Guest post written by Ashley Smith, MPH, RDN, LD of veggiesandvirtue.com
It doesn’t take a marathon meal prep session on Sundays to get ahead for the week. Instead, you just need a step-by-step 60-minute meal prep game plan for what’s on the menu and what nights you need a little help to get ahead. While it does take some practice to familiarize yourself with the steps and systems that can simplify a meal prep session, I am sharing what I do below in hopes it inspires you in whatever approach you take!
Below is the meal prep plan based on this week’s meal plan featuring Milk & Honey Nutrition broken down by how I would prep it in an hour or less. I don’t get every night’s dinner completely cooked in that amount of time, but I do go into the week with both a nightly plan for what to make and having the more time-consuming ingredients prepared in advance.
To be most successful with meal planning and prep, there are a few things to think through what you prep for the week.
Questions to Ask
By answering a few generic questions, you are able to evaluate what food items to prep ahead. Then, figure out what works best for you! Consider:
What meal(s) are the most time-consuming to prep?
What days or nights do I most need meals ready ahead of time?
What items would be the most helpful to have ready and on hand?
What foods will stay fresh until they're eaten?
What could I get ready all at once, so I don't have to do _________ repeatedly during the week?
In planning the logistics of your upcoming week, you can determine what from your weekly menu would be best to meal prep. You can often cut back on the dishes you use to prepare your weekly meals by preparing them in advance, as well as save time and energy on tasks like standing at the stove, preheating the oven, or washing produce one item at a time.
Since this meal plan focuses on dinner, my goal is to get ingredients prepped and the meal ready to cook (if not already cooked) so that our evening meals take less than 30 minutes to get on the table. The following one-hour prep session helps me accomplish just that.
So without further ado, here is the 60-minute rundown of what to prep for this week’s meal plan.
60 Minute Meal Prep
Make blueberry muffin batter (day 5).
If oven is not yet preheated, make dough for cheesy rolls (day 3). Set aside to add cheese later (if shredding yourself below).
When oven is preheated, put blueberry muffins in. Set timer for 30 minutes.
Wash all vegetables. Allow vegetables to air dry while chopping others.
Dice two sweet potatoes (days 5 and 7). Store half in a large, airtight glass container with water covering diced potatoes completely (I use a mason jar). Set the other half aside in a glass dish (for more of day 7).
Halve Brussels sprouts (day 1). Store in glass baking dish.
Dice one bell pepper (day 7). Store with sweet potato and set aside (day 7).
Chop about 6 cups kale (day 3 and 4). Separate into two glass storage dishes with 2 cups in one dish (day 3) and 4 cups in another (day 4). Set aside.
Dice one onion (days 4 and 7). Add half to sweet potato and bell pepper mixture (day 7) and the other half in a bowl beside the kale (day 4).
Mince 3 cloves garlic (day 4 and 7). Split between three dishes (those for day 4 and 7; set aside for day 2).
Open can of garbanzo beans (day 3). Rinse and set beside kale in glass container.
Start quinoa+water on the stove.
While stove top heats up and quinoa cooks, shred block of cheese in food processor to be used in macaroni (day 2) and grain free rolls (day 3).
Add cheese to rolls dough. Knead and form large ball of dough, wrap tightly in saran wrap, then refrigerate until the night of use.
While quinoa cooks, make sloppy joes sauce (day 7). Store in a glass mason jar.
If consuming salmon within the next 24 hours, remove from freezer and set in a glass baking dish to thaw overnight (in the fridge).
When timer goes off remove muffins from the oven.