Uugh, what am I going to make for supper tonight?
I will just grab a quick sub for lunch, I don't have time to make it now that I'm late for work.
Do either of these seem familiar to you? A year ago, this was me.
In our fast-paced lives, eating healthy and saving money on food can be challenging, never mind being stressful if you're not prepared. The high cost of groceries is no joke, so making your food stretch that extra mile with little wastage, in my opinion, is a top priority. Funny enough, I can't take credit for the idea of 'ahead of time' food preparation, it came from my kids. They were doing it on their own but suggested it to us as a way to help with the weekly organization of meals and schedules. So we gave it a go. It certainly lined up with our focus on eating healthier. I do have an incredible library of cookbooks, so having the opportunity to try out some new recipes seemed possible every week, if it was planned out properly. I even made the investment for Julia Childs - Mastering the Art Of French Cooking. Now I am planning ahead for some incredible meals, and even some French cuisine in the middle of the week. Who knew you could do that?
Every Saturday morning over coffee, we discuss what we want to eat for the week from lunches to suppers. Here, we look for new recipes, re-visit favorite ones, and map out our food for the week. Voila! Our list gets created. Time is a precious commodity, and meal prep is the ultimate time-saver. By dedicating a block of time on the weekend to plan and prepare your meals for the entire week, you reclaim countless hours during the hectic workdays. Everything we need all in one shopping trip to the grocery store, no more popping in throughout the week because we forgot something. You know as well as I do, you never buy just the basil you need, you end up walking out of that grocery store with two bags full (and sometimes you forget to buy the GD basil!!).
Eating out or ordering in regularly can take a toll on your wallet. Meal prepping allows you to buy ingredients in bulk, take advantage of sales, and plan your meals strategically, ultimately saving you money. We stick to the grocery list, and only buy from the list - unless you shop with Sean (my husband), who seems to sneak in snacks that you only see at the checkout.
Here is a template to keep on your fridge so everyone always knows what's for dinner, and maybe help make it.
I love the organization of knowing exactly what meals are planned for the week, but having a grab and go lunch everyday is a game changer. Weekdays with pre-made lunches, simulate a calm entrance into the day (well that is if my hair and outfit are going my way, but that's a whole different blog topic). Taking an hour or two on the weekend and pre-making your lunch meals for the week, is brilliant ! You will agree with me after your first two weeks of doing it. Like I said, game changer.
Not only is prepping your lunches before your week smart, when it comes to saving money, it's also very health conscious. We seek out recipes that make a lot to cover all of our lunches, for 5 days. We enjoy options like vegetarian chili's, hearty soups, ground turkey and veggies combinations, broccoli salads with a piece of chicken, just to name a few. With all the incredible cookbooks out there, and google, your searches can yield some yummy recipes that can get you excited to eat lunch everyday.
Incorporating weekly meal prep into your routine is a transformative lifestyle choice that pays off in more ways than one. From time and cost savings to improved health and reduced stress, the benefits are clear.
If you're not already planning ahead for your meals, roll up your sleeves, put on that apron (yes people still wear those), and start prepping your way to a healthier, happier you. Your future self will thank you!
Happy Meal Prepping, and Bon Appetit!
P.S. If you have any great grab and go lunches ideas or recipes that you would like to share, we would love to hear from you!