I suck at meal prep. There I said it. I should clarify that I can meal prep like a pro when it comes to hubbies’ meals… But not my own. Instead of New Years Resolutions I’ve decided I’ll be setting intentions for 2020 (which for me seems a bit more realistic and also means I don’t feel like a loser by February when I have neatly slipped back into my familiar old habits. A few intentions for food in our house do include the following:
- Reduce food waste (this is a big deal for me as we still seem to have food go off in the fridge)
- Reduce single-use plastics and packaging as much as possible (which includes cutting down on cold-drinks and packaged goods)
- Plan the weeks meals (for all family members) and eat clean as often as possible. This also means cutting down on trips to the grocery store unless it is to replenish.
1. Personalise your meal prep
YouTube meal prep videos can be intimidating (and frustrating seeing that a lot of them include recipes and ingredients that might not be available in SA). I’ve also found that sticking to fruit and veg that are in season provides enough variety and ensures that your meals are always flavourful and fresh. Also, knowing or at least planning out your schedule for the week means you can plan in advance for evenings where you or your partner might be home late, or if there are any engagements you should plan for for your kids.
2. Use recipes that use the same ingredients
This ties in nicely with my goal of reducing food waste in 2020. I choose ingredients that can be utilised in more than one meal (not only limiting them to lunches but also mixing up ingredients for breakfast or dinner means you can be a lot more frugal with your weekly fruit spend.
3. Prep staple ingredients
My husband refers to the time spent prepping meals as Power Hour. I wash, chop, package and store the ingredients in glass containers or freeze what I can. It is super convenient to buy pre-packed veggies from the likes of Woolworths, Checkers or Pick ‘n Pay – but I must admit there is something very therapeutic about peeling and chopping vegetables on a Sunday afternoon whilst catching up on a few episodes of Friends or cooking shows.
Pro Tip! Make a point of checking store promotions towards the end of the month. Woolworths offers incredible specials on bulk fruit and veg through their Daily Deals offers.Nadia – Keep Calm and Mom On
4. Take full advantage of your freezer
Study up on how and for how long ingredients can be frozen. This way you can prep and freeze either meals for your instant pot or slow-cooker or have prepped dinners ready “a la Frozen Lasagna”. Use a permanent marker to indicate the contents of any bags or containers and remember to include the date that you are adding it to the freezer. This is also a great time to fill up the ice trays and check that there is still a few frozen staples in the freezer.
5. Stock your pantry and fridge with healthy staples
If you are anything like me, having snacks in the house serves as unhealthy temptation. I struggle to fall asleep so tend to catch up on a lot of writing and design work in the evenings (it is also the time that I tend to catch up on Netflix when my family doses off. Make sure that you have a selection of fresh crudités, hummus, nuts or apples available for when you feel like a nibble. Preparing these healthy snacks will also ensure that you do not pig out when you have the opportunity.
Pro Tip! I often buy Rotisserie chicken from Woolies or Pick ‘n Pay (I buy one for lunch and then an additional one for lunches, snacks and soup). It’s a quick fix for days when I don’t have much time to prepare dinner or run late due to Joburg traffic…Keep Calm and Mom On