Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Meal Prepping 101: How & What I Meal Prep


Meal prepping is something I have started doing religiously in the past year (or two?).  The few times I have missed it, I just feel so off that week.  It's one of those things I need to do to set myself up for a successful week - at least when it comes to eating.

I used to not be a huge fan of doing meal preps.  In the beginning it felt like I was spending so much time on it, when really, on Sundays, you just want to be out doing fun things or relaxing - not meal prepping.  Fortunately, I have found my rhythm and some key shortcuts that have really helped me speed things up.

First things first - you need to come up with a meal plan.  I prep for my breakfasts, snacks and lunches.  Occasionally for dinner, but more often than not, that gets made the night of, or night before depending on what it is.  I am able to eat the same thing over and over (most the time), so I keep things very simple when planning for those meals.

Breakfast - egg & spinach mini quiches / muffins
Snack - strawberries
Lunch - chicken & salad
Snack - Greek yogurt & blueberries with cinnamon

Side note: I always try to be aware of these things when I am at the grocery store, so if there is a good sale on lettuce, or yogurt, or chicken strips, I always stock up.

I make a list of things I am planning on prepping by meal, and start going.  First up on the egg & spinach mini quiches/muffins.  Or frittatas - whatever you want to call them!  I shared this mini quiche recipe, and that's mainly what I got off of, but have since switched up the ingredients.  Spray your muffin pan liberally with Pam, fill the tins with a good amount of torn spinach, then prepare your eggs.  I have done this various ways - I scramble all 12 together, add my pepper, then try to pour equal amounts into each tin.  I have also individually scrambled an egg for each tin, too, at the advice of my sister in law.  Honestly, that is probably the way to go, because I always get uneven amounts when I try to pour the whole bunch at once.  They go into a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.  Once I take them out, they cool and then I pop two in little snack baggies.  I keep three in the fridge for Monday through Wednesday, and freeze the others.  I try to remember to pull one out of the freezer the night before, that way it can thaw.  Otherwise they just have to be microwaved for a bit longer.

Next, I tackle the fruit.  I keep the blueberries in their packaging when I rinse them off, then just place a folded paper towel underneath for the extra water that hasn't drained.  They go back into the fridge, and I put two handfuls in a baggie each morning for my yogurt.  I worry they would get weird if I separated them all on Sunday, and it takes no time at all to put them in the bag in the morning, or even the night before.  I rinse my strawberries, then cut them up.  Those go into individual containers.  I bought these little containers that are just over 1 cup, so I know exactly how much I am getting.  Makes portion control super easy!  

I tend to my lettuce after the fruit.  Depending on prices, I either buy lettuce that is already washed multiple times, or I purchase lettuce that I need to wash myself.  If it is lettuce that is already washed, I just chop it all up and into containers it goes.  If I need to wash it myself, I usually do that first thing - chop it all up, wash, then lay out on paper towels to dry.  I like to do it before all other meal prepping, because my counter top space is limited.  This way I don't want to do it mid-prep and have to stop for a little bit to let it dry.  Along with lettuce, I cut up red pepper and cucumbers.  One of the shortcuts I use is buying matchstick carrots.  Cutting carrots is just not my thing, so this takes all of that work out and I can just grab a bunch to add to my salad.  Easy peasy!

The other shortcut I use is one I have mentioned on here before, in my 'Thing I Am Loving' post back in January.  Frozen chicken strips.  I used to cook chicken, and that just seemed time consuming to marinade it, grill, and then chop up.  If I didn't grill it, then I would use the slow cooker sometimes, but it still seemed a little bit more of a hassle than I wanted for a Sunday.  Not to mention both ways dirtied extra dishes.  My mom told me about these frozen chicken strips forever ago and in the last few months I just recently remembered them.  I love them.  I fill up a little Tupperware either the night before, or that morning and heat it up at lunch.  Like the carrots, the chicken strips are just something I find super easy and helpful for meal prepping.  My grocery store has two different brands, so I usually go for the cheapest one, and like I mentioned earlier, stock up when one is on sale.

To make things even easier for myself, I group everything together for the day in one area in my fridge.  Unfortunately, my salad dressing cannot be refrigerated, otherwise I would pack it all in my lunch so I am ready to go.  (I found that if I pack it in my bag and plan on grabbing my dressing, I forget my dressing, and salad without dressing is just not for me.)  I keep cinnamon at my desk, that way I can add as much as I want to my yogurt.  It is easier for me to get one for work and one for home, that way I didn't have to bring it back and forth and chance forgetting it - which had happened more than once!  

That's really the process of how I meal prep, as well as what I actually meal prep.  It takes less than an hour, which I feel like is well worth it.  I now am a believer in meal prepping and find that it helps me start off the week on the right foot and for healthy eating for the week.  I know some people can't eat the same thing over and over again, but I find that if I just switch things up for dinner and on the weekends, then I don't mind it.  Of course, there are days where I want something different, so an occasional lunch out just means that I have a super easy dinner all ready for that night, or it keeps until the next day.  But being prepared, really helps to keep you on course.   

I am curious to know - do you meal prep? 


Linking up with Lindsay & Whitney.

15 comments:

  1. So informative and inspiring! I packed my lunch last night and thought I was ahead haha! What do you do when you have leftovers from supper?
    Sarah at MeetTheShaneyfelts

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I emailed you, but wanted to respond on here as well. I haven't had many leftovers for dinner lately. Depending on what it is, I either freeze it, eat it for dinner another night, or save it to eat on the weekend. I do sometimes take it as lunch, like for example if I have a leftover burger, I will eat that for lunch instead of the chicken.

      Delete
  2. I mainly meal plan instead of prepping. I find that planning for meals and getting everything on the weekends prevents me from going out and picking up something fast food-y for dinner especially. Most of my breakfasts are easy and quick so I don't need to prep much, but I do cut fruit and stuff on the weekend so I don't have to do it during the mornings.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for this peak into your prepping! I love those chicken strips too but I've found it's less expensive to buy a rotisserie from Costco and shred it and then freeze (if I need to) I totally get what you mean about berries, I never really separate mine

    ReplyDelete
  4. So many great tips-- I'm not very good at prepping, so I always love reading posts like this. I might give those mini egg cups a try the next time I pick up spinach.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You go girl!! Meal planning is a must for us or we'll just go grab Sonic or something else that's not good for us and costs money lol. Some Sunday's I have it altogether with meal prepping and then there are some Sunday's where I just don't, and I'm trying to meal prep each night that week. Prepping definitely helps and I am trying to make that a Sunday afternoon habit/routine. Thanks for the inspiration!!!! I love seeing how others meal plan/prep!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I meal plan but I don't prep. I have friends who do, and I'm sure it would save me a lot of time!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I do both, prep and plan and it saves so much time. Many of the things you love are Favs of mine as well! This was a great post!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Girl, this is so detailed and informative! I am SO bad about prepping in advance, but I have gotten a little better lately. I know it would save me a ton of time during the week, though. And I really do need to try making those mini quiches. They sound so good! I just pinned this for later!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm back from a month-long blog break and very excited to catch up :) I need to try the mini quiche, that would be such an easy thing to pack each morning for work. Thanks for sharing! :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I tried storing cut fruits, but they started to dry out in the containers...how do you stop that?

    ReplyDelete
  11. I prep almost all of my lunches & snacks for work on Sunday afternoon/evenings. I have to do or else it just throws everything out of whack if I'm doing it on a Monday or Tuesday night instead. I do the same thing with fruit-- cut it up & put it into little containers for each day of the week. I need to look into getting some of the frozen chicken as that would be WAY easier for dinners in the evening!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love meal prepping and planning! It really does make life SO much easier!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I definitely believe whole heartedly in the saying "failure to plan is a plan to fail". Making sure I have my breakfast and lunch planned for the week is huge for me. We recently bought some silicone muffin liners so I may try egg muffins again. I was so irritated by cleaning that muffin pan that I finally just started making one big casserole dish and cutting into squares for the week.

    ReplyDelete
  14. We're the exact same way, if we don't prep the weekend before then I know that we're going to eat bad food for the whole week. A lot of times we'll prep by figuring out how many meals we need to make and then picking out recipes that would fit that meal total. That way we get some variety in there too.

    ReplyDelete