Fail to plan, plan to fail. You’ve heard it a million times, but there’s so much truth there. Below is a list of the things I do EVERY week to make sure I’m setting myself up for success.
1. MAKE TIME: For meal prep to work, you have to actually find time to cook! Sunday works the best for most people for obvious reasons—it’s closest to Monday to keep your food fresh throughout the week, and it’s a weekend so you have time off. Even if you don’t have much time on Sunday (you’ll need 2-3 hours), just getting the shopping out of the way or getting the prep out of the way will still save you time during the week. But if you don’t happen to have time on the weekend, make Monday night your shopping and/or prep night. You can also split up your meal prep into a Sunday night and Wednesday night cooking fest.
2. WHAT DOES YOUR WEEK LOOK LIKE? You have to do more than plan what you’re going to eat for the week; it’s also important to plan when you’ll eat your healthy meals. Do you need breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day or is there an office meeting with a team lunch on Monday? Are you going on a business trip on Thursday? Are your parents coming to visit? Maybe you planned to meet up with a friend one night. Make sure to factor in exactly how many days you need to be prepping for.
3. DOUBLE IT: If you want to make full recipes to eat throughout the week, go through your cookbooks and pick recipes that make large batches or choose ones that you can double. Even if a recipe is intended for one person or one night, just doubling or tripling it will allow you to cook it once and eat for a week. Before you head to the store, do the calculations first. Usually the rule of thumb is to double big items like fats, proteins, and produce, but adjust smaller items like spices and seasonings to taste. And when it comes to cooking, it usually won’t be double the time. Check the recipe for doneness at the time called for in the recipe, and if it’s not ready, check again in roughly five minute increments.
4. MAKE A LIST: Once you know how many meals you’re making and what you’re making, use your recipes to write a detailed shopping list with specific numbers, weights, and measurements. Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN explains, “Making a list will help you avoid unhealthy impulse buys, and knowing what you’re cooking in advance will prevent you from ordering sodium- and calorie-filled take-out fare or bingeing on whatever’s in the pantry when dinnertime rolls around.” Keep in mind to look through your pantry and fridge before heading out the door to see if you already have some things you need.
5. BUY IN BULK: Because you’ll be prepping for the whole week, it makes sense to purchase most of your items in bulk to not only have enough but also to save money! Boneless chicken breasts, one of the priciest cuts of poultry, is only $33.73 at Costco for a 9.14-pound pack, but would ring out to $40.41 at a local supermarket. Read about more Simple Swaps to Save Over $250 on Your Monthly Groceries.
6. PRINT A PLAN: To keep on top of everything, print out a meal schedule so you know when and which meal was planned for which day. Set a notification on your phone to remind you that you’ll have to defrost something one day to be used the next.
7. GOALS! Remember what you’re aiming for to help keep you on track! I have my goals as a reminder w/ DAILY alert on my phone!
Here’s to another successful week!