Are you tired of trying to figure out what’s for dinner? Do you wish you could do more meal prep to make dinnertime easier? Do you end up using the drive thru or ordering takeout more than you’d like?
If you’re like most people, at the end of the day there’s little energy and motivation left to cook a complicated dinner. With kid activities, work responsibilities, and homework, it can feel impossible to get dinner on the table without resorting to spending money at restaurants.
This month I decided to really dedicate some time to figuring out the whole meal prepping thing. I’ve meal planned for years, but we rarely stick to the plan I put in place.
I’ll start out the week by shopping for ingredients, only to get exhausted by midweek, and not end up using half of the stuff I bought.
Food goes bad, while we go to restaurants. It’s not good for our pocketbooks our our health.
I knew that if I was going to stick to meal prepping, I needed to make it EASY. I’d done once a month cooking sessions that lasted a whole day, and I never want to do that again.
After some serious experimentation, here are the things that have been working for us:
Meal Prep Tips and Hacks
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- Start with a clean kitchen. I try to have all of the dishes clean and put away before I start. That way I can fill the dishwasher with dirty dishes as I go through the meal prep. That makes clean up a lot easier! Having clear work surfaces means less time re-arranging and making space for the different recipes I’m putting together.
- Do some prep work ahead of time if possible. If I have a few of the ingredients we’ll need for the meal prep on hand, I try to do a little work ahead of time. If some of the recipes call for chopped onions, I try to work on that before I do the big meal prep. Having as much ready as possible before-hand makes the whole process go a lot smoother.
- Use a good vegetable chopper.This is a total game-changer. I saw one of my friends use this when she was meal prepping, and I was sold. It has saved me hours and hours of chopping (which I’m not very good at!). The best part? You can clean it in the dishwasher! This is the one I use.
- Shop for ingredients, and then immediately doing meal prep. This way, I don’t have to put the groceries away, and I know I can find everything I need. If I’m using stuff I have on hand, I try to set it out on the counter before I leave the house to get the groceries (unless it’s perishable). I shop, come home, unload the car, and get to work.
- Use grocery pickup. I don’t do this every time, but it’s really an energy saver for me when I do. One of our local grocery stores just started doing grocery pick-up, so I order all of the ingredients I need for meal prepping, and then schedule a pickup time.
- Do meal prep a few hours before dinnertime. This is hard for me because I’m much more of a morning person, but when I’ve done my meal prep in the late afternoon, I’ve also been able to throw one of the meals into the oven. That way, while I’m continuing to meal prep or clean up, our dinner is cooking. This also saves some space in our freezer!
- Use a meal planning service. This is the piece of my meal prepping that makes the biggest difference. I’ve been using MyFreezEasy to put together our menus, and it’s saved me a TON of work.MyFreezEasy lets you choose your own menu from a huge list of their freezer meal options. Then, it creates a customized grocery list and meal prep instructions for you. It tells you everything you need to do to prep your ingredients and then assemble your meals.
It usually takes me about 2 hours to prep 10 meals, and I also use one of the meals right away for dinner. The website claims that you can make 10 meals in just one hour, but I haven’t been able to do it that fast.
Considering that it normally takes me 1 hour just to prep one meal though, I’m thrilled with the time savings! Doing meal prep with MyFreezEasy saves me over 5 hours a week.
And, because all of the meals are freezer meals, I don’t have to worry about wasting ingredients. If we end up changing our plans and don’t eat dinner at home, our freezer meals won’t go bad, and we can easily use the meals at a later date.
Another bonus is that my kids actually like the recipes I’m making. They can be picky eaters, but so far they’ve given most of the meals I’ve made with MyFreezEasy a thumbs up! Their favorites so far have been the Chicken Piccata and the Beefy Totchos.
I’ve tried a lot of different meal planning services, but MyFreezEasy is definitely my favorite because it’s so easy to use, and the food gets eaten by my family.
I’d love to know – what are your favorite tips for getting meal prep done more efficiently? Please leave your advice in the comments!
Looking for more kitchen and meal prep tips? Check out these articles:
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