Well hey there!
It's Monday and as I sit here I am hoping that despite the cold rainy weather this week feels smoother and better than last week.
It was A WEEK. You know the one I am talking about, one of those weeks that you never get a moment, yet you don't finish a damn thing. Ugh. The to-do list kept carrying on from one day to the next until I reached the weekend and just got the minimal done. Ayy.. It did not feel good at all, but I am sharing because I know I am not the only one that has those kind of weeks and well I want you to know you aren't alone.
But new week, new me? or maybe new week new attitude? Or maybe simply, new week, lots of hope.
I decided that I would tackle this post that I started last week that you have all been asking for. Meal planning and prepping is the number two thing that I think can change your week when implemented (number one is waking before your crew). It's especially helpful for me during this pandemic when most of our meals are cooked by me.
Here are some quick tips, tricks and words of wisdom. lol. I am laughing at myself as I typed that... And I didn't have a change to do my meal prep and plan this weekend so I am doing this all throughout the day, so you can honestly do it any day of the week that works for you.
Write out your menu before creating your grocery list/food shopping. THIS IS HUGE. I hate not having that final, usually important ingredient. So I create a menu for the week, I even add in days we are going to have take out for dinner. Usually Friday or Saturday but honestly some weeks there is a week day in there too. So create your menu, scan your recipes and double check fridge, pantry and all expiration dates for ingredients. Then write out lunch and snack ideas on the side of your menu. For example, for snacks we love red peppers, carrots, celery, cucumbers, crackers, cheese, pretzels, freeze dried berries and potato chips for snacks.
Include the whole family in creating the menu. I will say this until I am blue in the face, including kids in the kitchen in everything from the menu, shopping for foods, preparing and cooking will open doors for pickier eaters. So have everyone throw in a request for meals and snacks!
Don't reinvent the wheel. I love to try new recipes but it's not something I do every night. I stick to the basics, and a lot of the time don't make anything different! GASP! Hahahah. We always have a pasta night, a soup during colder weather, a taco night and a leftover night.
To not get bored with the same dishes I like to swap up the protein in our tacos, create a different side for a veggie and protein night, try a new grain, swap out the beans in my go-to white bean soup or change up the protein in it, or make any of my meals vegetarian by swapping the meat protein with a mung bean and sweet potatoes mixture (recipe coming soon). But there is no need to create all new things write out some of your dinners and rotate them until you have the meal prep/plan under your belt.
Consider your schedule. I have said this one million times in IG stories but make sure you are considering your schedule while you plan out your menu, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Fridays we have something planned after virtual school, nothing too late but enough that I have less time to cook so I make sure that the prep is done for these days and that the meal doesn't take too long to cook. So consider shorter recipes or something you can just toss in a slow cooker on days that your busier.
Make ahead what you can. Make double the amount of a grain (White rice, brown rice, quinoa, barely are our favorites) that you can serve with more than one meal. I like to make a couple batches of my favorite sweet potatoes potatoes and roast a bunch of veggies to serve as sides, in salads or on their own as lunches! Making protein for a dish, well make a bigger batch for a couple meals! Prepare your veggies and greens for easy salads and snacks. And even making a dressing for the week can be an easy way to prep and switch up a daily salad.
Plan for dishes that taste better the next day. Loved this article I included in my newsletter but meals like soups, baked pasta dishes, and chilis will taste better the second or third day and well the are so easy to just reheat!
Make the time. This is a huge part of making this successful... Maybe it's an early morning on the weekend or an evening, or splitting into two days. But whatever it is you have to put aside some time to do all the things to make it easier, stay healthier, waste less and stay on budget.
I hope this helps make your week a little easier. I plan on sharing what my actual meal planning and prepping for a week is this month so be prepared and please respond with any questions that I can answer in the post!
And just remember that we are in this together.