Firstly why Meal prep?
There are many reasons and some more obvious than others. Firstly it allows you to make healthier food choices if the food is already made for you. It saves money because you won’t go off track and spend money on unnecessary things. If you have children or a baby to tend to and you don’t have time to prepare a healthy meal while taking care of them then meal prepping is for you. I will do another post about preparing baby food soon but meal prepping for babies is quite similar to meal prepping for ourselves, it is a healthier way of life for both mental and physical health.
Meal prepping can be quite a daunting prospect on a Sunday, lets be honest here! So I’m going to give a few tips based on what I’ve tried and tested and found what works most efficiently for me.
- Smoothie bags, I fill zip lock bags monthly with fresh fruit and greens and I slice as much as possible too. Then I stack them up in the freezer and I use them daily with a bit of yoghurt, seeds, honey and almond milk.
- Sunday roast, I slow roast a large piece of beef, chicken, lamb, ham etc. on a Sunday. For dinner we’ll have roast veggies or salad with the meat and then I keep the leftovers for the week ahead. This might go into sambos, omelettes, a quick curry or pasta bake.
- Plan your dinners, write down dinner for each day of the week and then check what ingredients you need. Saturday is a good day to do the food shop so you’re prepared for your meal prepping on Sunday. Freeze any fresh meat etc. that you’re using later in the week.
- Shop online, being able to check your list and catch deals is extremely handy. Usually online shopping gives you the chance to see what’s seasonal as well so no need to play bumper trollies with the neighbours. You can also sit on your sofa watching the latest Netflix instalment without having to queue up or deal with toddlers losing it in the supermarket. On a side note, some specialist products aren’t available online such as supervalu food academy products so it is worth popping in to the shop for that!
- Make your meals interchangeable for mixed up weather, we are in Ireland afterall!! This could be changing a chicken salad to a chicken curry by using carrot, spinach or onion in either dish, add some coconut milk and curry powder and pop in some brown rice for a curry, shred carrot, chop onion, mix spinach with some lettuce and rocket, add some halloumi or feta, avocado, tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic. I always have baby potatoes on stand-by for unexpected colder days but they are also really good with salad or on the BBQ.
- Add an extra day so you have a spare meal just in case. I have a house full of boys who love food and my husband eats for 3 so he is quite liable to go to the fridge and make himself a meal at lunch time out of the ingredients I had for dinner. Two toddlers shouting for food and opening the fridge only to realise Daddy has eaten it is enough to offend anyone so for the sake of sanity its good to have a standby
- Speaking of standby, if time allows on a Sunday I recommend making some sides such as baby potatoes, quinoa salad, green salad, some green veggies, peel and prep some carrot sticks, even chop some veggies to toss into dishes during the week. These are all going to be a god send when you don’t fancy making dinner during the week. If you have your Sunday roast left over and a couple of these sides you can make a meal to suit everyone.
So there you have it, these are my tips for meal prep. I will do a blog on seasonal produce soon. I always recommend eating seasonal for the best value and quality produce.
I’m going to post my balsamic beef recipe and a couple of sides in the next couple of days. Please leave a comment if you have any meal prep tips to add or if you would like to see any recipes or ideas discussed on future posts.