Food prep is a huge time saver during the week, when you’re trying to fit healthy eating in with your 8-9 hour workday, exercise, a social life, or time with your significant other. Sometimes I prep on Sundays, sometimes it will be a Tuesday or Wednesday, really just whenever I have a couple of free hours at night and hubby is working late or at a Phillies game (hello season tickets).
When preparing food in advance sometimes it requires some meal planning, which I’m terrible at. I can’t write out plans and stick to them. So usually I’ll just prepare my veggies, grains, or proteins to eventually be coordinated into some sort of meal. I start with chopping veggies, either for roasting during food prep, or left raw for a recipe later in the week.
I try to do a good amount of oven related prep. I hate using the oven to cook every night because roasting and baking take a long compared to sautéing. Also during the summer months having the oven on frequently is just painful and wasteful. I like to roast veggies in advance for the week; sometimes I have a recipe in mind when I’m doing it sometimes it’s just whatever I bought on sale that week.
For grains you can cook pasta, quinoa, brown rice, etc in advance to be used later that week. However not a lot of these take very long to cook so grains are not something I usually food prep.
Meat proteins are good to batch cook. I like making a few pieces of chicken, I use a couple pieces as part of dinner that night, and save the others for salads or stir frys for later in the week. I primarily use canned beans at this time, but my goal is to switch to dry this fall. Since dry beans take a long time to cook, these can also be prepped in advance. I don’t recommend food prepping fish, unless you’re making tuna or salmon burgers/patties. Filets of fish do not taste very good leftover and don’t need to be prepped because they take very little time to cook usually. Hardboiled eggs are an easy and convenient food prep item!
I would also recommend making a casserole, soup, or lasagna as part of your meal prep. Sometimes it’s a good idea to batch prepare something to eat for lunch each day and then have variety as dinner time. Other people prefer to eat leftovers for lunch. You can also chop and store greens or separate for future salads (chop other veggies or ingredients) and combine the day you plan on eating the salad.
The options are endless but spending a couple hours prepping on Sunday or Monday can save a half hour to hour every other day that week. Winning! Remember to always look at expiration dates, and follow shelf life rules for each item you are prepping. Here’s a good site to use for determining how long leftovers are good for: http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=10949
Yesterday here is what I prepped:
-chopped cauliflower and roasted tomatoes to be used later this week to make this: http://delicious-knowledge.com/creamy-cauliflower-pasta-sauce-vegan/
-hazelnut, walnut, cocoa powder, and honey combined to make protein snack balls (great on the go)
-roasted eggplant, chopped tomatoes and onions, measured ingredients for an eggplant salad to be eaten as a side throughout week, recipe coming soon!!
-roasted a large sweet potato and made these: http://www.theleangreenbean.com/gluten-free-sweet-potato-brownies/ and chopped the leftover sweet potato (it was huuuuge) for later use in the week, including a sweet potato smoothie recipe coming your way soon!
Have you ever done food prep before?? What do you like to make?? Or do you think you will try it in the future??