Like most people, fixing a meal after a long day at work doesn’t often sound enticing. It’s simply too easy to go to the drive through and grab dinner. In fact, deciding what to eat can be overwhelming some nights, too. Meal prepping has become popular for those that want to eat healthier. It’s a process where you plan your week’s menu and shopping list one day and fix the meals over the weekend or days off work to store. Here are meal prep tips that makes it go faster.
Plan your meal ahead around sales and do double duty.
When you plan around sales, you’ll save money. However, planning to use the same vegetables, meat or fruit with other meals can also save money and time. If you’re planning a snack, make it cut up fruits and vegetables, then use the leftover veggies as part of your soup the next week. Are you roasting, broiling or baking meat like chicken, Cook extra meat at that time and either use it for other meals that week or store it in the freezer for the next week’s meals. Freeze the meat on a tray, separated and then put in a bag, so the pieces don’t stick together.
Use your oven to cook several meats or dishes at once.
You’ll save tons of time by putting several dishes in the oven at once and using all the stovetop burners. A lot of the time spent cooking is simply waiting for the meal to cook. When you’re cutting vegetables for snacks, cut extra for main dishes and side dishes. Plan a menu where you have leftovers for power bowl lunches and dinners. With good planning you’ll cut out those leftovers that develop fur in the back of the refrigerator.
You’ll limit dish washing if you’re using skillets and pans over and over.
When you cook several meals at once, you can use the same pan for sauteing Kale as you do sauteing onions. In fact, if you sauté onions first, you might not need to wipe out the pan at all and just enjoy the extra flavor. Track the type of pan you’ll use to prepare each dish and see if you can put it in an order that benefits you. Keep the menu simple. Use the main protein source several times. If it’s chicken, shred it for a Caesar chicken salad or chicken salad roll-up. By doing this, you’ve wiped out hours of cooking. Save stock from boiled meat to make soup or make bone broth.
Take advantage of fresh seasonal vegetables that are lower in cost. You can cook and freeze some of it for later or use leftovers to make soup for the week and to freeze.
Use a slow cooker or instapot to cook meals while you do stove top and oven cooking. Once in the oven, slow cooker or instapot, there’s plenty of time to cut fresh vegetables and prepare other side dishes and snacks.
Save money and time by using frozen fruits and vegetables as part of your meal. They’re as nutritious or more nutritious than fresh if they don’t have any additives. Read the label.
Always start your menu by checking your pantry and seeing what you already have. It’s especially important to check the use by dates, so you don’t let food go to waste.
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Meal Prep Tips