I’ve mentioned a few times on here how my food prep binges on the weekend really help me stay on track with nutrition throughout the week. I hadn’t really thought much about writing a post about it until I saw the awesome Lindsay over at the The Lean Green Bean do her weekly series on her food prep routine. I was so inspired by everyone else’s food prep, that I thought maybe I should give you guys a small peek into mine as well. So this past weekend, I snapped some photos while I set off one of my patented kitchen bombs.
The first step for my food prep is to make a list. This shouldn’t surprise you. I’m pretty much the queen of lists. Ha! I did a little pre-list when I made my menu and went grocery shopping for the week, but now that it’s time to actually do the work, I make a “real” list and make sure to put it in the order I want to work.
After my list is made, I usually pull out all the ingredients I’ll need to get through the whole list. I’m lucky to have a giant island to spread out on. Having all the ingredients out and clumped together really saves me some time. Plus, I also like the visual of working my way through them. I put ingredients away as I’m finished with them, and as the counter starts to get empty, I know I’m closing in on the finish line.
To make the most out of my time, I try to start with the things that have an element of inactive work. Like making bread. I make a loaf of bread each week, and I get the dough together and rising first, before I do anything else. Bonus: because I’m working in the kitchen and have the stove and the oven on, it warms up and my dough rises better. Win!
Next, I just start working through my list. I try to keep like things together so I can use the same kitchen utensils without washing. Like, for example, I chop all my veggies for snacking…
…and then right after, I start working on my salads-in-a-jar. I’m not sure who the first person to think of putting a salad in the jar, but man, it is genius. I was skeptical when I first tried it, but just as long as the lettuce is separate from the dressing, it all stays fresh and crisp for days. My lunchtime veggie intake has skyrocketed thanks to these little salad jars stashed in the fridge. I usually dump the whole thing into a bowl, but Craig just shakes it up and eats it right out of the jar. It’s a a perfectly portable healthy lunch. Love ’em.
Once I’ve made it through my whole list, I stash everything on the top shelf of the fridge. Not only does it make it easy to get to, but it’s also the first thing we see when we open up the fridge door. I’m a believer that if I’m visually assaulted with healthy foods, I’m much more likely to eat healthy foods.
Curious what I made this week? Here’s the whole lot of it:
- Cold Greek Quinoa Salad (top left)
- Black Bean Burgers
- Herbed Turkey and Egg Cups
- Salads-in-a-jar: lemon-sesame dressing, quinoa, celery, red onion, lentil sprouts, feta and romaine.
- Cherry-chocolate smoothies (middle left)
- Cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, celery sticks and sweet pepper slices
- Peanut Butter Cookie Date Balls (with added bittersweet chocolate)
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Braided Seed Bread (bottom left)
- Grapes (washed and portioned out)
- Pistachio-Stuffed Dates (topped with chocolate)
This, plus some other additions like cereal for breakfast or leftovers for lunch, will be enough food to get us through the week. It took me about three hours to get through all this cooking, but I know it saves so much more time than that during the week. It makes it so easy to grab breakfasts, lunches and snacks during the week. Honestly, the time and effort isn’t all that bad. The worst part about the whole thing? The pile of dishes afterward. Yeeeeesh.
But thankfully, I have an awesome husband who doesn’t mind cleaning up after I spent hours cooking us healthy, yummy food for the whole week.
Each week, I try to make 2-3 options for lunches, 2-3 options for breakfast and a handful of options for snacks. It changes each week. Here’s another food prep I did a few weeks back. In this one, you’ll see other food prep frequenters like granola bars, overnight oats, fruit and yogurt parfaits, and tuna salad. It all just depends on what we’re in the mood for.
If it weren’t for food prepping each week, my diet would probably consist of some leftovers and whatever food was within reach in the pantry. I know having all these fresh fruits and veggies ready and waiting has definitely made me eat more goodies. Even Craig agrees! He says that without the weekly food prep, he probably wouldn’t even bother with packing fruits or vegetables in the lunch he takes to work, but with it all there and ready to go, it’s actually easier to just grab something healthy instead of doing the work to pack something not-as-healthy.
Food prepping takes a pretty big time commitment, but for us, it’s a system that works, so that time is worth it. If you’ve never tried it before, I highly recommend making your own list and setting off a kitchen bomb of your very own!