Meal Prepping Systems:  What Works Best for You?

Meal Prepping Systems: What Works Best for You?

Three Ways to Meal Prep

A little bit of kitchen organisation can go a very long way – but the trick here is to find a system that works for you and helps you get good food on the table, and fast!

I’ve found 3 ways of approaching meal prepping to help get food on the table faster, and a little easier!

One:  Ingredient Prepping

This is my personal fave and works well for my family. 

Firstly I meal plan, then I shop according to that plan (plus all the basic snack and pantry staples I need). 

Each week I’ll spend about an hour prepping as many of the ingredients for lunches and dinners as I can.    I’ll do this either as soon as I get home from the shops; or sometimes I’ll do it the first time I use that ingredient (for example,  if I’m chopping up some cauliflower for dinner I’ll do the whole lot rather than just what I need that night). 

There are three main things I consistently do:

  • Wash and store my fresh produce: salad, fruit, vegetables
  • Decant big packets into clear pantry storage, or small containers for grab and go.
  • A few little “extras” to make life easier – salad dressings or marinades, boil eggs, cook up a bit of chicken etc.

My rule is about an hour, or the time it takes to do a load of washing (because there’s usually a load that needs doing …. ALWAYS). 

Why I do it this way?  There’s a bit of overlap with kitchen organisation here but looking at it from the point of view of how it really helps get food on the table (and lunches in the lunchbox).

Having everything as close to ready-to-go as possible saves so much time.  It’s much easier for me to batch prep ingredients for an hour at the start of the week then have to do it as I go, meal by meal.  No matter how simple dinner is I know it’s easy to throw together some mixed veg or a salad with minimal prep.  We eat better too! 

It also reduces wastage if plans change, or you know when you have dinner organised but you get home and you just really don’t feel like that meal!

Two:  Make it all ahead

I  used to think that meal planning meant this – standing in the kitchen for a few hours on a Sunday basically making as many dinners ahead as possible.  However I was losing weekends, and as the kids got older I wanted to spend more time doing fun stuff with them!

Meal prepping this way has its advantages – it’s a great feeling to walk in the door at the end of a long day and dinner is done with minimal mess & fuss.    If you’re looking to eat a particular way it’s great to have this time to devote to making sure everything is going according to plan too!

The main drawback for me is that is does just shift the time I’m spending cooking and cleaning, it doesn’t really save much time wise, but it is highly organised during the busy working week.

Three:  Brunch with Babs

I’m calling it that because it’s the first place I saw this system on the “Brunch with Babs” Insta account….

Basically you get tubs with days of the week written on them, and fill each tub with the ingredients for dinner that night.  A great way to not over-shop; encourage whoever is home first to start cooking and a really visual way to meal plan!

You do you!

At the end of the day it’s about finding a system that works for you.

To be honest most of us will end up with some sort of hybrid system.  As much as I love being in the kitchen I’m always trying to find ways to be more efficient in it. For example if I’m in there and I know tomorrow night is a late one home, I’ll put some meat in a marinade; or make double the salad for example; chop extra veg so it’s all ready for the slow cooker the next morning….

What systems do you have in place for meal prepping?

PS:  If you want to see more of how I store my fresh produce, and how I use ingredient prepping, you can check my new free download here:  Ingredient Prepping Meal Planning System.

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