Food prep is a wonderful way to save money, time, effort, and calories! Although you invest a chunk of time doing your meal prep once or twice a week, you will actually SAVE time overall. We are able to prepare 4-5 days’ worth of food in about 60-75 minutes per week. Plus, we have to do dishes and clean the kitchen less during the week. We save a TON of money by buying things in bulk and freezing them with our vacuum sealer… We also save money because we have something already prepared, so we don’t waste money on eating out. It also helps us maintain our weight. Here are some tips to help make meal prep a breeze!
There are many different kitchen gadgets and containers that make meal prep easier. One of my favorite kitchen appliances is an air fryer. These appliances make cooking super easy AND save a ton of calories, carbs, and fat. They are relatively inexpensive, and you will LOVE the fact that it doesn’t heat up your house as your oven does. Plus, it is super easy to clean up.
Another kitchen tool I use is a vegetable chopper. These make chopping vegetables a piece of CAKE! Mine has multiple different inserts so I can chop super small, medium, large, etc. It even comes with a slicer. This one is amazing and super affordable on Amazon.
I also LOVE my spiralizer. You can spiralize so many different veggies including zucchini, yellow squash, cucumber, jicama, rutabaga, and many more! The one below has different inserts so that you can spiralize different sized “noodles”. Replacing your pasta with veggies is a great way to save calories, gluten, and CARBS! Plus, you get the added bonus of adding more veggies to your day! You can heat up your “noodles” or you can use them for a cold “pasta” salad. Here is the one that I have.
Slow cookers and Instapots are also kitchen tools that can make meal prep fast and easy. Instapots have become all the rage. Oftentimes, when I am meal prepping, I have multiple appliances going all at the same time (oven, stove, air fryer, slow cooker, grill, etc.).
In order to save your creations from spoiling, investing in a good set of glass food prep containers is a MUST! Food stays fresh longer in glass compared to plastic. We have glass food prep containers that even have dividers so you can separate your foods. You can even use quart-sized canning jars to create Salad-In-a-Jar meals for your week. You will start by putting the wettest ingredients at the bottom of the jar and layer up with dryer ingredients. You will then add your lettuce at the top of the jar. You want to pack it all the way to the top so there is little air inside after you put the lid on. When you are ready to eat your salad, you add your dressing to the jar, shake it and pour it out on a plate. Your salads will stay fresh for about 5-7 days using glass canning jars.
Experiment with different meal prep recipes. Take the time to research new recipes to add to your collection. When I try a new meal prep recipe, I will often “tweak” is based on our tastes. I will make little notes on the recipe. After we eat it, I will make notes on how I might change it for next time. I then add it to a 3-ring binder full of healthy meal prep recipes. I pull that binder out on Saturday mornings to plan my menu for the week and order my groceries on Click List. It is important that you continue to change things up and add new recipes. If you eat the same things over and over again, you are more likely to get bored and eat foods that are not healthy. Pinterest, Facebook, and of course, Amazon, are great options to explore recipes and cookbooks full of healthy meal prep options.
I challenge you to give meal prep a try. You will find that your weeknights are much less chaotic, your grocery bills are much less, your dining out bill is much less AND your belt might even get a little looser!