Since I started meal prep every week in 2019, my life (and that of my husband) has significantly changed. Not only did we both lose weight, we saved money and time spend in the kitchen, but the best change was that we both started feeling healthier and our digestive system improved! Fast forward 3 years and food prep is still in our weekly schedule. Some weeks are easier than others, and I have found taking 5-10 minutes to plan our meals before even hitting the shops has helped with keeping things as efficient as possible!
Why is it important to also plan your meals?
Some of you (not us, we live a pretty structured life) might have random nights out, lunch dates and so on. If those days are not always the same, you might end up cooking for a day you don't eat at home or don't bring any food into work. If you can freeze that meal, great! If not, it would be a pity if it goes to waste.
So here are some of the steps I follow every week before doing my meal prep planning:
When/where do I eat all week (and what is the schedule of my husband) If you use a planner, cross out the days you eat out.
Check out my list of favourite meals AND what is in season. Some of my clients create an excel sheet with the meals they feel comfortable with cooking and eating, I encourage them to use these meals and either change up the ingredients for variety or add new dishes on other days. For example: I love making a hearty soup, usually after we've had roasted chicken (using the bones), overnight oats with added protein are some of my go-to's for my training days, and my husband often grabs a couple of boiled eggs to take to the office.
Decide what dishes you want to eat 'on repeat'. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using up any leftovers! Some people love using their evening meal leftovers for lunch the next day, or in the case of a batch cooking food prep: one dish might be eaten several times during the week, but in a different 'style'. Example: Grilled chicken, quinoa, steamed broccoli. Red veggie sauce, chickpeas and pasta. Chickpea, quinoa and grated carrot salad.
Write everything down and check what ingredients you need to buy before making your shopping list.
It might take a little while to get the hang of it, but as you move on, things will get easier, I promise! Feel free to use the cheat sheet below for extra guidance!