I love and loathe the idea of meal prep. I love to cook, but the idea of making several copies of the same thing sounds awful to me. Who wants to CTRL+C then CTRL+V their diet every single day? I don’t.
My big problem with meal prepping isn’t buying the food and preparing it. It’s that I already have food that I need to prepare. In order to smugly buy my free-range, organic, scientologist ground bison in my (clearance) Lululemon leggings, I must clear out the food I already have. Here’s how I did it:
Step 1: Inventory What You Have:
I’m a project manager who organizes DVDs and books in alphabetical order and a closet sorted by color. Of course I was going to inventory my freezer, refrigerator and pantry into a document. Tips:
- Count quantity by serving size or meal portion.
- Sort into plants, proteins and starches. (I color coded each in my spreadsheet)
- Reorganize the storage area by type of food. Seafood should be located with other seafood items, noodles with other boxes of noodles. It makes things faster when you’re busy.
Step 2: Creating Meals:
It’s necessary for me to plan lunches and dinners at the same time. I wrote down every serving of protein on a sheet of paper, then matched it with an appropriate vegetable dish. I also planned ahead for which proteins could be used for leftovers. For example, I was able to make two pork loins in the crockpot. I made tacos for more than one person for Sunday dinner, but had enough left over that I made a wrap for Monday’s lunch and salad for Tuesday’s lunch.
I was able to yield 13+ meals from this, factoring in making lunches with leftover meat. Don’t know what to do with that leftover turkey from Thanksgiving or that questionable cut of meat you got on sale? Pinterest and Supercook are your friends. I love Supercook because all you have to do is to enter in what ingredients you have on hand, your dietary preferences and it spits out suggestions.
Step 3: Don’t Be Lazy:
The process of sorting my food and planning meals takes about 30-45 minutes. I know for a fact that my biggest barrier is having it ready to cook when I get home from work. Every single time I forget to take out some tilapia to defrost, it makes it 10 times easier to go out and eat something unhealthy.
I used Google Calendar to set a reminder at 9:00 p.m. every night to take out the frozen protein for the night before, make my lunch for the next day and half prep breakfast. On any given weekday, I know I’ll probably be home
wasting time on Pinterest, texting and watching TV with the time to do it.