Are you tired of struggling to eat healthily because you just don't have enough time? Well, you're in luck because today I'm going to be sharing with you some of my top-secret hacks for fast meal prepping that have brought my entire meal prep time down from half a day to just an hour or so every week!
Before we get started, I want to introduce myself. My name is Jenn J, and I'm a nutritionist for the whole family. I help empower overwhelmed and exhausted mothers to recharge their batteries and feel good again in their bodies.
I'm excited to share my meal-prepping secrets with you today, you can either continue reading below or watch the 11-minute video above!
Let's get started!
When I first started meal prepping, my life was simple: my husband was working out of town, we lived alone in a small two-bedroom apartment with my dog, and we had no children. I worked shift work, so my schedule was all over the place, but I would spend one day a month batch-prepping entire meals to stuff the freezer with.
Then my work demands got heavier, my schedule became less flexible, and my husband started working in town, so we were both at home consistently for regular meals. We had just bought our first house, we began renovations of the kitchen within a few months of moving in, and I was still dealing with my own health issues and gaining weight, so I was really trying to figure out a way to eat healthily and actually make it work for me without taking up more of my time.
What I ended up doing was meal prepping on Sundays for the week. At first, it took me several hours to pump out maybe 10 lunches for the week. But as I've refined this process and gotten better at it, I now only spend about one to two hours a week, and I pump out lunches and snacks for the three of us here in the house!
The cool thing is that because I've refined this process, I'm able to turn all of that prep work into full meals that actually cater to everyone in my home, which saves me so much time during the week at supper time! At the end of a long day or even in the middle of one, staring at a shelf of ingredients and imagining them into a healthy meal is actually really overwhelming, and I was in that struggle when I started meal prepping.
Here are some of the secrets that I use in my house to make meal prepping easy and fast:
Batch your ingredients. After you get home from shopping, before you put everything away, decide what everything's being used for and create batches for the week. Items that are being used together in a recipe will actually go together in a tub, box, or bag in your fridge with a label saying what meal it will be.
Cook ahead. Once you've decided what ingredients are being used for what recipes and what your meals are going to look like all week, prepare a bunch of your ingredients beforehand. This generally takes me one to two hours.
Measure out. Measure out ingredients that you generally buy in bulk so you don't have to continually get large bags or boxes out of the pantry.
Double & Triple up! When you're cooking meals, double or triple a recipe to be portioned out at lunches, dinner leftovers for later in the week, or be frozen for another meal when you have less time than normal.
By following these four simple steps, you can save yourself so much time during the week and have ready-made meals or low cook-time meals waiting for you at the end of the day when you get home from work!
At the end of the day, nobody wants to spend hours in the kitchen, and I was at that point when I started working my nine-to-five, living in renovations, and being pregnant. I just didn't have the energy in me to go through all of that during the day and then spend at least an hour in the kitchen every night!
So, if you're short on time, give these tips a try!