One of my biggest time savers during the week is meal prepping. Being able to come home after work and spend less than 10 minutes to prepare dinner is a lifesaver! Spending less time preparing dinner also means that 1.) dinner gets on the table faster and 2.) you won’t have as many dishes to clean up. When you meal prep for the week it also makes making healthy choices easier. The healthy meal you prepared will take just as much time to cook as that bag of frozen chicken nuggets that you really don’t want.
Meal prepping is easy! And I want to show you how I meal prep for the week in just 3 easy steps!
How I Meal Prep for the Week
Step 1. Plan Your Dinners
Typically on Wednesday’s I will write down our dinner plan for the follow week. This way, I can get to the grocery store before the weekend. Not only are grocery stores a ZOO on the weekends, but a lot of the produce and my favorite items get picked through by the time I get there. That’s why I like to do my shopping on Thursdays. Most grocery stores get their shipments by Tuesday/Wednesdays and will stock their shelves, in preparation for the weekend buzz by Thursday. Making Thursday the best day to go grocery shopping. All the shelves are stocked, the store is virtually empty, and the best produce is just waiting to be picked.
Here is what our meal plan for this week looks like:
I typically only plan dinners because breakfasts are fast & easy enough and our lunches are usually left overs.
Once you’ve made a menu, then it’s on to step two.
Step 2. Make Grocery List
Write down everything you’ll need to make these dinners for the week or put it on your grocery list app. I use the “OurGroceries” app and love it!
I’ve created categories based on my grocery store’s aisles. My categories are:
- Bakery (as in baking needs)
- Middle Isles*
- Frozen Foods
* You might be wondering about the vague category, Middle Isles, I have. Middle isles are typically where all the processed packaged foods are (cereals, chips, breads, etc). Since we don’t each much (or any) of these items I didn’t need a bunch of categories for all them, so I decided to just have a big catch all category; Middle Isles.
Another tip, is that since this app puts my categories in alphabetical order, I put numbers in front of them based on the order that these isles are laid out in my grocery store. That way I’m not scrolling back and forth on my list trying to match it to what aisle I’m in.
Once you’ve made your grocery list and picked everything up, it’s time for step 3.
Step 3. Prep Food + Store In Refrigerator
Look at your dinner list and pull out all the ingredients that you’ll need. I like to do all the veggie chopping first, sauces/marinades second, and meat handling last. That way you can reuse a lot of your bowls, utensils, and cutting boards, without having to worry about raw meat contamination because you’re doing that at the end once everything else is done.
I like to get everything prepped as far as I can without actually cooking it (although depending on what day of the week we’re having that meal and what it is I may actually finish it). Here are some examples of how far I prep things:
One pot dishes/casseroles: mix everything together except raw meat and store in baking dish in fridge.
Stir Fry: Slice veggies, store in container. Marinate meat, store in separate container
Chicken Salad: Completely make. So when I get home we can eat it immediately.
Meal Prep for the Week to Save Time & Stay Healthy
Meal prepping is so incredibly helpful! Especially when you don’t have much time to cook during the weeknights.
Even if you can’t get all three steps done, just doing steps 1 or 2 will save a ton of time during the week and help you feel less frazzled around meal planning.
… I want to know…
What is your favorite dinner to make?