I started meal prepping so many years ago that I’ve actually lost count. It began as a way to reset myself after the weekend, but once I realized how much time I was saving through the week, I never looked back. Not to mention, I was developing insane healthy eating habits. So, I spend every Sunday morning with a checklist and coffee. Adam and I use Google Keep to do our grocery list. If you aren’t familiar with Keep and you are married, CHECK IT OUT. We have been using it as a shared grocery list since day 1 and it’s amazing. You can set up a checklist and as you check items off, it’s shared with whoever you want and they can see the adjustments instantly. Sometimes, if I know we need something prior to Sunday shopping, I’ll get into the Keep, grab it and check it so we don’t get double. We have ours separated by grocery stores that we visit and if you’re like us and creatures of habit, the items stay in there until you delete them, so you can just recheck things as needed. I have Adam to thank for this gem of a productivity tool. #googlenerd He does the shopping, praise God. I think we managed to grocery shop together less than 5 times and agreed MUTUALLY that I do not have the speed or patience to be quick and effective. The first picture below shows our current list appropriately named “Basic B.” The list on the right is basically an archive of anything we have ever had on the list. It’ll stay there incase we ever want to add it back into the list. So simple.
So, I like to use a planning sheet to sketch out my breakfast and lunch ideas for the week. It’s nothing fancy at all, but just a sheet of notebook paper! I transfer the ingredients I need right to our shopping list. Easy. My diet is made up of pretty much all whole foods which makes planning simple. Once Adam gets the groceries home, I am in the kitchen and spend about 1-2 hours there getting everything ready. I absolutely love getting produce at Aldi, but I am really particular about cleaning it properly. If I get any produce that you eat “as is,” I detoxify it in a sink of cold water and a tbsp of peroxide. Let the produce soak for a few minutes and then rinse and package as you need to. I typically do apples and then just bag them up for the week. You would be shocked if you saw what comes off the skin of most produce, by the way. Educate yourself.
After produce, I’ll pull out the crock pot and get my protein cooking. Typically, I do some variation of chicken or ground beef. Chicken is always a crock pot recipe, but ground beef is usually a skillet. Either way, I’ll cook it, portion it out into 5 containers for Monday through Friday and move onto either rice, quinoa or sweet potatoes. I really like to have a protein, carb and vegetable for each lunch. If the recipe allows, I will package them all together and pull one container out each day for my lunch box.
As for snacks, I’ll usually have a protein bar mid morning and an apple in the afternoon. Those are things I can grab and go easily and I love that they take minimal prep. In spending a few hours in the kitchen on a Sunday, I’ve not only built and established really healthy habits, but I’ve saved so much time and money. I don’t ever feel the need to make a run to the grocery store because I need a snack. I know exactly what is going into my body and I know what fills me. It’s been so helpful, especially as a teacher who values every single free minute.
I hope this helps you!