As of today, I have five days left of Whole30. I definitely plan to blog about my results next week, but for today, I want to talk about meal prep.
I started getting into meal prep after my first Whole30 back in June, because not only is meal prep a great way to eat healthier, but it’s a great way to save money. After I finished my first Whole30, I started making a concerted effort to bring my lunch to work 4-5 times a week even though I didn’t have to anymore, but there were still some weeks I struggled with getting my meal prep game together. Because, let’s face it, meal prep can feel like a huge chore! Now after almost two Whole30s under my belt, I feel like I’ve now mastered the art of meal prep by learning some good ways to help make it easy and fun. Here are some of my top tips and tricks:
- Make it a priority – I make meal prep a priority like how I make doing the laundry or grocery shopping a priority– it’s just something I have to get done during the weekend. I put it on the to-do list in my phone. I carve out time for it on Sunday afternoon. I make sure I get it done, because I know if I don’t, I either won’t have a lunch on Monday or I’ll have to spend money on buying something I easily could have made at home for cheaper.
- Roast your veggies – Roasting is hands down my favorite cooking method because it requires very little work. All I have to do is cut up the veggies, throw them on a baking pan, douse them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and put the pan in the oven for 20-40 minutes. While the veggies are cooking, I…
- Multitask – When my veggies are in the oven, I use that time to prep my snacks for the week. I’ll divide up some almonds into little plastic baggies or hard boil some eggs to use as a good on-the-go breakfast. I prep coffee “creamer” by opening a can of coconut milk and transferring it into a mason jar for easy access in the morning. The more I can do to save myself time in the morning and avoid having to buy food during the workday, the better.
- Cheat – Something I’ve started doing recently that has helped my meal prep game tremendously is buying pre-trimmed/washed veggies and pre-cooked chicken from Trader Joe’s. I really hate taking the time to chop veggies, so pre-trimmed ones from TJ’s are a life saver, and I love using the pre-cooked chicken for salads.
- Mix it up – I’m a creature of habit, so there was once a time when I was cooking the same lunches every week: chicken sausage, roasted broccoli, and roasted potatoes. I started to get tired of that particular lunch, so I began to dread my meal prep and not look forward to lunch everyday. I recently started prepping salads to take to work instead and it has helped make bringing lunch more exciting again. I’m trying to incorporate more dinner leftovers into my lunch lineup, too. Anything but chicken sausage!
- Rock out in your kitchen – I always play music when I cook; my favorite Pandora station to cook to is the Otis Redding station. There’s nothing like rocking out to a little soul while sauteeing green beans!
- Meal prep while cooking dinner – This tip might sound like a lot of work, but it’s actually very efficient because you use one block of time during your day to cook dinner AND get your lunches prepped for the week. I typically do my weekly meal prep on Sunday afternoons, but if I know I’m going to cook dinner on Sunday night, I’ll wait and do my meal prep in the evening instead while I cook dinner. No sense in doing a bunch of cooking twice in one day!
- Invest in a cute lunch bag – Show off all your hard work in the kitchen by bringing your lunch to work in a cute lunch bag! I feel like having a legit lunch bag (vs. a paper bag, plastic, bag, or canvas/tote bag) shows pride in bringing your lunch to work. I currently have my eye on this one. I also want to suggest investing in good reusable storage containers for your food. I use these glass ones and love them.
Do you meal prep? If so, do you have any tips to add?