How To Meal Prep For A Month

So I was telling my aunt about how I meal prep and she looked at me like I grew a second head and my mom pointed out I essentially engineered my way into meal prepping so I wanted to share it with you.

Why meal prep?

  • Less food waste – if you only buy ingredients for meal prep, every ingredient has a purpose and it won’t be wasted.
  • Save money – the excuse to go out because you have no food in your fridge (or freezer) no longer exists.
  • Refine your cooking skills.
  • Eat healthier – if you plan out what you’re making then you can choose to eat healthier.

When I started:

This is kind of embarrassing but when I first started I would throw some meat, veggies, and broth in my crockpot put it on a time, and hope for the best for my week’s worth of food. Especially when you consider this is my mom. I knew how to make a couple of things, like bacon in the oven. Growing up I didn’t like cooking because my mom was so good at it. Upon entering college and eating dorm food, it caused me to get 3 pages worth of food allergies. There goes my meal plan. 🤣

Instant Pot enters the fray:

Eventually, I got an Instant Pot and my mom / Pinterest taught me how to make a couple of things in it and that turned out better. My allergies were also significantly less at this point–just gluten and dairy. Cooking my own food probably helped with that. But I found that I was making the same foods all the time which is boring.

Now:

Background:

Instead of prepping for a week’s worth of food, I thought I would save myself time if I meal prepped for a month’s worth of food and had freezer meals to pull out and microwave at my leisure. This helped my roommates who don’t meal prep much have more fridge space. So now meal prepping takes me about 8 total hours. About 1 hour to plan what I’m making and make my grocery list, 1 hour to do all the shopping, and 6 hours to do all the cooking. I do shopping and cooking on the same day.

What to plan for meal prep:

The most essential piece for any meal prepper is your boxes. I would recommend if you’re going to start doing freezer meals with me, to have a way to mark what boxes contain what. Washi tape + sharpie works well. I’ve mentioned my mom and Pinterest as great resources but another one I like is Supercook because it allows you to put in everything you already have to generate recipes. I like meal prepping a month’s worth because that’s 4 breakfast recipes (one for each week), 4 lunch recipes, and 4 dinner recipes which allows for more variety in what you take out every day. Especially when lunch and diner recipes are often interchangeable.

Cooking:

6 hours to make 12 recipes sounds hard but it’s not, it’s just a lot of multi-tasking. I strategically choose recipes that have a variety of ways to make them. That way I can have something in my crockpot, something in the instant pot, something in the oven, and something on the stove all at the same time. Crockpots take the longest so you start that one first, then either instant pot or oven, then stove. I always have 2 cuttings boards out for meal prepping, one for meat and one for veggies. You find a rhythm and it gets easier. As you finish one recipe, you clean and package up the food while you wait for something else to finish.

Tips:

  • Start your meal prep day with an empty dishwasher.
  • You can meal prep salads but you can’t freeze them (unless their pasta or egg salad, just leave off the mayo and add later). Otherwise, you’ll have to eat them first.
  • Plan meals with fruit- smoothies, bannana bread, acai bowls, apple crisp. I didn’t went I first started and I felt like I had no energy all the time.
  • Plan out snacks – grocery shopping a month’s worth of food can be a lot so if you plan out your snacks you won’t forget to get them which means less trips to the grocery store.
  • Choose a varierty of recipes from different cultures to help with food boredom.
  • For my microwave, it takes about 6 minutes to completely warm up something straight from the freezer.
  • If you live with other people, tell them about your process, you may inspire them to try it out or why the fridge suddenly became very full.
  • Go to the grocery store early- you can avoid traffic and end your meal prepping day by ~2:30 PM.
  • Do your meal prep day on a weekend to avoid expensive electricity hours.

Final Thoughts:

The point of me telling you my meal prep journey has been to show that meal prepping is a learned skill, you don’t have to be good at it right away. You can start as big or small as you’d like. Thank you for reading my take on meal prepping, I appreciate it. Comment below your favorite food or what you like to meal prep. If you like my content, consider subscribing to my mailing list and if you want something similar, click here.

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