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Have you ever considering meal prepping, but you get these crazy images in your head about chicken and broccoli in neat little containers next to a very tired person wiping their brow after spending 5 hours throwing all these recipes together? That was my exact thought when I wanted to start preparing my meals ahead of time, but I just knew there had to be another way. There had to be an easier – no fluff – cut the time in half way!
Remember your Nana!
Then I remembered my sweet Nana who always had vegetable soup, chicken and dumplins’, and roast ‘n taters in her freezer at all times. She always had a home cooked meal that was just a quick microwave zap away from being ready. As a lunchroom lady, she learned a few tricks of the trade. Now the lunch room she ran was not your kid’s lunch room today. There was always homemade whipped potatoes that she personally peeled and mashed. None of that flake stuff.
Grab your FREE Keto Meal Prep Package:
Equipped with my Nana’s meal prepping know-how and a little extra research on the Internet for today’s generation, I developed a meal prep guide that was easy, fast, cheap, and keto-friendly. Extra credit for this meal prep guide goes to Salt and Prepper that has since turned into a paid meal prep guide website (seriously, good for them, they should have started charging a while ago for their meal prep guides. They are genius!) Since I am just a humble blogger starting out, I am offering this meal prep guide and my tips to you for free. No email signups necessary. Wait…what? Yes, you read that correctly. Free and you do not have to input any information. If you enjoyed it and it helped your family, I only politely ask that you pin this post on Pinterest or share it on Facebook. That’s it!
These guides do take time to compile, but this is what I do anyways for my family on a monthly basis so I’m happy to offer it for free (for now at least!). Plus the recipes are not all mine so I cannot take full credit. The amazing bloggers that make these recipes. Please go visit their sites too. Click around and get more recipes from them. Pin their recipes. They will be very grateful! One day I hope to get into creating my own recipes for these guides, but for now, I need to lean on the shoulders of giants (if they will let me).
How to get started (FAQs)
Here are my super amazing tips to get you started. This grocery list and meal prep guide is based on this post. I just compiled it all into a handy, super simple PDF you can print (or keep on your phone or tablet) when you go to the grocery store. Click to download below:
Anyone can meal prep. You just need music and a few hours on a Sunday (or whatever day you choose…could be a Wednesday if you fancy). Here are my quick tips for meal prep:
You can do this!
Meal prep is just making a plan for the day, week, or month ahead, so don’t sweat it if you aren’t hardcore right off the bat. As long as you have a few meals ready to eat in the fridge, you’re golden. Or, you can choose to go hardcore, super committed meal prepper immediately. This involves prepping for the next two weeks or month with easy-to-freeze & store healthy meals. This is mainly for dinner, but you can do freezer friendly breakfast & lunch too.
Why do this?
a) It’s cheaper. You can prep 20 dinners for around $100. $5 per meal. b) You have complete control. Put healthy ingredients in that you like, leave out the rest. c) You will waste less. d) It’s healthier e) It saves time f) It is so amazing to come home & not have to worry about dinner.
How do I start?
Look for recipes that will be freezer friendly & hold together well when thawed (plus healthy!). Pick about 5 recipes that will divide into 4 portions and create a grocery list (or download one of my handy Meal Prep Packages. The download link is below). Try to pick recipes with overlapping ingredients like olive oil, chicken broth, etc.
How do I cook 5 recipes in a day?
Don’t be scared. It’s easier than you think. Meal prep time is your zen time. Put on music. Kick everyone out of the kitchen. You have options for how to start: a) Cook one recipe at a time. I did this at first so I could get the hang of it. b) Prep everything then cook. Chop veggies and set aside, arrange by recipe, and cook everything. You might have more dishes from this method c) Just do it. This is what I do. I just kinda start a couple recipes. One in the oven, one in the crock pot, one on the stove, and go from there. There is less stress with this method.
What can’t I freeze?
Veggies with high water content (lettuce, cucumbers) eggs, fruit, and salads.
What containers do I use?
Both of these work great depending on what you’re preparing and are very cost effective. This is definitely an item you’ll want to buy in bulk.
What about reheating?
On Sunday, remove about 5 meals (multiply by the amount of people you are feeding) from the freezer & transfer to your fridge to defrost slowly. General rule of thumb: reheat it how you cooked it. (Soups in a sauce pan, roasts in the oven, etc)
a) Slow cooker and Instant Pot are your friends b) Roast stuff and cook grains first. Your groove will be thrown off if you are waiting on rice to cook for 40 minutes. c) Clean as you go. d) Freeze ASAP. The quicker the foods freeze, the smaller the ice crystals, and the less damage on the food in the thawing process. e) HAVE FUN. Seriously, this is 2-5 hours of pure bliss. This is YOUR time. Have some fun with it.
Is this worth it?
Yes, 2-5 hours on a Sunday for stress-free weeknights is SO WORTH IT.
Looking for more quick & easy meal ideas? Check out these below: