Sunday is my food prep day for the week if I am at home and the benefits are huge. There’s no turning back once you try it. There is some organization and planning involved. But honestly, I couldn’t make lunches and dinners happen throughout the week if I didn’t do this. If you don’t already have a system in place, I highly recommend it. Yes, it takes some work, but you can absolutely do it. And I’m going to show you how.
I generally gather recipe ideas throughout the week. You see a good recipe on a blog that you follow or maybe one catches your eye on Pinterest. Or maybe you prefer cookbooks. Whatever it is, gather your recipes and get a plan together for what you want to make for the week. Determine what you need for these recipes and start putting them on a shopping list.
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Lunches and Snacks
What’s on sale this week at your local supermarket? Or what’s in season? Think about what you may want to have for lunches and snacks during the week and add them to your list. Personally speaking, I also take into consideration what we have had in recent weeks. We all tend to get tired of the same foods if I buy them week after week. Vary it up for the best results.
I suggest you go shopping one day each week. Years ago, I found myself at the grocery store multiple times throughout the week. It made me nutty! Now I go less often and the goal is to get it down to once a week. Sometimes it is good to go shopping when the fridge is just bare which means little
Every Sunday prepare your veg for the week. See below for more details. I can’t tell you how valuable it is on busy school nights to just open the fridge and have snacks and lunch options available to simply grab and go. I seriously find that myself and the kids are more apt to grab a bag of veggies to snack on as opposed to grabbing a cutting board and vegetable when hungry. It doesn’t take rocket science. A little leg work up front has loads of benefits.
Your step by step guide for prepping for the week ahead
- Peel and cut carrots
- Wash and cut celery
- Chop up broccoli and cauliflower in florets
- Slice up onions
- Chop vegetables and roast for the week ahead.
- Cut up cucumber and peppers
- Chop up scallions
- Wash and chop up lettuce leaves
- Store all the above in bags or airtight containers
- I always have a salad made up in the end of my fridge in a bowl. I basically grab a couple of fists for most home meals. Simple and easy. This could easily amount to 3 or 4 portions of veg per day before I add in my cooked vegetables or roasted vegetables or smoothies as well.
- Make up the salad dressing at the weekend and store in the fridge. Who has time at 6pm on a Monday evening to make salad dressing when your kitchen is not dissimilar to Houston Station.
- Always keep a bag of spinach. It cooks so fast and great in salads and smoothies.
- Make up a fruit salad and leave in the fridge for breakfast and lunches
- Stew fruit in batches to add to natural yoghurt or granola
- Wash all apples/pears/etc. so that they are ready to grab and eat
- Freeze bananas. Peel and cut into chunks. Freeze on parchment paper and store in a bag for smoothies or one ingredient ice cream.
- Stock up on frozen berries for smoothies and overnight oats.
- Cook an extra chicken if the oven is on for sandwiches and salads. I slice the meat off the bone and store in an airtight container.
- Another suggestion is grill chicken fillets with olive oil, curry and seasoning and cut up
- Hard boil a number of eggs
- Cook salmon darns. They are great both cold and heated. Grill with a little soya sauce and a sprinkle of brown sugar
- Bake one or two items for the week – I tend to cook my linseed bread at the weekends. Recipe here.
- Make a batch of granola. Click here for recipe.
Bonus Tip: When hard-boiling eggs, refrain from peeling them until you need them so that they keep for the full week. However you prepare your egg, protect them from absorbing smells and flavours from other foods in the fridge by keeping them in separate cartons or airtight containers.
Add 1 cup of dried lentils to 1 1/2 cups of water or broth and a pinch of salt (throw in a clove of garlic or some herbs to add even more subtle flavour), and bring to a boil. Then simmer for 20 to 30 minutes and let stand before packing the lentils into sealed containers. Toss them into salads, soups, and rice dishes, or simply drizzle them with your favourite dressing and eat plain.
Ideal for cooking in advance and adding to salads during the week. This is my go to week day grain. Try quinoa, beetroot and feta cheese salad with a light dressing of olive oil, white wine vinegar and mustard seeds. Google more ideas for inspiration.
Rice is ideal for meal prepping. After cooking let it sit for 10 minutes before opening and fluffing with a fork. Cool, then store in shallow, airtight containers. Cooked brown rice will keep for about five days in the fridge. To make it taste fresher, reheat only the portion you need for a given meal during the week. For speedy reheating, place the rice in a microwave-safe dish, sprinkle some water over the top, and cover the dish with a wet paper towel. Nuke on high heat until the rice is back to its steamy, springy self.
On Sunday, scrub five or six sweet potatoes and oven-bake them whole, wrapped in foil, with their peels on. Once baked and cooled, put them in a plastic bag or a glass container and place in the fridge. You now have one ready to go for every day of the week, whether you cut, roast, mash, or simply reheat and eat whole.
The easiest and most delicious way to eat your porridge. You have virtually nothing to do the next morning except take it out of the fridge and add some of your favourite toppings.
A good tip is to prep or make Monday’s meal on Sunday so that Monday is ready to go and you get your week off to a good start. Another suggestion is to cook enough food for dinner so you will have lunch the following day.
Keep in mind that this is not always the same. Different systems work for different people. Perhaps you work weekends and need to alter days. Or perhaps you don’t have kids and don’t need the quantity that I do. Regardless, a little work ahead of time is definitely worth the effort in my opinion.