“A Sunday well spend, brings a week of content.” – Unknown
Every Sunday I take a few hours to meal prep enough meals to last me until Friday. This helps to save both money and my waistline. However, when I first started meal prepping, it would take me FOREVER. The day would go by so fast and I’d be so tired by the end of the day from being in the kitchen all day.
Over time and with practices, I’ve found that a little planning ahead goes a long way. Here are 5 tips to help you save time and money on meal prep:
#1 Plan Ahead
Whether it’s a month or a week ahead, start getting ideas together for what kind of meals you and/or your family would want. Thinking of favorite foods, flavors, and recipes is always a good place to start. Don’t forget to keep in mind allergies or your nutritional goals too!
#2 Take Inventory
Take inventory of your pantry, fridge, and freezer. Sometimes you can create a meal using what you already have. Either way, knowing what you already have on hand reduces the likelihood that you’ll buy something you already have. And who hasn’t done that before?!
#3 Make a List
Now that you know what you have, make a list of what you need. A list gives you a plan of attack at the grocery store, reducing your time there and the chance of buying on impulse, and will hopefully help you stay within budget.
#4 Keep It Simple
To save money on your groceries and time in the kitchen, keep recipes and ingredients as simple as possible. Prep, cook time, and costs usually increase with the complexity of the recipe.
One-pot, one-skillet, and one-pan meals are great when it comes to saving time. When using your oven, consider foods that can be cooked at the same temperature and/or at staggered times. Also, don’t forget your microwave! It’s a great way to steam vegetables while you’re busy cooking other things.
- Glass containers, like the ones I use from PrepNaturals, makes everything look and taste better! Although more expensive than plastic, glass containers are more environmentally-friendly and eliminate plastic leaching into your food and body!
- Don’t think you can eat the same thing all week long? Try meal prep every 2-3 days or use a base and create multiple meals around it. For example: chicken tacos, chicken salad, chicken pad thai, or chicken, rice, and veggies.
- If you’re still struggling with time, consider using short cuts like pre-chopped vegetables, salad mixes, or pre-cooked meats. Although more expensive, these short cuts can save you time in the kitchen.