Weekly meal prep was something I always intended to do. Wanted to do. Planned to do. But I never did it.
I was busy. I didn't have time. I wasn't sure what to make. I had all the excuses. In truth, I just needed to put a couple things in place, and meal planning became, dare I say it, EASY. If this is something that you have struggled with, you are here for a reason!
Before you even think about WHAT you will eat this week, or HOW to make it, you need to know what you have. This sounds like a no-brainer, but most of us never give this piece enough thought. The game-changer here is a running inventory. I have one for my pantry, my fridge, my freezer, and my spice cabinet. You can go as fancy or as simple as you like with this. I found the old school method of a legal pad and a pencil work best for me. I have seen inventories on Excel spreadsheets, notes on a phone, in an inventory app, but for me, good ol' pencil and paper work best.
Once you inventory what you already have, make a list of meals that work for you. What do you like? What will cook in the timeframe you have? Do you have a family, spouse, roommate, or others for whom you cook? What are their preferences? This is not time to plan for the upcoming week. This is what you already know and love in general. Have a family recipe for pasta sauce? Jot that down. Love that pasta salad you've tweaked since college? Add it to your list.
Once you have your inventory completed and meals that work for you written down, now it's time to focus on THIS week. You are ready to move forward with the confidence of knowing what you have, what you know, and what you have time for.
Here's where it gets fun! What sounds delicious? What can be crafted with what you have on your inventory? Would you like to branch out from your meal list to something fun and unknown? Lately, I have been adding more Asian-inspired dishes to my repertoire. That used to be WAY outside of my comfort zone. Pick five meals you would like to make for dinner.
But there are seven days in the week? I choose to do five meals most weeks because there usually is an event that comes up for us to eat out, and we always have at least one day's worth of leftovers as a family. Pick the number that works for you, but five is a great starting point.
We have tons of other hacks and tips for healthy eating, weight loss, and living fully in our free Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/smallstepsandselfcare.. We look forward to meeting you in there.