Sunday…food prep day! One lesson that I learned a few years ago was that I am an absolute bear if I do not have my meals for the week planned before Monday rolls around. When you prepare in advance, you are much less likely to run through the fast food lane on your way home from work or pour that bowl of cereal for a less than desirable dinner! I will explain what works best for me but I also know that we all have very different weeks, weekends and lives so adapt these suggestions to whatever works best for you! The bottom line here…is preparation and organization!
Optimally, I like to get my meal planning and grocery shopping done on Saturdays. This allows Sunday for preparation and picking up anything that I forgot or that the market decided to run out of, or quit carrying, right before I walked in:). I find it helpful to sit down with my favorite cookbooks, recipe cards, Pinterest recipes, etc, and start planning. Write down your plan for the upcoming week…all three meals…not just dinner! The more organized you are for the week ahead, the easier it is to plan and stay on track.
Now, listen up… this part is VERY important….I suggest washing your fruits and vegetables and also cutting up your vegetables BEFORE you put them away. I cannot tell you how many times I have dug out unrecognizable vegetables from my fridge because I didn’t have time to clean and cut so they stayed in there for days. Let’s face it, if vegetables are supposed to be the largest part of our plate each day, we don’t need another obstacle to prevent us from eating them. Cut those veggies up before you put them away!!
Here are a few tips on utilizing the weekends for food preparation so the week can go a little smoother!
- Wash your fruit before you put it into the fruit bowl or fridge. Grabbing a clean apple out of the fruit bowl sounds silly and trivial but again, it saves time later…you’ll see:).
- Wash and cut up vegetables and separate into glass bowls.
- Brown any ground meat that you will use in the upcoming week and store in your fridge or freezer. Ground meats should be used within two days of being in the fridge so any longer than that, put it in the freezer and move it back to the fridge the day before you use it again! (Ground meat stays good in the freezer for up to four months). Throw it on a salad, in marinara sauce or soup and you just shorted your prep time during the week. Woohoo!
- Bake chicken breasts ahead of time and store in fridge. Cooked poultry is safe in the fridge for 3-4 days. Keep the remainder of the uncooked chicken in the freezer until it will be used.
- Keep fish frozen until the night before you plan to eat it.
- Hard boil a few eggs and keep in glass bowls in the fridge.
- Throw together oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, coconut, cinnamon (because it tastes yummy and the added bonus of blood sugar stabilization so you won’t get hungry as quickly) into glass jars. Add a milk alternative in the morning and grab and go!