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Stress Free Meal Prepping

by Hannah Martin

 

Years ago I made a Pinterest account and saved many meal prepping ideas in hopes of conquering the habit.  However, for some reason it seemed like a daunting task. Rather than planning and prepping, my husband and I would buy groceries to have on hand for healthy meals, but it usually wasn’t until my drive home from work that I thought about dinner.  At that point neither of us had pulled out any chicken, turkey, or fish from the freezer to thaw. This frequently led to stressful evenings, having to quickly thaw a protein source and rushing about the kitchen to throw something together.

 

With that in mind, I decided a goal of mine for the new year was to come up with a meal prepping routine that works for us.  As January approached, Kyle and I sat down and brainstormed a few dozen healthy dinners. For each week in January, we chose two entrees, approximately eight for the month.  At the start of the month, we bought all of our protein sources to freeze and non-perishables to keep in the pantry. Weekly, we only had to buy fresh produce and miscellaneous items for breakfast, lunch, and the two dinner entrees.

 

On Sundays, I cooked the first dinner of the week, with enough leftover for Monday and Tuesday.  Again on Wednesday, I cooked dinner and made enough for Thursday and Saturday (because Fridays are our “Pizza Night”).  This routine alleviated stress regarding dinner, cooking, and grocery shopping and worked so well in that we kept it up every month since.

 

While some people don’t like leftovers, others are more spontaneous, and many enjoy cooking each night, this meal prep plan of ours is extremely manageable with our multiple jobs and busy schedules.  I write this in hopes to encourage someone else who also wants to meal prep, but feels stressed by the thought of it, like me. Or maybe you have a great routine as well, but want to try something new.

 

In Summary, the “Martin Meal Prep Plan” is as follows:


- Each month, choose 2 - 3 dinners per week.

- List and purchase the protein sources and non perishables for the month.

- Weekly, purchase fresh produce and/or miscellaneous items.

- Cook 2-3 dinners per week, with enough leftover for a second or third evening.

 

Benefits:

- Decrease stress

- Save time in the kitchen thanks to leftovers

- Save money by planning and eating out less often

- Less calories from processed foods at restaurants by cooking fresh meals at home

 

My go-to meals:

-grilled chicken salad

-chicken or salmon, brown rice or quinoa, and veggies

-chicken, chicken sausage, or turkey meatballs over spaghetti squash

-chili made with ground turkey

-taco salad made with ground turkey

-chicken and brown rice soup

-minestrone soup

-goulash made with gluten-free brown rice and quinoa pasta




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