As I gear up for the weekend, I’m already thinking about my Sunday meal prep. It’s one of the most important parts of my week.
Weekly meal prep is when you choose a day (for me, Sunday) to prepare a large portion of your meals for the week. It saves time, money, and stress. And it’s what makes it possible for me to follow a restricted diet with ease.
When Sunday meal prep doesn’t happen, I end up ordering takeout for lunch. Or I don’t eat enough, my blood sugar crashes, and hanger becomes a serious possibility.
I’ve been honing my meal prep skills for the past few years, and I want to share them with you! Food is such an important part of our overall health. Weekly meal prep is just another important tool that can help us become our healthiest selves.
How to Make Weekly Meal Prep Work for You
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1. Know what you need to prep.
You don’t necessarily need to make all of your meals ahead of time. I choose to focus on making all of my lunches for the week on Sunday.
While I was doing Whole30, I also prepped my breakfasts on Sunday, but now I make this quick and easy smoothie each morning. I like to leave dinner open for cooking with my boyfriend or eating out with friends, so dinner is also not something that I make for the week.
Basically, you just have to know what works best for you and your lifestyle. My evenings are free for cooking or choosing a restaurant that works for my diet. But my teaching schedule doesn’t allow for any wiggle room during the day.
As always, make the choices that are best for you. And a little bit of planning doesn’t hurt 😉
2. Develop a grocery list.
I never go to the grocery store without a list. When I have, I’ve forgotten important items and made impulse buys that I didn’t need.
I like to make different lunches every week, so my grocery list can change quite a bit. But developing an ongoing list that includes my basics has made meal planning and grocery shopping a lot easier.
I like to keep a running grocery list on my computer’s Sticky Notes app. I double check it before going to the grocery store and then email it to myself so that I can check it on my phone.
Items like kale, coconut water, sweet potatoes, and distilled water (for kombucha) stay at the top of the list. As I meal plan, I continue to add foods to my grocery list and arrange them by store section (meat, produce, etc.).
3. Pick a time to go to the grocery store.
Grocery shopping is one of my least favorite things to do. If I don’t go at just the right time, it’s crowded, items haven’t been restocked, and I end up feeling overwhelmed.
So, I’ve made grocery shopping part of my Sunday ritual. I wake up early to drive to a park and run. I then drive to the grocery store and get there before the crowds. I end up with everything I need, and then I can go home and meal prep right away. By the time I’m finished, it’s usually around 10 am, and I still have the whole day ahead of me.
This is what works for me, but you may need something different! Choose a time to go to the grocery store that will work for you and stick with it. This will ensure that you get everything you need for meal prep.
4. Keep it clean.
Your kitchen, that is 😉 My kitchen is tiny, so cleaning up totally before and after meal prep is key. Otherwise, cooking feels overwhelming, and my perfectly functional kitchen becomes an annoyance.
Having a clean kitchen makes meal prep easier and more enjoyable. Try totally cleaning up and putting away all of your clean dishes before you begin. This also makes it more likely for me to want to clean up afterward. Somehow, that’s easier when my kitchen was spotless just an hour before.
5. Have your containers ready.
I like to have enough containers ready to completely prepare five lunches on Sunday. I’m a slow mover in the morning, so it’s nice to be able to just take the containers out of the fridge and put them in my lunch bag.
Try completely assembling your meals on the day of meal prep. If you’re looking for containers, these ones from Pyrex are my go-to.
6. Mix it up.
It’s easier to not get bored with eating the same meal five days in a row when you change it up each week. I like to get adventurous with my lunches so that I have something to look forward to midday.
Here are a few of my favorite meal prep recipes for lunches:
I hope that you try and love weekly meal prep! Comment below to let me know what recipe you try this week!