnessPal. This is what I personally use because I can plan out each meal, log it in, and see how much I am consuming in a day. It helps to make sure I’m not eating too much, but that I’m also not eating too little. If watching what you eat does not matter to you, I’d suggest either writing your plan down on a notepad, or downloading a meal planner printable. There are so many free ones out there! After you have everything planned out, make your grocery list. I even go to the lengths of making sure I write down how much of each item I need. That way it won’t be necessary to make extra trips to the store throughout the week.
- The Cooking Process
Start by thinking through what you are prepping. What’s going to take the longest amount of time? Can you multitask by baking your chicken while you chop up the veggies? This one takes some working through, practice, and simply just experience. I won’t lie to you, when I first started prepping it would take me anywhere from 4-5 hours. I’ve gotten it down to a science now where food is cooked up, packed up, and the kitchen is cleaned up within 2 hours. But that’s because I figured out what works for me and the meals I typically prepare (I’m not one to expand my horizons with meals often). If something can bake while I work on preparing another item, that’s the first thing I pop in the oven. If prepping my lunch is going to be quicker than my breakfast, I start with the lunch. Think your meals through, and just know it’s going to take some time to get used to.
- Prep it ALL!
It may sound tedious. But seriously, prep it all. The granola you’re going to put on your yogurt? Portion it out and put it in a baggie or small Tupperware. The spinach, banana, and berries you’re putting in your smoothie? Put them in a Ziploc and toss that in the freezer. You won’t regret it when your workout ran longer than expected in the morning and you don’t have time to measure out and toss every ingredient in the blender. You especially won’t regret it when you’re packing your lunch for the next day and can barely see straight from exhaustion. It’s SO convenient to just be able to grab things and go! It’s really nice when you know it’s healthy and that YOU prepared it. It’ll make you feel a lot better than that Egg McMuffin you picked up at the drive thru because you were out of time. Trust me on this one.
I get it. I know it sounds like a lot. And I’m not going to lie to you, at first it will be. But once you get in a routine you will never regret spending a couple hours of your weekend preparing your meals for the week. Heck you don’t even have to prep all of them at first, or ever. If you enjoy cooking dinner for your family each night, don’t give that up. Just prep your lunch instead so you have something you can grab quick before heading off to work. Or maybe mornings are just really hard for you and you don’t want to have to think about your breakfast in the morning. Spend 30 minutes on Sunday getting those breakfasts ready, and grabbing them will be like second nature.
The Gal behind Adventuring Kelsey
Loves collaborating with other exciting women!