Let me be clear. I love to meal prep. Even in grad school, while my roommates dedicated their Sundays to watching football like normal students, I flurried around the kitchen cutting carrots, roasting zucchini and soaking black beans with my wild meal prep ideas. Ok, while drinking a glass of wine.
Now, let me get real. Even though I truly love the art of weekly meal prep, I’m not always game for it. Some Sundays, the thought of spending hours in the kitchen can be just as revolting as seeing my husband dunk roasted sweet potato in ketchup. #gross #checkyourselfdude
If you ever need a little motivational boost to get your meal prep on, try these five must-try tips to make it easy and fun.
1. Don’t grocery shop and prep on the same day
When I first started doing all of my food preparation on Sundays, I remember I’d hit up the grocery store first. And that, I learned over the years, was a huge mistake. Spending two hours grocery shopping, AND then coming home to food prep was way too involved. By the time I got home from the store, all I wanted to do was put my groceries away and grab a cocktail.
So, now, I always do my grocery shopping either on the Friday night (the farmer’s market is the new late-night club, right?!) or Saturday. Come Sunday, I’m totally ready to rock-and-roll with my meal prep.
2. Blast some music
Seriously, people, this is a major. The day I accidentally left my playlist running as I transitioned from work to meal prep was almost as life changing as my wedding day. (I truly don’t know what that says about me.) I shimmied, twisted and running manned my way through three hours of meal prep in the blink of an eye.
3. Recruit your “cleanup crew”
Prepping food can be really exciting, but simultaneously keeping the kitchen clean requires an expertise that only few have. I mean, whoever can clean and cut mushrooms while promptly discarding their stems is a culinary genius in my book.
Rather than spending loads of time and energy attempting to hone that skill, recruit your friend, partner or kiddo to clean in the wake of your prep and offer an incentive. You’ll be surprised by how many people are up for the challenge when offered free food, a back massage or simply time outside of their home in return.
4. Embrace one ingredient, and enjoy multiple ways.
I love trying new ingredients and enjoying new meals like the best of ‘em. But you know what I love more? Saving time and energy by prepping one base ingredient, and enjoying it multiple ways throughout the week.
Overnight oats and mason jar salads are just a few examples of my weekly staples. I simply prep the oats or lettuce, and then get “wild” (clearly, my definition of “wild” has shifted over the years) with unique flavor combinations. Best of both worlds, FTW!
5. Start small.
If you’re new to food prepping, don’t think that you have to prep every single meal, snack and beverage for the entire week. Start by prepping one or two ingredients, like chopped kale and roasted squash, and toss them into a variety of dishes ranging from smoothies to salads to entrees.
One of my absolute favorite easy meal prep ideas is to toss frozen fruit, frozen kale, chia or flaxseeds, and Vega One® into a large mason jar. After tightening the lid, I’ll throw it into the freezer until I’m ready to drink it. I’ll then take it out, add some unsweetened nut milk, blend and be out the door in seconds! Watch and learn:
So, here’s the moment of truth: what artist are going to make your “Sunday Funday Meal Prep” playlist?