What was originally a single post about Meal Planning, has somehow turned into a mini-series if you will. And that works just fine with me! Today I have a few tips to share with you about meal prepping, keeping your sanity, staying organized and it all comes with (yes that’s right) super cute printables!
Let’s start off by talking about preparing for the week.
Meal Prep: What is it? How to do it? And Why?
What is it?
It’s taking a short amount of time over the weekend and preparing your fridge and pantry for an easy week of meal planning success!
Why Should I?
Meal prep is chatted about all over the internet, and it’s because that’s what helps you succeed when it comes to eating. This is not just sound advice for those who are starting a fitness journey, looking to eat lighter, or are starting a new “health” goal. This applies to moms, dads, students, teachers, busy people everywhere. Let’s break it down nice and easy shall we?
If I take two hours a weekend (I’m talking Friday evening through Sunday evening), and make one ‘make head’ breakfast and organize one to two snacks for the week I:
- Save Money: How? Well I stop going to fast food shops in the morning and grabbing breakfast with my coffee. Think about it, on average a coffee shop breakfast can run you about $8.00/meal. $8 x 5 meals per week: $40/week. 52 weeks a year = $2,080.00… or a trip for one down south! Mexico anyone?
- Time Management: Well since I don’t have to stop for food on my way to work, I also don’t have to wait in line for set food… I just shaved off about 5-10 minutes on my morning commute.
- Feel Better Physically: Ok, let’s be honest. I’m not here to talk to you about health implications of eating a bagel with cream cheese 5 days a week, but I will say that when I make my own breakfasts, I just feel better because I automatically give myself a variety of options in the morning. Yogurt, granola, smoothies, smoothie bowls, oatmeals, muffins. I’m not automatically heading towards the coffee shop and ordering the sweet, sugar laden muffin that caught my eye while I was waiting in line.
- Feel Better Mentally: Saving money = less stress because I am not worried about paying bill. Also by not adding tons of extra sugars in the morning, my blood sugar doesn’t spike and then crash leaving me looking for coffee #5 by the afternoon…
Are you catching on to what I’m saying? It’s just an overall helpful solution. I’m not saying that you have to stop going for morning coffees, or stop eating out entirely. What I’m suggesting is that two hours on the weekend can really save you money, and help with your overall health. And who doesn’t want that?
But How Do I?
It’s actually quite easy! Ok, do you remember in Meal Planning 101: The Basics I spoke about writing down all of the meals you like to make? A stock list if you will? Well grab that list and look at your breakfast options! Did you write chocolate chip banana muffins as a favourite breakfast? How about breakfast parfaits? Here’s what you need to do:
- Print off the Free and Fabulous Fuchsia Freezer Grocery List Printable (click to download) along with your Free Fuchsia Freezer Meal Planning Menu Printable (click to download) and your Fuchsia Freezer Meal Prep Cheat Sheet (click to download). As you plan out your meals for the week, take a look at the bottom right hand corner: Meal Prep. Want muffins for the week? Add it under Meal Prep. Want grab and go snacks? Write it there! That way you can see what meal prep you have to do for the week.
NOTE: I only add one breakfast, and one or two snacks to my meal prep each week, that way I don’t feel overwhelmed with what ‘to do’ during my allotted two hour timeframe. Unless it’s just as simple as washing and cutting.
- Next add the ingredients for that Meal Prep to your grocery list under the appropriate headings.
- Start the car and get grocery shopping! Make sure you stick to the list. Try not to deviate off what you have already chosen for your weeks meals.
- Meal Prep Time! Grab your grocery items, your recipes (if you need them) and throw on some great tunes or Netflix! You are going to OWN the next two hours, and this week will be such a breeze!
Ok, But Wait… What Do I Prep?
So I mentioned before I only really choose one breakfast dish, and one to two snacks. It’s because of two reasons: I don’t want to get bored of the food I’m eating mid-week, and I don’t want to kill an entire day meal prepping. I want to still enjoy my weekends with the kids and Clint!
I just want to share with you a few suggestions/ideas of what you can meal prep for the week!
Fruit & Granola Parfaits: In a mason jar add yogurt and top with fruit. Repeat this 2-3 times. In the meantime, whip up a batch of Lightly Sweetened Granola. Once it’s cool, divide out 3 portions and add in a zip lock bag or other small container. Come breakfast time this week, you can either enjoy a main jar & container at home, or eat at work!
Baked Oatmeals: Try either the Cherry Apple Baked Oatmeal or the Baked Berry and Banana Oatmeal. When completed baking and totally cool, cover with plastic wrap and place in your fridge. The morning of, heat up and serve alongside your coffee!
Smoothies: Add all of your favourite frozen fruit in to small freezer bags. When the morning hits, remove from the freezer, add a little yogurt and some juice and tada! A quick and easy smoothie. The best part, you can actually make a pile of different varieties and each day you will have a new and exciting flavour.
note: only add the fruit and/or vegetables you plan on using to the freezer. Yogurt that is frozen won’t puré as well leaving you nothing but frustrated (and possibly with a smoothie 2x the size you wanted).
Egg Cups: Another great way to start your morning off on the right foot! These Sausage & Egg Muffins are PERFECT to make in advance and keep in the fridge for a few days.
Baked Goods: Making muffins or loaves are a great and easy way to meal prep since they tackle double duty: snack or meal. Once again, by switching up your recipes, you will end up trying a variety of fun flavours and may want to create your very own!
I hate being at the office and hitting 2pm and looking around to find… nothing. Not a snack in sight. Not a fun predicament, so what do I end up doing? Throwing on my boots and battling the elements to get a sweet treat and a cup of coffee… exactly what I could have easily avoided if I had just meal prepped.
Trail Mixes: Making a big batch of trail mix at the beginning of the week can be a huge staple in your pantry. It also allows you to eat it over the course of two to three weeks. Once mixed thoroughly, preparation our your snack sizes and you’re ready to tackle the two pm tiredness with a punch! Why not try this Tropical Trail Mix?
Cheese and Crackers: It seems so trivial, but slicing up a brick of cheese and storing it in an airtight container can be a small but fun snack that throws back to being a kid!
Hard Boiled Eggs: Well do I really have to say anymore? But these little yellow gems can also go into salads if you’re looking to add a little protein!
Treats and Desserts: You know we all like to have a treat now and again! I like to try and include something small on my lunches, so I will often have a batch of cookies made, or rice Krispy treats… something to cure my sweet tooth, but that won’t be too messy to transport. These little snack sized portions of goodness are just what I need to enjoy the sweetness of life without getting the sugar high!
Fruit & Veggies: pre-wash, cut, slice and dice the fruit and veggies you want for the week! Pre package them and to keep things interesting, why not make a dip to go along? I love sliced apples with this Pumpkin Spice Dip. To keep the apples fresh, and not turn brown, I simply add a little pineapple or lime juice over them.
Like what you see? Well make sure you keep a list! I have two FREE printable for you today!
- Your grocery list for the week: this is broken down into basic grocery needs and you can write down everything you need under each column. Print front and back and you will get a one pager to bring with you to the store. Also keep an eye out for your “Check List”. It’s just a few things I thought you may want to remember before you head out the door!
- Your Meal Prep Printable: This is a quick an easy fill in. Consider it a master resource list, a place you can turn to when you’re meal planning. As you find or create new meal prep rescues that work for you and your family, keep a master list of them all – this include the source (i.e. cookbook: name & page / Pinterest: name and board). I great reference to have when you’re trying to figure our this week. I love it, and it also reminds me of meals I haven’t made in a while that my family enjoyed!
Do you meal prep? If so, how do you do it? Any tips to share would absolutely be great!