This post is meant for people who:
1. Want to feed themselves and their family healthy.
2. Are jealous of all those “meal preppers” on social media.
3. Are lost with how to get started.
If this sounds like you, you’ll definitely want to follow my meal prep posts where I will remove the overwhelm aspect of meal prep and give you actionable steps that you can take to best help you shop and cook efficiently and healthily!
We will begin by working on family dinners, which is when most families eat their healthiest meal of the day. There is also a ton of stress placed on this meal- especially for working parents who get home the same time as their starving kids!
Even parents who don’t work or work from home will benefit greatly from an efficient method of getting healthy food on the table!
In today’s post, I want to take the fear out of getting started! With a little bit of advanced planning (ok, a lot at first) you will slowly develop a routine of stocking mainly whole foods and getting dinner on the table easily and stress free.
The key that I will keep mentioning is to think weekly not daily. I come from a home where my mom went to the supermarket EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. I kid you not! I always knew that I could never be the same way (too bad if an ingredient is missing from my cupboard!) Planning the menu for the week in advance is annoying but helpful to reduce shopping time, keep your mind on whole nourishing foods and helps eliminate food waste.
Here is the basic plan I use in my own home and with clients who want to learn to meal prep. These are the steps to take before meal prep can begin and are even more important in my opinion!
The first step in learning to meal prep is to create the Master Meal List.
The Master Meal List is a document that includes your family’s go- to main dishes and sides. These dishes should be ones that most of the family likes and are easy enough to make on weeknights.
Write or type up the master meal list and print it or save it somewhere easy to retrieve it.
On the Master Meal List, I like to have about 10 main dishes and at least 10-15 side dishes. Depending on your family’s dietary preference, there should be a mix of meat, dairy, and vegan options. Also, if someone in the family has an allergy or intolerance, make sure to include a secondary option for them when necessary.
There are 2 main ways to create the Master Meal List:
1. Group all the main dishes together under a main dish header. Then do the same for all sides. For example:
Tofu stir fry
sweet potato fries
You can also further divide the categories into Vegetables and Grains/ Carbs, depending how you typically structure your dinners.
In my house, I try to offer a protein main dish, 2 vegetables and a carb, so I would break it down this way in my list.
2. Pre- group the main dish with the sides you think go best right on the List. For example:
Main: Baked Falafel
Side: chopped salad
Side: Roasted broccoli
The way you choose to group your food will be really based on how much structure versus flexibility you like in your life! Neither method is better or more efficient. The first one gives you all the options and lets you mix and match your meals. The second one requires no on-the- spot thinking, but offers less flexibility.
No matter how you choose to do it, take 30 minutes to write down your families Master Meal List. I’d love to check out your Master Meal List, so message me on Instagram with a picture of your Master Meal List and I’ll post them to my Instagram Stories to inspire others! Let’s do this together!