DON'T SPEND TOO MANY HOURS IN THE KITCHEN: SAY YES TO MEAL PREP!
1:16 PM I never thought I would write a post about this, but I love sharing my "knowledge" on things which really change my life.
Me and the kitchen share a long story. In the past, I have never been a fan of being in the kitchen and I hated cutting, cooking, and waiting for my food for too long.
Cooking stuff for the first time was fun, since it was the first time, haha, but I didn't enjoy the process - I wasn't too excited about it.
Becoming older, things changed. I am happy when I find the time to cook - it started to become my meditation and feel good place. One thing didn't change though: I'm still too lazy.
At the weekends, I sit down and think about the week ahead. What will I eat, shall I treat myself with something special? And most importantly...how much money can I spend? My heart is beating faster, I get angry and my patience is gone after 2 minutes. My mind is empty and all I can think about is pancakes. I will eat pancakes....I don't care. (welcome to my world, haha)
Now, I'm more active and I take a lot of care of my nutrition - that means I can't eat pancakes every day. Also, I have a busy job, so I want to keep my body fueled in the right way. Still: I got no time, no motivation, and my wallet asks me to keep it simple and not too crazy.
During my years at university, when I started to take care of myself, I bought the weirdest things. I went to the supermarket with my list, but I also bought products or fresh food which I didn't know but I wanted to have sooo bad (just because). At the end of the day, I only ate 50% and threw the rest away. NOT GOOD.
The last 2-3 years, since my active routines define my days, I learned to appreciate a habit which definitely changes all of our lives in a heartbeat: meal prepping.
Zzzz...for some this might sound boring, I get that, but to me, it's the thing that keeps me motivated, excited, and beyond happy in the kitchen! No more stress - only good vibes in the kitchen!
I check the weekly deals at the supermarket, I go through my list of snacks and dinners, and then I start writing my weekly schedule. I know the places where I get my food (for not a lot of money) and then I spend my sundays in the kitchen (2-3 hours) so the rest of the week I'm a happy lovebird.
I save a lot of time + money and I got more time to work out, be creative or just breathe for a second. I LOVE THIS!
Have you tried meal prepping yet? Tell me about your tricks and experiences so far!
If you haven't started yet, check out my tips below.
MEAL PREP 101
1. PLAN YOUR FAVORITES: only get food you like to eat and you want to eat! It doesn't make sense to buy fruits and veggies which you don't know. It takes time to figure out how you would like to eat it and how to combine it with other things.
2. No idea what you can cook? USE WEBSITES LIKE PINTEREST to get new inspiration. I can't eat salad every day, so I often browse for delicious stews or also international dinner ideas.
3. If you like mottos, GIVE YOUR DAYS A MOTTO THAT EXCITES YOU AHEAD. Taco Tuesday or pizza Friday are days which we hear too often - if you like this and it excites you to survive the week like this, think of headlines for each of the days. You could also go with a meatless Monday, or you emphasize on colors of your food - use your creativity.
4. Before you start. WRITE A LIST. I know it sounds silly, but first we have to know what we like. I like pizza, I like anything Mexican....or Asian. Include also snacks and your breakfast - alternatives and diversity is always a great motivation which helps you to not plan the same stuff 24/7.
5. You don't need to shop all your groceries on one day. Just make sure that you have all your things around Sunday. SUNDAY IS PREP DAY. Get in the kitchen and chop your ingredients, cook and put them in the write boxes. Use all the space you got in your fridge and refridgerator - being prepared like this makes you beyond happy - believe me!
6. You don't have to do all of your weekly dinners...You can also start with a preparation from Monday to Wednesday and then do the rest. What I like is to do work which makes my daily life easier. Therefore, YOU NEED TO KNOW YOUR OWN SCHEDULE. Me, for example, I got super busy mornings. My smoothie routines take plenty of time and also my lunch preparation is annoying as hell. Breakfast is not included yet, haha. My solution: I prepare lunch already and I only need to put it in my bag, my breakfast is mostly oatmeal which can be prepared the night before, and my smoothies can be done a week ahead. Yes, I cut all my fruits and freeze them in the right portions so I am 24/7 ready to consume a smoothie and the best thing is that I don't have to throw away any bad fruits at the end of the week. Good, huh?
7. PRECOOK YOUR WHOLE GRAINS AND ANIMAL PROTEINS. This saves so much time. Cooking rice every day makes me sick, haha, I hate waiting!!! I feel the same about grilling my chicken. If you consider to include whole grains in your meal plan, precook it. Cook your rice once and use it throughout the week - don't do the same process every day! It's exhausting!
8. PLAN MEALS WHICH CAN BE EATEN OVER TWO DAYS. Sometimes I have no idea what to eat and I don't want to have fancy stuff every day. As soon as the week is welcoming Thursday, I feel like I should cook something which lasts for two days, or maybe three? Chilli is my favorite solution here. While I enjoyed a lot of cooked things and salad, a stew or chilli is the best way to prepare something rich which satisfies us for a long time. I always get super excited when I cook chilli, don't ask me why. You can also go with a smooth soup or pasta - it's all up to you! What matters is that you cook enough for more than a day!
9. EAT WITH THE SEASON. To save money, go and check out your local supermarkets. Fruits and veggies which are in season are not expensive. Include ingredients to your meal plan which don't make you broke. There is a lot of stuff to choose from and I recommend going with the season, since you can always learn something new, right? Get out of your comfort zone ~
10. CHECK OUT YOUR KITCHEN: do you have enough boxes and helpers in the kitchen which support meal prepping? Before you start this "experiment" check if you have boxes or glasses which help you store your food in the fridge and refridgerator. If you prepare 4-6 days ahead, you will need PLENTY of boxes! That's why it's important to know what you have and what you want to eat. Concerning your snacks, go and buy nuts and fruits, they dont need a special box or loaction in the fridge.
- BUDGET FRIENDLY FOOD WHICH WILL MAKE YOUR MEAL PREP SUPER EASY -
- oats (overnight oats for breakfast)
- chia seeds (for salads, chia pudding)
- nut mix for snacking
- hummus for breakfast, snacking, or dinner time
- grilled chicken or fish as your animal protein
- plenty of protein bars for snacking
- fruits like bananas for snacking or breakfast
- stews and soups (also good for the weekends; here you can go with the seasonal offers)
- veggies and fruits for snacking
- healthy loafs with high fiber for breakfast and snacking (baking it by yourself is so much cheaper)
- extra tip: use your leftover veggies for salads or ramen (my Wednesdays are always ramen days)
There is so much more: explore the world and enjoy! Do you see how easy those things can create a balanced week? Be brave and try it yourself - you can do it! ~ Tell me about your stories!
*Don't forget: with all this meal prepping, putting it in boxes and packages, don't use too much plastic!!!! Invest in more products made out of glas or research for environment friendly alternatives. THANK YOU!
Here you can check out a little selection which helps me to have the perfect meal prep week!