Healthy, delicious, and fresh meals all week long is not out of your reach!
1. Don’t grocery shop AND prep on the same day.
I try not to do everything in one day because otherwise it can get very tiring and overwhelming. I do my groceries on Saturday and my major meal prep on Sunday. I may cook a few extra things mid-week if we’re running low on food.
2. Make different recipes using the same ingredients.
This will help you save money and also decrease food waste since you are using up all your food. You will notice I used peppers and mushrooms in the egg muffins but also roasted them and then cut up peppers to have raw as well.
3. Plan your menu so that your whole family eats everything or at least most of it.
Take into consideration likes and dislikes, but don’t get too wound up in trying to please everyone. Sooner or later, they’ll get the hang of eating what is made for them rather than feeling like you have to cater to every single family member. I have implemented this since my oldest daughter started eating solids and it has made life a lot easier. I made sauteed green beans and at first my 3-year-old refused to eat them but after seeing all of us—including my 9-month-old—eating them, she finally agreed to try them. To her surprise, she enjoyed green beans too.
4. Store dishes separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator.
It seems like it’ll be easier and quicker to just throw aluminum foil on the pot or over the pan. But investing in and using airtight containers will prevent your food from going bad and help it taste fresher for longer.
5. Reheat food on the stovetop rather than in the microwave.
While this adds a few extra minutes, I find that even if the food is a few days old, it tastes a lot fresher when heated in a pan on the stove top.
6. Choose recipes that allow you to cook multiple dishes at once.
For instance, bake sweet potato wedges at the same time as roasted veggies and spicy salmon.
7. Line all baking trays with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
This will help minimize clean up.
And now, my go-to meal prep recipes for a week’s worth of meals.
You’ll notice that my meals are made up of protein, complex carbohydrates, vegetables, and healthy fats, and my snacks are made up a complex carb and either a protein or a fat. This is how I make sure we’re eating balanced, satisfying all week long.
- Egg muffins
- Tandoori chicken
- Spicy salmon
- Sweet potato wedges
- Roasted veggies
- Sliced veggies
While this can seem like an overwhelming list of recipes to make in one day, the order in which you prepare the food can save you time and make meal prepping easier. Here is what I do:
- Marinate tandoori chicken, place in refrigerator.
- Line baking trays with aluminum foil and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Chop up all veggies (for roasted veggies, cut up veggies, and egg muffins) and sweet potatoes.
- Bake roasted veggies, sweet potato wedges, and egg muffins. While in oven, cook quinoa on stove top.
- Bake tandoori chicken and spicy salmon.
- Let cool, store in separate airtight containers.
Making two recipes under each category for lunch/dinner allows me to change up what we eat at each meal. Here are three sample meals:
- Spicy salmon with quinoa topped with roasted veggies and cherry tomatoes
- Tandoori chicken, salad greens topped with roasted veggies, and balsamic dressing, and sweet potato wedges
- Tandoori chicken pieces, red pepper and cucumber slices, and sweet potato wedges
In addition to cooking these dishes, I also buy ingredients that allow me to prepare extra meals and snacks without too much prep work, including:
- Pre-washed salad greens for meals
- In-season fruit (peaches and strawberries this week)
- Unsalted nuts (almonds this week)
- Plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese for snack and/or breakfast
|Read on: Here’s How a Registered Dietitian Meal Preps for Her Whole Family for a Week | SELF|