To some the phrase “food prep” brings on anxiety though that is exactly what it’s meant to avoid. The thought of pulling together multiple meals for days can seem overwhelming at best but with a little practice and planning you can become a professional, alleviate stress in daily life, avoid dreaded food pitfalls and find more time each day.
I’ve been prepping my food for about 7 years. When I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and changed my diet it became apparent many things needed to change in order to be successful with my diet, my health & healing process.
Food prep made it so that I could think about cooking every few days instead of every moment of every day. So how do you make this practice doable? Well, practice is the key word. No different than any other practice (yoga, meditation etc.).
First of all, lists are your best friends. Make a list of the foods you plan to eat for the amount of time you’re prepping for. Then make a grocery list for what you need. Take a look at your sales flyers, choosing items on sale can help with managing your budget. Choose dishes that share ingredients, making it easier to have them ready for multiple dishes. Even a partially prepared meal can save time and anxiety simply because you already have a plan in place.
The other day I prepared for Sausage Egg Muffins for my husband’s breakfast, Vegetable Lasagna for one dinner and Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs for another dinner.
These meals all had shared ingredients. I bought:
- 1lb of Hamburg
- 1 ½ lb. of Ground Pork
- 1 Dozen Eggs
- 1 pkg Green Lentil Lasagna Noodles
- 1 large Can Diced Tomatoes
- 1 large Can Tomato Sauce
- 1 Ricotta Cheese
- 1 Block Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- Assorted Vegetables
- 1 Spaghetti Squash
- Parmesan Cheese
I used half the ground pork for the Egg Muffins and combined the rest with the Hamburg to make the meatballs for the Spaghetti Squash. I made a big pot of sauce which I split between the lasagna and the spaghetti squash. I also used parmesan cheese in both dishes. This makes it easier when shopping and preparing.
Other things that can help in your food prep practice is having appropriate containers on hand. I recommend glass to prevent leaching of plastic. Stackable is also helpful in the refrigerator and the cupboard. I always prep breakfast because that is the time when I need to get out of the house. But do what works for your schedule.
Plan for your week. If you know you have a late night, make sure you have dinner prepped. This will save you stress. Leaving instructions for family so that YOU don’t have to cook when you get home late.
A slow cooker can be a life saver when meal prepping. You can have it chugging away while you’re prepping other meals or have the meal half prepped and ready to go the morning of.
And lastly, shop the bulk section. You can buy exact amount if need be, whether that is for budgeting purposes or that you may not use an ingredient again for some time. No need to have a partial bag of something hanging around for a year to ultimately throw it away. Not cool! Spices are much cheaper when buying in bulk.
Prep your food and change your life.