Weekly Food Prep 101: what I learned this weekend

The arrival of spring has me determined to step up my clean eating routine. My goal:  Eat clean 90% of the time.

The two biggest challenges I struggle with:

  1. Having healthy (and good) snacks and meals ready to go when running out the door in the morning, and
  2. Knowing what we’re having that evening before the sun goes down. And if it’s prepped, even better.

As I would tell any client, planning and preparation are key!

So this weekend I followed my own advice. Plan and prep meals so healthy options are super easy.

Here’s what I did, along with what worked and what didn’t:

Saturday:  planned and shopped (time: 3 h)

And because shopping and prepping on the same day would do me in:

Sunday:  prepped (time: 2.5 h*)

*This doesn’t include the one hour spent trying to make an Instagram story. Maybe for my Weekly Food Prep 201 post?!

Rinsed out and reused containers to store berries, made snack bags with carrots / apples, washed and cut up other items so they’ll be ready to go when needed.

Filled a few containers (this one: brown rice and roasted veggies) for quick and healthy lunches.

Made ready to go smoothie bags for super quick breakfast smoothies.

Sounds simple but having a bowl to toss remnants is a big time saver.

What worked: 

  • Build a list of favorite go-to’s for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and refer to it when planning out the week. This made planning easier.
  • Organize your grocery list in categories. Make sure you add any recipe ingredients you don’t have in stock. When shopping, cross off items as you put them into your cart. That way you’re visually focusing just on what you still need to get. This saves time and ensures you don’t forget anything.
  • Shop during non-peak hours or use a delivery service.
  • Before prepping, gather all supplies you’ll need: colander, cutting board, sharp knife, vegetable brush, zip locks / containers, recipes and ingredients, and last but not least, a big bowl to toss trash.
  • Cook while you’re prepping:  I made brown rice, roasted veggies and soup so I prepped ingredients for these first.
  • Create a good vibe environment. Play your favorite music or listen to a good podcast. For this photo, I made a pretty display with the fruits and veggies. I noticed it seemed to make it more “fun” (for lack of better word), kind of like having a favorite pen and desk accessories that make work less like work.

A rainbow of fruits and veggies waiting to be prepped: I guarantee I’ll throw out a lot less. I won’t do all of this work for nothing!

Next time:

This was a lot of work! Between the cost of the items and the time it takes to prep, I’m looking into ways to streamline, including:

  • Add in more pre-prepped items (e.g., pre-washed veggies, frozen fruits) so I can spend more time putting together actual meals vs. just prepping the ingredients.
  • Supplement the prepped stuff with ready to go meals like Kashi and Amy’s in the frozen section. The soup I made took a lot of time and was not worth the wait.
  • Order some meals – especially when just for me – from places like Daily Harvest (pre-made smoothies) and Kathy’s Table (a local place that makes and delivers healthy meals with no prep needed). I’ve tried Blue Apron but that was way too much work for me! I thought it’d be like a 5-minute meal but I’d spend at least an hour in the kitchen!
  • Prep bigger batches and freeze. And figure out a way to remember and use what’s in freezer!
  • TBD: Are you a meal planner or food prepper? If so, send me some of your favorite tips. I’m definitely a beginner with this and could use a little help!

With some tweaking here and there, I look forward to streamlining the process – and adding better recipes!

Overall, I can say that my Weekly Food Prep was a success. As I wrap this post up, I’m sipping on my green juice which would not have happened had I not prepped all of the ingredients!

Cheers!

 

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