Meal Prep for the Week Ahead

Meal Prep for an Easier Week

One thing I like to do each Sunday and/or Monday that saves me time is to do a simple meal prep. If you haven't heard of it before, meal prep is taking an hour or two once a week to get some food ready for the upcoming week. It can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be. Some people put together every.single.thing that they are going to eat and store it in the fridge. Others make several things that can be prepared many ways for the week. And still others prep 4-6 things. I fall in the last group. I've tried several things and what works for me is to prep a handful of things putting the focus on breakfast and snacks. I don't like to make everything for the week in advance because 1) We have too many leftovers that go to waste 2) I like to have my food fresh instead of re-heated the 1st time I eat it 3) I actually enjoy cooking (most days) and it's easy to turn on the rice cooker, steam veggies, or put something in the crockpot. That's why I only prep a handful of items. I also pre-plan my meals for 1-2 weeks at a time and make sure I've got all the ingredients needed. Breakfast seems to be the hardest time of the day to get a decent meal on the table for some reason and that is why I like to do a little bit of breakfast preparation ahead of time.

Preparing green bean on a wooden cutting board

What kinds of things can one prep is really up to you. Here is a basic list of things that I have done: I will make muffins, baked oatmeal, waffles, pancakes, granola, and granola bars. I could brown some sausage to put in eggs, shred some cheese, cut up some fresh fruit and veggies, wash spinach and/or lettuce, bake some sweet potatoes, make some smoothie bags, and put together some oatmeal packets. I might take a meal out of the freezer to thaw, or put a meal into the freezer for another night, marinate some chicken, or make some turkey meatballs, and brown some ground turkey. If it's cold, I might make a yummy soup for that night and to have for lunches. I will also cook a whole chicken or pork in the crockpot to use the meat several times throughout the week and make chicken salad. Really there is no end to what you can do! Now, I don't do all of these things all at once but these are all my go-to ideas for what I will usually pick from anytime I'm doing a meal prep. I usually do maybe 4-5 things at a time. Keep in mind, meal prep is there to help you - not to make you feel stressed out!

Cutting fruits and veggies on wooden cutting boards

If you are new to meal prep, I dare you to try it out and see if it works for you. Began by asking yourself "what is the hardest meal to get on the table?" and make that your goal. My goal is to simply make my week easier by having a few meal components ready - especially for breakfast! Start small by picking 3-4 things to prep in advance that would help you out this upcoming week. After you do that a couple of times, add 1-2 more things until you are at your happy spot. Remember that no matter what you do or how much you prep, I can guarantee it will be helpful!

Need more ideas on meal planning or meal prep? Check out my Pinterest board!

Do you meal prep? If so, do you prep entire meals or only a handful of things?

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