Successful Meal Prep in a Cinch!

Nicole Gaudet, Sodexo Dietetic Intern

Meal prep and planning is the key to spending less time in the kitchen and having more time for your self. Meal prep is meant to make healthy eating quick and effortless throughout the week. With a little extra time spent on the weekend, you can have ready-to-eat meals for the next several days. Below are some suggestions on where to start and what to keep in mind as you plan your weekly meals.

The first step in meal planning is seeing what you already have on hand. Check your pantry for your favorite whole grain, pasta, rice, potatoes, beans, tomato sauce or canned vegetables. Then check your freezer for chicken, beef, meatballs, vegetables or anything else that you want to eat that week. The last place to check is the fridge. Do you have any lingering vegetables that need to be cooked? Once you have established what you have, you can start planning a menu for the week!

Here are a few questions to ask your self while planning a weekly menu. Can you utilize a slow cooker on any day? How can you repurpose leftovers throughout the week? An example of this could mean cooking a large amount of chicken and then using it for chicken quesadillas, chicken salad and chicken noodle soup. Do you have any pre-made entrees (i.e., lasagna, chili, eggplant Parmesan) in the freezer that you can heat up one night? Don’t forget to check the sale flyer to see what’s on sale!

Meal Prep Secrets

Freeze extras – Use individual containers to portion and freeze leftovers that you can defrost when you are too busy to cook.
Portion snacks – Buy in bulk and portion into baggies for an on-the-go snack. Try this with nuts, dried fruit and cheerios.
Frozen veggies – Equally nutritious as fresh, but they don’t go bad!
Rotisserie chicken – One of the most versatile ingredients and it’s already cooked!
Throw it all in the pot – Use miscellaneous leftovers at the end of the week to make soup.
Cook once, eat twice – Or three times! Make enough of a dish to last several days and reduce your amount of time spent cooking.

For a huge selection of mouth-watering meal prep recipes check out my new favorite website that also happens to be easy on the wallet. Meal prep is as simple as seeing what you already have, planning what you need and cooking once for the week. By utilizing some of the tips from above, meal prep is something anyone is capable of doing!

What’s on your meal plan this week?