There’s just something about meal prepping that I find so uninspiring. Maybe it’s leftover from a time of prepping lots of things I never ate. Or maybe it comes from having to not think too much about it for a few years because of catering on set. Whatever the case may be, meal prep and I don’t tend to agree.
Does that mean I won’t talk about it or help you do? Absolutely not. I understand that everyone operates a bit differently when it comes to food. But for today, I’m going to a speak a bit more towards my meal prep hating friends. So how do you meal prep when you hate to meal prep?
Let’s be open up front about this. There is still some prep involved. It doesn’t involve making a ton of meals on Sunday you have to eat all week. Instead, it’s more like setting yourself up for making good choices for the week. Plus, you can do as much or as little as you want. Look at this as tools for helping your live your healthiest life.
Pre-wash your fruits and vegetables
It happens all the time. I go to make a meal and think it will only take me 30 minutes. But if I haven’t pre-washed everything, I’m suddenly spending an extra 10 minutes pulling everything out, washing and throwing it in the salad spinner. If you pre-wash all your stuff before you put it a way, you can skip a step and just get to cooking. And really, no one wants to spend the extra 10 minutes cleaning the mushrooms with a wet rag when they are starving.
Pre-cut your vegetables
I make stir-fry at least once a week. Typically, it’s my method of using up a bunch of random veggie bits in the fridge. But I also know that I’ll probably use spirialized zucchini at least once a week. Or I may even want to snack on some pepper. Whatever you find is a go-to, give yourself the ability to have quick options. Zoodles and sauce makes for a easy meal when you want to be healthy and don’t have loads of time. And if you prep some of it ahead, it’s less dishes later!
Make some sauces and dressings
If you were to open my fridge right now, there is a strong chance you would find at least one pre-made sauce and dressing. Most likely it’s pesto because I flipping love pesto. And I know I can use it with tons of things. It’s perfect if I make pizza, pasta or even with eggs on a sweet potato. My fridge is also currently rocking a tahini based dressing. It’s light and easy for salads, wraps and to dip my veggies in. I used in yesterday for all of the above and it was a nice little add in to get my healthy fats in for the day.
Pre-make some bases
Now, when I say bases, I pretty much mean vegetable bases. Whether it’s pre-massaged kale or already made turmeric cauliflower rice, a veggie base is a great place to start building your meal from. You’ll find both of the previously mentioned items in my fridge right now. And for me that means, I can cook and create full meals half the week. This week that’s loads of soups and chili. But then the other half I have a pre-made base to build meals from. I also love to bake sweet potatoes ahead to grab throughout the week for quick meals.
Prep a few protein choices
This is one I tend to do every few-ish days. Depending on what I’m rocking in the fridge, I’ll make turkey or lentil meatballs or maybe grilled fish. I don’t worry too much about the fish because it doesn’t stay in our house over 24 hours. We eat it too quickly. But the meatballs are great to make subs for my step dad, pop in a container for mom to take as protein and for me to add to zoodles for a lazy lunch. You could also roast chickpeas or maybe make a fresh batch of black beans for the week ahead. Whatever fits your diet. But having a few throw together bits can be the key to saving time and money down the road.
Meal prep doesn’t have to be miserable. If you don’t like to plan a full week in advanced, maybe prepping for a few days at a time will work best for you. Personally, I love oven meals because they mean less time in the kitchen and less dishes. Don’t be afraid to try new things while you’re figuring out what works for you. And if you still hate meal prep, I understand. You’re not alone. We can avoid meal prep together.