The Art of Meal Prep

The Art of Meal Prep

We’ve all been there. You’re exhausted after a long day of work and have NO capacity to even THINK about what’s for dinner, much less have the energy to cook a meal for your entire family. It’s a reality that resonates with so many of us in today’s hectic society. After a long day of meetings, deadlines, school pickup, drop off, and commutes, the last thing we want to do is spend time cooking dinner or preparing the next’s days lunches (and during the witching hour when every baby, child, and parent is cranky!) It’s tempting to opt for takeout on the way home, but that choice often leaves us feeling guilty about both our nutrition and finances. 

This is where meal prep becomes a game-changer. By investing a little time upfront to plan and prepare your meals, you can eliminate the nightly ritual of thinking, prepping, and executing what’s for dinner. Meal prep allows you to reclaim your evenings and gives you time for the things you WANT to do, such as spending time with family, exercising, or just relaxing after a long day!

Follow these practical tips to begin implementing meal prep into your weekly routine!

Plan Ahead

Cooking Time: Allot time in your weekend for meal prep. Preparing food for yourself and your family at home is a way to nourish your bodies and make a financially savvy choice rather than eating out. View meal prep as self-care, and set aside the time to make it happen! If you are a parent or married, try to divide and conquer this task with your partner. One of you can watch the kids or complete another chore, while the other partner meal preps!

Have ideas ready: Keep a favorite cookbook, Pinterest board, or recipe cards handy before grocery shopping. Try out a new recipe or keep the same tried and true meals in rotation. Either way, make a plan for meals before going grocery shopping!

Grocery Shopping: Take a quick look at your pantry and fridge before you purchase anything. You might already have some of the items that you need! Contrary to some opinions, it could benefit to buy in bulk even if you have a small family. Meat can easily be partitioned into smaller sections to freeze for later. Fruits and vegetables may be handy to have in bulk if they will be used consistently over the next 1-2 weeks. 

The Art of Meal Prep

Store Properly

Tupperware and containers: Invest in a set of identical Tupperware that you love, and that is stackable in both the cabinet and in the fridge. Purchase various sizes, some for individual servings and some large to store multiple portions. 

Serving sizes: Prepare the amount of food for the days you need, and portion it out appropriately. For lunches during the week, you are more likely to grab a lunch to bring to work that is already portioned and ready in the Tupperware in the fridge. For family dinners, portion out each night’s meals into separate containers if possible. 

In our house, we don’t really do “seconds.” This is not necessarily a weight-loss practice, rather it is part of our meal-prep philosophy. For example, if we portioned out enough chili to eat over 4 days, we stick to that pre-determined amount so that we have enough to last us the amount of time we need it to.  

The Art of Meal Prep

Think Sustainably 

Repeatable Process: There’s no need to reinvent the wheel every week. Begin implementing practices that are repeatable and easy to sustain weekly, such as making a big batch of rice, batch grilling all of your meat for the week, or pre-washing and chopping all of the veggies. 

Meal Complexity: Preparing food can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be. Crockpot taco soup for dinner this week? Easy peasy! Grilled chicken with a balsamic glaze and roasted veggies? Fancy! Fish tacos with a side salad? Yum! Don’t let a difficult recipe scare you off from cooking altogether. Pick a manageable recipe or idea to start and try new things along the way. 

Your and your family’s bodies, schedules, and bank accounts will all see improvement when meal-prepping happens consistently! You will be able to reclaim so much time that you can devote back to your family, friends, yourself, and your household. Start meal-prepping to reclaim your evenings back!

Allison Gregory-Graff
Allison is a mom to two precious girls, Leigh and Rhylan, and a wife to Ian. They live together in Lafayette, Louisiana. Allison graduated from UL in Elementary Education, and has been working in the education system since 2013. Her daughters are constantly teaching her that motherhood is the greatest and most challenging gift that she will spend a lifetime trying to figure out. You can frequently find Allison arranging play dates (and mom dates) for herself and her girls, drinking coffee, reading, trying to squeeze in time for a creative outlet, and enjoying her husband’s cooking!


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