Do you have a certain day of the week where you prep? This can be prep for anything….work, school, meals, or just the week ahead. I’m a planner, organizer and prepper. I’m a sale shopper, coupon clipper and deal finder. I can’t stand to pay full price for anything and I really can’t stand to waste. My prep day helps keep me organized and stress free throughout the week.
My prep day is Monday, I’m off work and its the start of a new week. I use this day to clean, prep and spend some quality time with my son. My son’s nap time is prime time for me to complete as much as I can so the afternoon can be full of play. I try to prep my meals for the week so I don’t have to spend as much time in the kitchen after work. I enjoy cooking, but being in the kitchen for hours after work is not my idea of fun. I clean and chop veggies, pre-cook and shred meat, portion out ingredients and go through my fridge pulling out ingredients on their last leg and find ways to use them. Doing this saves me time during the week but it also helps eliminate waste. How many times have you got to the back of your meat drawer and found expired meat? Or your veggie drawer and had moldy vegetables? Food waste is like throwing cash in the trash can. Groceries are too expensive to let them go to waste. Prepping in advance not only saves you time during the week, but it also saves you money because you are more likely to use the ingredients that are chopped or cooked and ready to go than if you have to chop or cook them after a long day at work.
Here are my tips for meal prep and suggestions on how to prep for the week.
- Make a grocery list, plan out your meals and just make one trip to the store. Plan your meals around the store sale ad to save money. Use coupons or buy generic items, I have switched my family over to many generic products. You can’t tell any difference and they cost much less.
- Plan a “Prep Day” to prepare your meals. This will save you time each night for dinner and will help eliminate waste because you are more likely to use ingredients that are prepped and ready to go. I prep my meals to a certain point of their cooking process. I chop all veggies or herbs and pre-cook meat that needs to be shredded or can be pre-cooked. Then I store my prepped ingredients and use them to assemble the dish on the day I’m cooking it. Another option is prepping your dish all the way to the point where it would go in the oven and then refrigerating it or freezing it until you are ready to use it.
- Use what you have in the fridge. Think of creative ways to use veggies. There are no rules to cooking, you can put anything in a salad or make a stir fry with those leftover veggies.
- Check expiration dates on your meat, if you aren’t going to use the meat within a day or two after purchasing it, freeze it and defrost it when you need it.
- Use clear food storage containers and zipper baggies to store prepped ingredients so they are easy to see and so they stay fresh.
- Buy some prepped ingredients to save time. Yes, I do buy some prepped ingredients even though they cost more. Sometimes the time savings is worth the extra cost. Here are my suggestions on what to buy prepped. Most everything else I buy and prep myself.
- Chopped lettuce in the bag (I always rinse even though it says washed)
- Baby Carrots – No peeling or chopping
- Trimmed and ready fresh green beans – I can’t stand cutting the ends off of green beans
- Butternut Squash (This is a new find in my store and they are cut in bite sized pieces perfect for steaming and mashing or eating whole. Baking butternut squash can be quite the ordeal, not to mention it’s hard to cut in half!)
- Sliced mushrooms (unless I need them whole)
- English Cucumbers have edible skin and have smaller seeds than traditional cucumbers, you buy the cucumber whole but it’s easy to wash and slice. No peeling unless you don’t care for the skin.
Once I have everything prepped to the point I want it, I know that dinner after work won’t be an ordeal. I know what meals I’m making and I know what ingredients I have prepped and ready to go. This helps me stay organized, less stressed and able to feed my family a healthy, home cooked meal each night. Try picking a day for your prep, it just might be what you need to get on track to eating healthy, saving money and eliminating waste.
Now off to cook dinner……more new recipes coming soon!