It’s not really a secret that I love to meal plan and prep. Now that I’m feeling better post-surgery and am mostly back in the game, it’s been strangely comforting to plan out our meals and do some prep to set us up for success. It’s meditating to create a list of meal ideas for the week, and then spend some time in the kitchen preparing our favorite staples.
Meal Prep Benefits
When we have prepped items on hand and a general plan for the week, I’m much more likely to do two things:
1) eat regular meals at regular times and
2) make healthier choices.
If there’s chopped veggies in the fridge for a salad, I’ll actually make a salad instead of waiting until I’m hangry to dive into the tortilla chip bag.
While it’s fun to meal plan and prep, with school back in session, things are a bit more busy than our lazy summer days. I try to make the most out of the time and ingredients we have.
Get More Out of Meal Planning
There are a few things I do to make the most out of meal planning:
Focus on a Few Staples
I have a rotation of things I know I can make quickly and that everyone loves.
Some of the things on the list:
-crudités and dip
-homemade granola bars
Go for Protein and Produce
These are the two things that I like to emphasize in each of my meals, and the veggies + protein I like to eat involve a bit of prep. (Fruit is easy because it’s so grab-and-go.)
-Chicken cooked in the Instant Pot, shredded, and topped with a sauce of choice: BBQ, pesto, or salsa
-Cauliflower rice (in the pic above, I added chopped veggies and pesto)
-Chopped fresh veggies, or roasted veggies for salads, omelets and wraps
Outsource the Dinner Planning
I’ve found that the best combo for us is to plan out 3 meals each week, and outsource the rest. Groceries here are much more expensive than they were in San Diego, so it’s even more cost-effective, and it prevents me forgetting crucial ingredients at the store and then scrambling during the dinner rush. (Like that one time I made chicken coconut curry and found out I had forgotten the chicken. It ended up being NBD, and we loved our vegetarian meal, but still.)
I’ve tried quite a few meal delivery services, and the one I always come back to is Blue Apron. While many services do the same thing -plan out the recipes and send you the ingredients you need- there is something that makes Blue Apron very different and special: the ingredients are always fresh, and the meals are always fantastic. With every other service I’ve tried, we’ve had a bad box where either the ingredients arrived warm, or the meals weren’t anything noteworthy. Blue Apron is always good. They feel a bit more “fancy” even though the meals are healthy and filled with fresh ingredients, and I love that the family box is even quicker to put together.
(Honey-pepper chicken and farrow with cucumber, tomato, and feta salad)
More About Blue Apron
–Blue Apron meals are chef-designed recipes you can create at home. All of the ingredients you need arrive in a fully-insulated box with recyclable materials. Since everything is perfectly measured out, there’s no need to make a trip to the store or buy full-size products you may not use.
(Summer Vegetable Quiche)
-They offer two plans: the 2-person plan and the Family Plan
-All meals can be prepared in 40 minutes or less, and range between 500-800 calories per person. (<— the servings are extremely generous and we often have leftovers for lunch the next day)
-They’re working to create a sustainable system, and source their products from various farmers throughout the US. They’re committed to sustainable seafood, meat that is raised without the use of antibiotics or hormones, and non-GMO ingredients. You can read more about their commitment to sustainability here.
-They have a huge selection of recipes and are always adding new ones
What are some of the things you do to streamline the meal planning process?