I’ve been meal prepping for as long as I’ve worked remotely (almost 6 years). I started with batches of chili, next burrito bowls, then butter chicken. During the week, it’s an incredible convenience and comfort to have a hot meal a few minutes away.
Here are my tips for planning meals.
- Choose 1 or 2 recipes that share ingredients. I find that it’s convenient to prep, for example, a big batch of rice than making two batches of different grains.
- Study your recipes. My goal is to complete cooking in as little time as possible, so this requires efficient cooking. I go over the recipes to understand how long everything will take and then start with the thing that will take the longest.
- Start with a clean slate. Before you start cooking, empty the dishwasher and wipe down the counters. Now you can clean up as you go.
- Don’t forget the fixings. Fixings can turn a mediocre meal into a delight. Chop up peanuts for a crunch, a dash of herbs, toss on a sauce, or a sprinkle of green onions.
- Reheat low and slow. If there isn’t a line at the microwave, double the time you would ordinarily cook your food and set the power to 50%. The lower power will help prevent foods from getting rubbery.
Some favorites in our rotation:
- Rice bowl (protein, black beans, rice, roasted veggies)
- Frittata (egg, red pepper, onion, sausage)
- Soup (get some fun toppings or crackers to go along)
- Chili (add avocado, sour cream or Greek yogurt, chives, make some cornbread)
- Pulled pork (make some more cornbread, coleslaw, make or try a new BBQ sauce)
- Grilled chicken and grilled vegetables
Some recipes will let you know how long it can keep in the fridge, if not, look up guidelines around whatever protein you added to your dish.
The easiest meal prep
The next time you have leftovers, store them in single portions (it’s easier to grab and convenience helps prevent waste). That’s it. That’s the meal prep.
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