Meal Prep Tips For Busy People

If you’re like many people, when you first heard about planning your menu and cooking it ahead, it made total sense and sounded like a great idea, until you thought about all the extra effort it entailed. You can actually cut the time it takes with these meal prep tips. Planning your meals ahead, making them ahead and then just heating and serving during the week makes it easier to stick with a healthy eating plan, plus is a blessing if you’re a busy person. It’s far faster than sitting in a drive through line once you get the process in play.

You can save money and time when you plan around sales.

What’s the veggie for the week and how can you use it several times? When you do your shopping, slice and dice your food immediately. Cut celery, broccoli, carrots and other veggies in pieces that are ready to dip. You can use them as snacks or sides with dip fresh or in salads and cook them as a side to reheat later. If there’s any left over at the end of the week, toss them in water for next week’s soup. You can also cook twice as much meat and store the extra in the freezer for another meal, saving the oven time later.

If you’re using the oven for roasting or baking, cook several things at once.

The same is true of the stove top. When you make sure your oven and burners are used to maximum potential for an entire week’s worth of food, the time you spend in the kitchen is cut drastically. A lot of time is wasted simply waiting for food to cook and it normally doesn’t require additional effort on your part. Plan for leftovers, they’re great for power bowls for lunch or dinner. If you plan right, you’ll use all the leftovers for meals.

Is your pan warm and lightly greased from sautéing spinach, use it to sauté onions.

Make sure you sauté the foods with the lightest taste and smell first, unless you want a little of that garlic flavor for your spinach or croutons. You can wipe out the pan or just enjoy the extra flavor if a lot of the food is aromatic. Your protein source, such as chicken or fish can be used several times for your weekly menu and several ways. If boiling chicken, save the stock for next week’s soup. You can also save bones and freeze them until you have enough for bone broth.

  • If you’re roasting or baking extra meat for a future week and freezing it. Lay it out on a tray separated and freeze. Once it’s frozen, put it in a freezer bag. The pieces won’t stick together so you can retrieve what you need, while keeping the rest frozen.
  • If you want to keep prices down, eat seasonal fruits and vegetables when choosing fresh ones. Remember, frozen fruits and veggies with no added ingredients are just as nutritious as fresh, so use them liberally.
  • If you have a slow cooker, Instapot or both, put them to use. Start foods in the slow cooker before you start other food prep.
  • Salads are easy with all the veggies precut. You can even chop a week’s worth of lettuce at once. Use a salad spinner to remove the excess water, then line a refrigerator bag with paper towels to take out excess liquid, put in the lettuce, press out the air, seal and store.

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