If you read last weeks post, you know that you save time when you do all of your meal prep at once! If you are ready to take it a step further and start menu planning for the week here is a step by step guide to help you transition into a weekly menu with meal prep one day of the week. See how it works for you, make any necessary tweaks to fit your lifestyle, and enjoy the free time you gain from doing a little planning ahead!
- Make a Menu: write down 4-5 dishes you know you want to have for dinner this week. From there, think of how many times you can eat the leftovers from each of those meals. Curries, pasta dishes, soups, burrito bowls, or other favorites all work great for reheating and using later for extra dinners or lunches. Then fill in the other days with salads, sandwiches, wraps, or other favorite lunch items.
- Write a Grocery List: Using the menu, make sure you have everything you need to make your recipes, then fill up the rest of the list with beverages, breakfast items, and healthy snacks like nuts, seeds, extra veggies, fruits, hummus (or ingredients to make your own).
- Go Shopping: You will save a ton of time throughout the week if you get all of your shopping done in one day. On the day you plan to do your meal prepping, get to the grocery store plenty early so you beat the crowds. Make sure you always bring your list with you or you will inevitably forget something and have to return to the store later in the week, who has time for that?!
- Wash, Chop, and Store: Once you have all of your ingredients, do as much prepping as possible. This means washing and chopping all of your greens, chopping vegetables for snacking or recipes ahead of time, or even cooking things like rice or quinoa that you want to be able to throw into a salad later. If there is anything that can be done ahead of time, like precooking some sweet potatoes, or boiling some eggs, do it! For more help on this, read last weeks post.
- Enjoy! You can healthy in a pinch! Now that you’ve put in the work, you can assemble your meals much quicker then before. Things like stir fries, curries, pastas, and other dishes can be thrown together in a matter of minutes if the veggies are ready to go, the rice is cooked, or the pasta sauce is made up ahead of time. The extra bonus is that since you get your chopping, bulk cooking, and other menial tasks done at once, you dirty a lot less dishes throughout the week. That’s right, you only have to wash your cutting board on Sundays!
One of my favorite ways to eat on the go is by grabbing a mason jar full of overnight oats and topping with whatever I have on hand. This is a basic recipe you can throw into a bowl each Sunday and scoop out a portion whenever you want it. Personalize each dish with the mix-ins you are in the mood for, since you are always adding new things, these oats never get old! Since you can eat them cold or warm, and they only dirty one dish, there’s not a more flexible meal!
Makes 6 servings
- 2 cups Rolled Oats
- 2 cups Almond Milk (can also use coconut, cashew, or another variety)
- Pinch of salt
In a bowl, combine the oats and liquid. Cover and allow to sit overnight in the fridge. Portion out into mason jars and top with desired toppings if you want some pre-packed breakfasts or snacks for those moments you want to eat on the run!
- 1 Tbsp Maple syrup or honey (or other sweetener of choice)
- 1 Tbsp Flax or chia seeds
- 1 handful dried or fresh fruit, chopped
- 1 handful nuts or a scoop of nut butter
Seasonings such as cinnamon, cocoa powder, or even a flavored protein powder!