If you are new to meal planning, keep reading to learn about the top 4 meal prep tips for beginners!
Meal planning did NOT come easy. In fact, I used to get take out 3-4 times a week and feel guilty that I wasn’t able to cook for my family without it feeling like an extra chore to me.
Turns out I was working against myself when it came to meal planning and when I found what worked for my family, it was the biggest game changer! Dare I say, I ENJOY meal planning and I want to share what I learned so you can enjoy it too!
Meal Prep Tip #1
Planning around your schedule. If you live by the seat of your pants and get frustrated when you suddenly remember that you have spirit week, after school activities, and you need to volunteer for an event… you need to plan better.
The number of times I thought that I just couldn’t meal prep because I was busy but now I look at my week to maximize my meal prep.
Busy nights shifted to slow cooker recipes, freezer meals, sheet pan dishes, or literally sandwich nights.
Then I filled in the other days with meals that I knew I could stretch over a few days to help with planning.
Below is sample of how I plan my week along with some same recipe ideas to use this week.
Meal Prep Tip #2
Understand your cooking personality. If you are not working with what you enjoy, it’s going to be really difficult to stick with wanting to meal prep and plan.
- Dislike chopping / dicing veggies? Buy ones that are already cut and prepared.
- Purchase easy pre-cooked varieties of protein, sides, or sauces to make your life easier.
- If you struggle with fresh veggies going bad before you eat them, grab frozen ones to have on hand.
No one is judging HOW the food gets onto the table, just that you got it there in some way. Take the easy way out and simplify your life.
If cooking doesn’t come natural to you, lean into kitchen gadgets and let them do the cooking for you.
A slow cooker or instant pot is a great way to toss a meal together without much work from you! And don’t forget giant skillets or sheet pan meals!
Meal Prep Tip #3
Adding too much variety into the week. You do NOT need a new meal every night of the week.
This is a newbie mistake that I want to prevent because it’s part of the reason I started and stopped meal planning a million times.
It’s totally ok to stretch meals across days and reuse main ingredients for other meals.
Sounds like common sense but you would be surprised how many stressed out moms I talk to that are trying to make 5+ new meals every week for their family.
Start to plan your week in a way that you can reuse and stretch ingredients. For example, I shared a video on how to take a base recipe of slow cooker shredded chicken and turn that into 5 new meal ideas for the week.
Be sure to check that out HERE.
Meal Prep Tip #4
Simplify & Start Small. No one is asking to go from take-out 3-4 x a week to cooking 5 + meals each week.
Meal planning is ‘new’, expect a learning curve involved with making meals PLUS making time to do it.
Start SMALL and choose 1-2 meals a week that you can try something new and lean into meals your family already enjoys.
Don’t recreate the wheel on this one. Try to make easy meals for your family that you already know how to make and stretch those meals out for a few days.
The goal is to build your confidence that you can do this and when you find your groove, then add in more complex meal ideas.
That’s all for now! if you are not already a part of our FB group Meal Prep Made Easy, please join HERE.