6PM can be a stressful time of day, but wanna know how our most successful meal plan members (myself included) make it a lot less hectic?
By doing just a little bit– even just 10 to 15 minutes– of dinner prep the night (or even weekend) before is the difference between a dinner meltdown and a dinner win.
Think of it like as if you’re putting a little bit away for a rainy day fund. No one ever regrets saving money when an emergency hits. Consider the exact mindset with your dinner.
However, just like saving money, meal prepping is a habit that requires a bit of effort to fully incorporate into your life. Even though we know it’s good for us, we’re all human and are exceptionally good at coming up with excuses. That’s why we’re sharing all of our tips below, regardless of your excuse. 😉
#1 “I don’t have time to meal prep.”
I hate to break it to you, but if you want to start cooking with more whole foods and vegetables, meal prepping is just going to have to be a part of your life. Most meals require some chopping and / or marinating.
One way to reduce your meal prepping time is by buying pre-chopped veggies, but this clearly isn’t in everyone’s budget. Something everyone can do to shorten the time it takes them to meal prep is just to improve your knife skills.
“I can’t use a knife.” Cook Smarts offers a completley free 6-minute knife skills lesson that you can grab here. You’ll learn how to use a knife safely and efficiently AND save so much time and pain chopping all those veggies!
#2 “My schedule is too unpredictable.”
I hear this one a lot. Whether you’re a parent or not, lots of things can happen to throw off your dinner plans. Instead of trying to prep an entire week’s worth of meals, just prep for 1 meal the morning of or night before.
If your schedule is unpredictable on a day-to-day basis, prep the least perishable items. Vegetables like carrots, cabbage, butternut squash, and even dino kale have a relatively long shelf life so they’ll hold up for several days before spoiling or browning. If you don’t get to them when you originally planned, you’ve still got a few days of breathing room.
#3 “I can’t figure out what to prep ahead of time.”
Before starting a recipe, run through the ingredients list and categorize it into:
- Vegetables that need to be washed and/or chopped
- Proteins that need to be pre-seasoned; and
- Any spices or sauces that can be pre-mixed.
Once you get that done, you’ll have very little to do to actually finish up the meal.
For those who don’t want to think about it at all, our meal plan service does the work for you. Being the efficiency geek that I am, I designed our service to tell you what you can prep, either by meal or for an entire week’s worth of meals (for those who really like getting ahead).
So bring on the hangry kids, the accident on your commute home, the meeting that ran late — those already chopped veggies, marinated proteins, or premixed dressing is your defense against the inevitability of life chaos.
With the New Year, there’s no better time to become a meal prep champ!