Meal Prep-Some Quick Tips For You

Hey y’all! I’ve got some great ideas for your meal preps. I have a Pinterest board on just meal prep ideas and then I have a board called Yum! where I keep all my plan to do (but may not ever do) recipes if you find this post inspirational and want even more ideas. Anyway, on to the share of the day…

First, my meal prep tips.  There aren’t a lot, but what I’m sharing is powerful, common sense & I overlooked it for the longest time.  Since I kept avoiding these tips, I kept failing and fell back on old habits (drive throughs, compulsive/reflexive eating & even worse, not eating at all for 6-8 hours).  So check these out!

*Sit down and figure out who’s going to be ON the plan.  If you’re the only one on the plan, you can INVITE people to be on it with you, but don’t force it.  Trust me.  Did you ever have a Mom or Dad who went on a diet so EVERYONE had to be on the diet?  And was MISERABLE?  Yeah, let’s not recreate that hostile environment.  Plus it decreases food waste.

*Figure out what everyone who’s on the plan actually likes to eat.  I used to be against this.  I was raised that whatever was cooked, you ate.  Now I realize that I shouldn’t force anyone to eat what they don’t like.  There’s enough options that God put here to make everyone happy.  So I do!

*Use a calendar to keep it all organized.  I don’t need one anymore because we discuss everything so much.  And with 3 kids whose memories are better than mine, believe me, they won’t LET me forget.  They walk in the door like, “Mommy, are we still having “blah-blah-blah” for dinner?  I’m HUNGRY!  I may go back to the calendar when people get more serious about it.  Also, I already know what I cook with what, so it hasn’t been a big deal.  But when I first started the meal planning, whoo!!  Having a one week calendar was a life saver.

*Swap ingredients so you don’t get bored.  Sometimes I have a chicken Caesar salad using my crock pot lemon pepper chicken.  Sometimes I add a sweet potato.  Or a baked potato.  Or fried chicken.  Or rosemary chicken or salmon.  See where I’m going with this?  You already have to eat your stinking vegetables, so put something that gives you a smile in there too.

*Once you make it, they will come.  Not 3 days after I started meal planning, here came my husband.  Mr “I ain’t eatin’ no salad, woman!” turned into “Can I have another salad just like the last one you made me?”  Then he became Mr. “Can you make me salads for the week too?” Yeah buddy, I got you on the ropes now!  Now his butt is feenin’ for salmon and salad!  Mwah-ha-ha!!!!!!!

*Pull everything you need together up front.  It took me a few weeks to get everything.  I had tupperware, but it wasn’t the right size/shape to fit in my lunch bag.  So I took the plunge and bought some from the GROCERY STORE.  Child, YES!!!  I don’t buy ANYTHING as far a cookware or storage from the grocery store because they want your house, car, left big toe & everything else.  I’m a Dollar Tree girl.  But when I found a nice set for around $2 I just plunked the money down and haven’t regretted it.  But I did go to Dollar Tree to get my salad dressing containers.  I didn’t get the disposable kind because that’s just throwing money away.  I must admit, though, those tiny containers look ridiculous in the dishwasher.  Oh, whenever I eat out now, I look at my containers to see if they’d work for my meal prep.  I use this little baby to keep 2 hard boiled eggs. Can you see where I got it??

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So when the hubby wants his salad, it only takes 4 slices & rolling.

*Lay everything out before you start pulling food out.  Put every lid to the side (not under) each container.

I took what I love & made meals for the week. I only really need 3, because the other days I’m at home and have full access (in most cases) to the fridge. This week I made chicken Caesar salad bowls. Here’s what it took:

3 plastic containers for the salads
3 small plastic containers for the salad dressing
3 snack sized zip bags for the sides
crock pot lemon pepper chicken (approx 1/2 a chicken breast, shredded and sectioned into thirds)
1 head of Romaine lettuce (it made 4 salads)
croutons
black olives
shredded Parmesan cheese
sunflower seeds

Or you could put in or take out whatever stuff you like:

eggs
Craisins
walnuts
raisins
cashews
bell peppers
mushrooms (shoot, that’s something I’d usually put in, but forgot to get at the grocery store)
tomatoes
tuna instead of chicken
blueberries
blackberries
strawberries
carrots
crunchy noodles

Again, mix and match the ingredients to get the taste you love.  I figure if they keep saying we should eat more fruits, vegetables & nuts, we may as well enjoy it!!

Ok, enough steps.  Here’s a visual walk through…

I bagged my chicken & put my salad dressing in a container.  My chicken was fresh from the crock pot, so I put it in a baggie to keep it from wilting my lettuce.

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I put my croutons & sunflower seeds in a baggie together so any water from the lettuce wouldn’t make my croutons soggy.  Notice how the hot chicken is away from the lettuce.

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Now everything is packed up and ready to go!  I got these containers from either Food Lion, Harris Teeter or Wal-Mart.  I wish I could remember.  The best I can say is that it’s under $3 for 4 containers and they have this little star in the corner.

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They stack perfectly in the fridge.  Now to keep munchers away from them!
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I know some of you out there meal plan & do meal prep.  What cool tools & methods have you come across?

Next time, I’ll share with you some yummy recipes from Southern fried chicken to Mandarin orange chicken!  Huge time savers with great taste!

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