Meal prep doesn’t have to be complicated, but it sure does save you time and money. Check out my 7 Simple Meal Prep Tips to help get you started.
Welcome to what I like to call the Art of Uncomplicated Cooking.
I like to eat wholesome, real food every day, but I don’t want it to take up all all of my time. Nor do I want it to be another cumbersome task.
Who’s with me on this? 🖐
One of my secrets to staying organized with my food during the week and for saving time AND money is meal prep. But don’t let the idea of meal prepping overwhelm you. I like to keep it real simple.
Meal prep for some people means preparing several meals at the beginning of the week to eat throughout the week. That’s not really how I roll. I like to prepare just a few simple key staples so that cooking is fast and easy when it’s finally time to eat.
And I rely heavily on my freezer. I tend to not like to eat leftovers more that 12 hours old. I rather just freeze them and gently heat them back up in my large convection toaster oven.
So let’s get right to it.
7 Simple Meal Prep Tips
❤️keep it simple… trying to make too many things all at once is too overwhelming. Choose just a few things like washed salad greens, chopped fresh veggies, a few roasted sweet potatoes, and a few chicken thighs or a tray of meatballs for the week. Just having those few things ready to go for the week will set you up for several quick and easy meals.
❤️batch cook throughout the week… make extra of EVERYTHING. When roasting vegetables, roast twice as much. When cooking chicken thighs for dinner, cook 8 instead of just 4. Cook a whole chicken and save the leftover meat for tacos later on. Make a double batch of meatballs. If making soft boiled eggs, make a few extra to throw on salad for lunch tomorrow. When cooking a pot of basmati rice, double up and save some for later. You’d be surprised how easily food freezes and heats up for later.
❤️use your freezer… freeze leftovers in individual portions to use throughout the week. Roasted veggies, sweet potatoes, winter squash, rice, chicken, and beef are all easy to freeze for later. I use THESE glass containers which can easily be placed in the toaster oven for a quick reheat. For frozen basmati rice, simply place in steamer basket and steam for a few minutes until defrosted and hot. All of the muffin recipes on my blog freeze well and are great for on the go breakfasts or snacks.
❤️prep your fresh produce… having washed salad greens, ready to go produce like carrots, cucumbers and radishes, and washed fruit sets you up for stress free time in the kitchen. Throwing together a salad is easy. Grabbing a cucumber to slice with a carrot is fast. Eating just fruit with a handful of nuts makes a simple snack.
❤️make soup… soup is easy, budget-friendly, and makes great leftovers. I use THESE jars to freeze soup in individual portions. I’ll take one out in the morning to defrost for an easy lunch later. In our house, soup is life.
❤️use what you have… let your leftovers guide your next meal. Build your meals from what you have. If you have lots of salad greens prepped, go for a big salad and defrost a few chicken thighs. If you have leftover shredded chicken in the freezer, grab your favorite tortillas, chop some salad greens, cabbage, and cilantro, and make yourself a few tacos. Stick to a few recipes that work for you at first and build slowly.
❤️condiments and sauces… make everything taste better. Keeping your fridge stocked with different flavors to add can make eating more interesting and fun. Add pesto to last week’s chicken thighs. Dip yesterday’s roasted sweet potato fries in homemade ranch dressing. Eat cut up radishes and cucumbers with a bit of sweet potato hummus. You get the idea.
As you can see, I don’t make a big fuss about meal prepping. I do a little bit on the weekend when I have time. I batch cook throughout the week so I have lots of food stocked in individual portions in the freezer. I always have soup leftovers in the freezer.
Sometimes it’s just a little bit of a mindset change about what eating needs to look like. You don’t have to have full 3 course meals every day.
Meals and snacks can be simple and still be delicious and satisfying.
And meal prep can be fun and not take up all of your time. You can start small and build up as you get better.
My Favorite Meal Prep Recipes for Beginners
- Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
- Loaded Veggie Turkey Meatballs
- Instant Pot (or Slow Cooker) Butternut Squash Lentil Soup
- Easy Roast Chicken
- Taco Egg Muffins
- Loaded Breakfast Muffins
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photo credit: Dawn Heumann Photography
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