This semester, Jordan Ball, a nutrition graduate student at Boston University, is interning with me. What follows is part two of her three-part blog series on meal planning and meal prepping.
I’m back as promised with part two of a three-part series on Meal Planning, Meal Prepping … plus a new recipe for chicken meatballs. This time around, I’m talking all things meal prep along with tips for keeping veggies fresh and stocking a nourishing pantry.
How I Meal Prep:
I like to do the lion’s share of my meal prep on Sundays. On that day, the first thing I do is get a big batch recipe going – things like chili, soups, stews, slow cooked pulled chicken, spaghetti squash casserole. The reason I do this first is because I like to strike while the iron is hot when I’m most motivated to cook.
Once my big batch recipe is on the stove or in the oven, I chop the miscellaneous fruits and veggies that I’ll need that week and those that store well once prepped, including bell peppers, onions, broccoli, potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, etc. But I avoid prepping the more delicate produce including tomatoes, avocados, and apples.
Prep day is also a great time to prepare a few servings of hearty whole grains. I’m a big fan of brown rice, and since it can take 40 minutes to cook, I like to make a few batches in advance.
On a Sunday, I spend 2 to 3 hours shopping and prepping. Not bad! (Since I have an organized grocery list, the shopping is a snap.)
A Word on Storage:
Be sure you have adequate storage to keep your diced, sliced, and cooked foods fresh. I recommend glass storage over plastic for longevity, sustainability, and microwave safety, but any set works just fine. If you’re just getting started, you can usually find these in a Costco or some grocery stores. Take advantage of your freezer!
When your big batch recipe is done, for example, let it cool and then freeze a few portions for a future busy night. You’ll thank yourself later.
The Perfect Pantry:
I find it helpful to keep my pantry well-stocked. This allows for more flexibility with recipe selection or last-minute toss-together meals and encourages me to eat more nutrient-dense foods more often.
My idea of a perfect pantry includes whole grains (brown rice, oats, whole wheat pasta), legumes (chickpeas, black beans), oils (avocado, olive), jarred sauces, and a variety of nuts and seeds.
With a well-stocked pantry, I can grab a lean protein like chicken breast and a few veggies from the grocery store and quickly toss together a bowl of zucchini noodles, whole grain pasta, roasted chicken and pasta sauce.
I love being in the kitchen and trying new, interesting recipes. Thanks to meal planning and prepping, I have time set aside each week where I can do just that. I save recipes to Pinterest and on Instagram whenever I’m scrolling, and I often get inspired by meals I eat out at restaurants. When I started meal prepping, I didn’t realize it would be more than the boring containers of rice, steamed broccoli, and baked chicken for every meal. The possibilities really are endless.
Meal Prepify says
I’ve been thinking of doing more of this for next year. With me taking another job, it will be much easier for me to have prepped meals so everything is set when I come home from work