Save money and eat well by using these 8 easy meal prep tips. Practical tips to help you save money and time.
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When it comes to meal prep, I often hear the same complaints over and over. These are that meal prep takes too long, takes up too much space in the fridge, and that eating the same thing over and over again gets boring. I get it. I feel the same sentiments when it comes to typical meal prep.
Over the years and with working with clients, I have found that there are better ways to meal prep than just making meals ahead of time. For me it comes down to preparing a few items with versatility and preparing components of meals. If prep has not worked well for you in the past then I encourage you to try your hand at some of the easy tips below!
1. Prep Components of Meals Vs An Entire Meal
Prepping entire meals can be convenient however it is also time consuming and takes up a ton of fridge space. Not to mention, I personally get tired of eating the same meal over and over again. Often times this makes the temptation to eat out stronger, because I am so sick of eating the same thing.
A better strategy for myself and my clients is to instead prepare components of meals. As a bonus, not only does this cut down on time but it also cuts down on dishes. Below are some of my favorite things to prepare before the week begins and how I utilize them.
- Prepare a big batch of shredded chicken in the crock pot, oven or instant pot to be used in many applications throughout the week. I will use this to stuff sweet potatoes, make chicken salad with greek yogurt or avocado oil mayonnaise, or add to homemade soup in a pinch.
- Shred or slice an entire block of grass-fed cheese. Add to eggs, salads, etc as a source of fat and protein.
- Soak and cook a large batch of white rice in bone broth. This is great to use as a side for lunch or dinner, add to soup as a carbohydrate soup, or make rice bowls with.
- Bake several sweet potatoes. Mash with grass-fed butter and garlic as a side or eat with shredded chicken or fried eggs for a quick and easy meal.
2. Wash All Produce Before Putting Them Away
This is a simple tip that makes a big difference. When fruit and veggies are washed and ready to eat, you are more likely to grab for them. As an added bonus, if you have little hands in your home that like to help themselves you will always know what they are grabbing for is clean.
I also like to focus on purchasing produce that doesn’t require any prep for eating alone. Think apples, mandarin oranges, bananas, berries, mini cucumbers, cherry tomatoes.
When I bring my produce home, I get my sink ready for them to soak. I start by cleaning the sink well. Next, fill with warm water. Next sprinkle in a cup of white vinegar and about 1/2 cup of baking soda. I often add a few drops of lemon essential oil to boost the cleansing properties. Let the produce soak for 15 minutes or more before rinsing, drying, and storing.
3. Have A List Of Go To Snacks & Meals
Sometimes the hardest part of making a meal is choosing what to eat. I often suggest to keep a list of some go to snacks and meals ready in a note on your phone or on the fridge or pantry door so that you always have ideas. Some of my go to snacks and meals include:
- Baked sweet potato with a teaspoon of grass-fed butter and 2 fried eggs
- Baked sweet potato with shredded chicken, hot sauce, and grass-fed cheddar cheese
- Freezer prepped smoothie with strawberries, bee pollen, collagen, raw honey, and raw milk or full fat coconut milk
- Snack plate with hard boiled eggs, mustard, sliced grass-fed cheese, dates, and apple
- Plain or skyr greek yogurt topped with bee polled and raw honey
- Apple with sliced grass-fed cheddar cheese
- Sliced grass-fed cheese and raw honey
- Dates and grass-fed cheese with sea salt
4. Prep Freezer Smoothie Packs
I love this hack. Smoothies don’t take a long time to put together, however I tend to put quite a few things in them and it’s so much easier to just grab a pack from the freezer and dump into a blender with raw milk or full fat coconut milk. I like to make these in my trusty reusable stasher bags or in wide mouth mason jars.
Alternatively, blend up a big batch of smoothies and then freeze them with plenty of head space in wide mouth mason jars. Remove from the freezer and set in the fridge the night before or on the counter a few hours before you need it. Just shake and go!
Some of my favorite combinations include:
- Strawberries, raw cacao powder, raw honey, collagen, pinch of sea salt
- Peaches, raw honey, bee pollen, collagen
- Cherries, raw cacao powder, collagen
- Banana, vanilla extract, cinnamon, collagen
- Mixed berries, cinnamon, collagen
- Blueberries, coconut cream, vanilla extract, raw honey, collagen
5. Pay Attention To Ingredient Overlap
As you are cooking take note of what you are currently preparing and what you might be making later in the week. If you are chopping onions and will need them for other meals, cut up extra which will save a step later. If you are mincing garlic, do a few bulbs to have ready in a container for when you need it.
This is such a simple tip that can make a big difference when it’s time to get dinner on the table.
6. Thaw Meat At The Beginning Of The Week
Often times when it comes to prepping dinner, the protein can be the hardest part. It becomes hard to prepare a meal when all of your protein is frozen rock solid.
On Sunday night, I think through the proteins we will have during the week. Usually it looks like cod, salmon, prawns, beef, and chicken. I will pull it from the freezer and then store it in a large baking dish in the fridge. We use it based on what thaws first. Typically the beginning of the week will be seafood, and a whole chicken will be ready to cook mid to end of the week.
I also like to keep some proteins like eggs, canned tuna, and canned salmon on hand. It is inevitable that sometimes dinner time will come around and there won’t be any protein thawed. These are easy staples that can be used many different ways.
7. Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Leftovers
Leftovers often get a bad reputation, but they are totally a game changer when it comes to saving time in the kitchen. On Sunday’s I often make a big batch of soup for dinner so we have lunches for a couple of days. Other days I will make an extra serving or two of dinner so that we have lunches the next day.
For us this is the perfect balance of saving time without getting sick of eating the same meals over and over again.
8. Take Note Of What You Have Prior To Grocery Shopping
At the beginning of the week I like to take inventory of what we have in the fridge. This is crucial in avoiding food waste. There’s nothing I hate more than wasting food and this is the easiest way to combat it. I like to take note of what is on it’s last leg and transfer any produce that are about to turn into the freezer. Of course this also helps to save money so you aren’t buying groceries you already have at home.
I hope you found these tips helpful! Comment below any additional tips you have.