Being as busy as we are every day, it's hard to find time to cook delicious and nutritious meals, but if you can find a couple of hours on a day off, you can cook meals for the entire week!
To start, I had to get the ingredients - boneless chicken breast, halibut, salmon and a lot of veggies, because I love veggies! I mixed up the veggies to keep things fresh, and snuck in a butter chicken that went on cooked cauliflower instead of rice. It was AHMAZING.. lol.
I thought it would take about three days to meal prep, but I was organized. I started with the meat, spiced it, and popped it in the oven. While it was baking, I was cleaning and cutting veggies and getting them ready for flash frying. Hubby helped. lol I basically stir fried the veggies on a higher heat than usual, only cooking them long enough to seal in the goodness, but not too much so when I reheat the meals the veggies would be limp and over-cooked. One could blanche the veggies as well, just barely cooking them so they freeze well.
What I honestly thought was going to take HOURS AND HOURS to do, really didn't take that long. From beginning to end, it took me three hours to prep 9 days of meals for 2 people. Either dinner or lunch. Plus there were 2 meals of butter chicken in there, and boiled eggs for a quickie breakfast or snack, or salad addition. So, we eat all week without worrying about cooking every day, and without worrying that what we are eating is processed food, or has too many starchy carbs, that I don't do well with. Aside from all this delicious and nutritious meal prep, I also have baby spinach in the fridge for those cravings I get for spinach salad. This really didn't take as much time as I thought it would, and I've saved SO MUCH TIME not having to prepare a meal every day. I know hubby appreciates not having to cook every day as I work long hours.. and I appreciate a healthy meal when I get home, and all we have to do is reheat. Personally, I take mine out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature and eat it then. Not the biggest fan of the microwave.
All in all, 4 hours total including cooling time. While it was all cooling, I took the dog for an hour walk/jog and played in the park with her. Cooking everyday can take 1-2 hours from beginning to plate, so this method really does save a lot of time, especially when you are tired, had a long day, have a long night ahead, and just want to have more time for yourself, to rest, relax, hang with family, friends, or significant others, or play with my dog. I made sure to stock the fridge with all the veggies I like to munch on, and that I actually crave.
Meal prep doesn't have to be an all-day event, or chore..depending on how you look at it, and how you organize yourself. For a large family, of course it will take longer, but that's when you enlist the other eaters in the family. Teaching your kids about meal prep, and having them help, teaches them about nutritious food, healthy portions, planning, and gets them thinking about what they are putting in their bodies. It's a great way to help them build good habits, and healthy eating habits. And cooking this way can save you money, reduce waste, and actually help you lose weight by controlling portions and ingredients. If you are trying to gain weight or prepare for intense workouts like marathons and such, meal prep can help ensure you are getting all the nutrition and calories you need to perform your best, and you don't have to waste time cooking a separate meal every day. For those who are involved in endurance training, or training for a competition, meal prep is a great way to save time, ensuring you have time to work out, and get the rest you need, along with the necessary calories, and proper nutrition to help your bodies recover from long hard workouts.
I've become a meal prep fan!! If you have meal plans, or time-saving ideas, or recipes, PLEASE, share them with our readers. We would LOVE to hear from you.
And remember to always beYOUtiful.