Mar 182015
 
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As you know, I’m a recent convert to meal prepping. This is a pretty loose term and people use it mean different things – so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts and experience (thus far) and what I mean when I say that I’m ‘meal prepping’.

I use the term meal prepping in a broad way – I am preparing and packaging lunches and breakfasts well in advance (about a weeks worth each Sunday) and I am also doing some dinner prep ahead of time (why not since I’ve got the kitchen ‘open’!). I’m not yet to the point of cooking in advance and freezing meals, but that may come!

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Spicy Chicken Strips, Sweet Potato, Pickled Broccoli Cauliflower

 

Why I meal prep:

1. Money savings! 

Cha-Ching!!  Who doesn’t want to save money!?  Meal prepping has definitely saved me money. I throw away FAR less food and I am buying a lot less food as I can see what a week’s worth ‘need’ actually is now. For instance, I used to buy apples and just put a bunch in a bag figuring it will surely last a week – and they did, but normally more than a week. I was actually overbuying.  I wasn’t wasting them, I found uses and I carried them over into the next week, but the bottom line is that I have found I don’t NEED that many. It’s that way with several things I buy. Prepping in advance REALLY allows me to see what I use and then I can plan for the following week. I am learning how much of what items to buy and THAT is cost effective!  I also have found that I’m not throwing away as much. Things that I may decide I don’t’ want to eat this or that day or things that get shoved to the back of the fridge. Now I eat what I pack and my fridge is much more organized.

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Stacked and Ready to go!

 

 

2. Time! (we have JUST enough hours!)

At first blush it may seem like an overwhelming and time consuming task. Making 5-6 lunches and 5-6 breakfasts all at once!?!!  WHAAAAAAT?!??!!!

But really, I’m cooking anyway on Sunday, this is like making one more meal (a big meal, yes, but just one more) and then dividing it up into containers. Really, it’s quite simple . That extra bit of time on Sunday saves me LOADS of time each morning trying to make something to take to work for Bfast and Lunch. And repeating it EVERY morning, instead of doing it once on Sunday. It’s one prep, one mess, one clean up rather than 5 or more.  With a little thought I can cook two or three different things in the oven at the same time. I can bake AND broil at the same time. REALLY. It is saving loads of time. 🙂

3. Peace of mind

Ahhhh, another lovely benefit. I am not worrying over what to make. I’m not thinking about what I have and how I am going to have to rush to throw it together. Trying to make something FAST so I won’t be hangry during the day.  In fact, I began by prepping bfasts and lunches a week in advance and then taking them each day, now I take the entire week’s worth in with me on Monday morning! I now have a calm morning and can jet out the door without even opening the fridge to grab what I’ve prepacked!

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Breakfast Jar Meal Prep in progress

 

 

4. Health Benefits

For me, prepping has made me more conscious about what I’m eating. And even more than that – how much I am eating. Portion control is a big benefit I hadn’t thought of and actually hadn’t started out thinking about. I had purchased containers that looked great – big enough, divided – a large side and a smaller side. And then the other day it hit me that the larger side was still quite large. So when I was at Target this past weekend I looked for various individual containers….in various sizes. Now I have a half cup size, a one cup size, and a larger size. I can mix and match and I know without measuring if I’m putting in a half cup of yogurt!

 

Those are some reasons why I meal prep – what about you?

Leave a comment below with your reasons or questions, comments, experiences of meal prepping!

 

Mar 092015
 

I love to cook – REALLY love it. But lately I’ve felt burnt out in the kitchen, partly because we’ve been so busy so I’ve resorted to using boxed and frozen meals or starters.And THAT has left me feeling like a big no good cheater cheater – tossing together salads for me – and then making something out of a box or package for my son. NOT GOOD.  UGH.  I decided I needed to get over my fears and concerns about meal prepping and dive in.

I took stock of what I had in the pantry and fridge/freezer and got back to cooking. REAL cooking.

For the past three weeks I have made a week’s worth of lunch and breakfast on Sunday. I am also making and freezing some dinner items so even though I’m pulling it from the freezer at night – it’s not coming out of a box.

This is a sampling of what I’ve made recently:  terriyaki chicken, fish with lemon dill sauce, baked asian fish, turkey burgers, roast chicken, baked potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, roasted veggies, steamed veggies, bulgar salad, broccoli salad, homemade granola, granola/cereal bars, fruit salad….and some photos I snapped along the way. 🙂

 

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When I fire up the oven, to save time, I cook several things at once. I bake in the top oven while broiling in the bottom. 🙂    I chop extra veggies when I roast them and use the extras in other things.

I’ll be back tomorrow with some of the actual recipes and some thoughts on how I personally got started – but in the meantime I’m interested in hearing about your adventures in meal prepping/planning, whatever it’s called when you do a week ahead of time. PLEASE leave a comment, question, or tip below!!