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Welcome to our second Q+A Series. It’s all about MEAL PREP!
Read January’s Q + A Post: Life After Baby here!
If you’re new around here, my name is Lindsey and I love meal prep. It’s a lifestyle I adopted over five years ago back in my fitness competition days. While what and how I meal prep has changed over the course of the past five years; it’s still something I do every week.
Because meal prep makes my life SO MUCH EASIER.
If you’re a visual person and like video, check out the rapid-fire style, question and answer video we put together at the top of this post (you can also find this Meal Prep FAQ video on Youtube here).
If you’d rather comb through the questions and answers in greater detail, grab a hot cup of coffee and read all the details below.
This has changed with my seasons of life.
Prior to Bella, I did a lot more batch cooking on one weekend day (Saturday or Sunday) during a nap time, or when my husband was entertaining Brody for a few hours. But now with two kids, I find myself doing it more broken up — an hour of meal prep here and an hour there.
I’m home with the kids on Fridays, so typically on Friday mornings, I’ll do one ‘baking project’ with Brody. We make one or two of the following recipes almost every week:
And then on Sunday during nap time, I’ll try to prep a few more things, like:
First I just want to say that I’m all about using pre-chopped veggies. That’s my go-to for saving time during meal prep and during the week.
If I’m not using pre-chopped veggies, I’ll take some time over the weekend to chop bell peppers for fajitas/tacos or peel and chop sweet potatoes for sheet pan meals. Again I store these pre-chopped veggies in these Rubbermaid Produce Saving Containers.
MEAL PREP HACK — if I’m buying veggies that have a stem, like asparagus or kale, I stick them in a mason jar with a little water in the fridge. I’m all for avoiding produce waste, and this is the best way to do it! This meal prep hack also works for keeping herbs fresh too.
If you’re on my email list, you’ve seen my weekly ‘meal plans’ landing in your inbox every Thursday, along with a weekly workout plan.
My weekly meal plans are simple (hence the post-it note photo below), but strategic:
Want to see what I’m prepping for my family every week? Sign up for my email list by clicking here.
We have a sample 7-Day Meal Plan (with a grocery list and prep guide!) on the blog. These are some of my staple go-to meals.
Additionally, there are some recipes I make a variation of every week:
MEAL PREP HACK — I make these two recipes almost every week, but I make them ‘different’ by swapping out the protein source, veggies and sauces.
For example, take tacos:
You can make pretty much anything into a ‘bowl’ using this formula, and leftovers make a great meal prep lunch and dinners.
This happened to me a lot while I was pregnant, but thankfully isn’t as much of an issue anymore.
I was a lot more picky about meals and especially had a tough time with leftovers during pregnancy. The beauty of meal prep is that when I didn’t want to eat the salad bowl I brought, I also had spinach pancakes I had prepped and would eat those for lunch instead.
This is another reason I like to meal prep ‘components’ of meals — if you have a ton of chopped veggies, you can throw them into whatever sounds good to you!
Just like I write my meal plans on a post-it note on fridge (pictured above), I keep a running list of ‘what’s in my freezer’ on a post-it note on my fridge.
I aim to pull one freezer meal a week and add one new freezer meal a week; so what’s in my freezer cycles on a weekly basis.
When I take a meal from the freezer, I cross off that meal on my post-it note. Similarly, when I add a meal to my freezer, I add it to the list.
I’m all about taking shortcuts when it comes to meal prep.
Some of my favorite time-saving meal prep tips include:
You can always make a meal with these items on hand.
My classic go-to meal prep grain bowl consists of:
MEAL PREP HACK — For baking, I like to find muffin recipes that can double as pancake recipes; or vice versa.
I double batch the muffin recipe, fill up a muffin tin, and then thicken the remaining batter with a little extra flour if needed and make pancakes out of that same batter. One recipe, served 2 ways!
If you want more healthy snack ideas, check out this post where I shared my favorite Packable Snacks, both handmade and store-bought!
Honestly, this is an on-going struggle for me. In total transparency, I’m very fortunate to get a lot of quality products and pantry items from brands I love.
But truthfully, we are big eaters in our house and we create a larger budget for food since it’s important to us and we don’t eat out often. So making most our meals at home is how we save time and money and stay on budget overall.
That said, I don’t buy all organic. I organize my grocery spend based on different tiers of what’s most important for me to buy quality/organic. For me personally, that looks like:
I stated meal prepping over five years ago; back in my fitness competition days. So it’s a habit I had prior to having kids (which I’m grateful for).
I get why it can seem overwhelming, especially for beginners. But honestly I think people overcomplicate it.
You see elaborate meal prep spreads on social media and think ‘meal prepping’ for the week will take up your entire weekend.
My recommendation, START SMALL.
Once you see the benefits of meal prep:
Well hopefully these benefits make you want to stay the course and keep meal prepping!
And that’s a wrap on this Meal Prep Q+A!
I hope you find these Meal Prep Tips helpful.
If you want to learn how to meal prep, I suggest starting with these guides to meal prep, below (I personally think they’re some of the most valuable resources we have on the blog):
Note, this post does include affiliate links and I earn a small commission on products purchased using these links. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Nourish Move Love.