In my last post I discussed WHY meal prepping is important. Now it’s time to discuss the HOW. Simple strategies, a little time, and a piece of paper or two can help turn your dinnertime routine from a nightmare into a dream. So let’s turn you into a meal prep pro!
Don’t Go in Blind
Just like a coach doesn’t go into a game without a plan for his team, and a general doesn’t lead a troop into battle without a strategy, you can’t go home at the end of the day and just hope for the best when it comes to healthy eating if you don’t have a plan in place before you arrive.
A good plan starts with communication. Speak with your significant other about responsibilities – who will do the food shopping, food prep, and cleanup. And most importantly, discuss your dinner menu TOGETHER. There is no point in making something if your significant other has zero interest in eating it. As I always advocate, aim to make the SAME meal for each other, or if needed, at vary the protein options. However, there should be an agreement to be a little open to trying new things – a new veggie or grain, a variation of a side dish, or possibly something completely new the two of you can try together. Be little adventurous and keep some mystery alive in the relationship.
Know each other’s schedules for the week – who has a dinner meeting, late appointment, or gym session that needs to be accounted for when making dinner plans. Do you need a meal that can be done quickly, or will you have some time to prepare something more time-consuming? Or do you need something that can be heated in a matter of minutes? Knowing your daily timeline will prevent planning inappropriately- like deciding to roast a chicken on a night when you or your spouse needs to be somewhere after dinner. Don’t forget to account for leftovers or repurposing ingredients or side dishes for other nights to help cut down on time.
Ok, you’ve come up with a dinner plan for the week you’re both in agreement with. You know what days you want to make what items. Now what? Simple- put the plan in writing! Write out your menu for the week, and put it somewhere where you BOTH can see it so there’s no one has to ask, “What’s For Dinner?” because it’s already there. It can be as simple as downloading this handy weekly menu planner to put on the fridge. Or check out Pinterest or Etsy for more fancy home decorative options.
But you’re not quite ready to go just yet. Step 1 was coming up with a plan. Step 2 is getting your plan in place. If you need recipes for your dishes, get them handy and review both the instructions and ingredients. There is nothing worse than going to make a recipe and finding out there was a step that needed to be completed the day or a few hours before.
Review those recipe ingredient lists. Check your pantries and fridge, and make a shopping list for items that need to be purchased. It’s also important to check the quantities of ingredients needed – you never know when you might need to have a backup handy. Want to save time in the grocery store? Organize your list by department to help avoid backtracking. Download this helpful grocery list to get your list organized and you’ll navigate the supermarket in record time.
Helpful Meal Prep Downloads
Congratulations – you’re almost ready to go! Check back tomorrow for my Make Ahead Tips to keep your food tasty and fresh. No one will ever know you didn’t slave away all day in the kitchen.
Have a weekly meal plan menu you want to share? Post it on social media and tag Nutrition Nuptials using #NNmealplan. You can be entered to win a prize of some meal prep goodies from Wildtree.