Prep Your Produce!
Take one chunk of time per week (usually about 30-60 minutes) to prep a bunch of veggies to make dinners and school lunch packing a breeze for the rest of the week. Here are some ways to make your prep even quicker!
*Make a Plan–Make a little list of the foods you plan to prep (today is my prep and batch cook day, so my orange post-it stuck to the counter includes both). Look at your meal plan for the week and decide if you need to slice, chop, or dice your veggies. Sliced veggies work best for lunches, diced work for soups, salads, and stir fries, and chopped veggies are best for roasting. That way, when Wednesday rolls around and you need diced onions, carrots, and celery to start your soup, you can just pull the pre-diced veggies out of the fridge and get cooking! I use this handy chopper to dice all my veggies super small with minimal effort.
*Set Yourself Up for Success–Wash and lay out all the produce you plan to prep. Set out all the tools you’ll need (cutting board, knife, peeler, bowl for scraps, kitchen cloths, paper towels, Tupperware, etc). Fill the sink with hot, soapy water so that all items that aren’t dishwasher safe can be washed as soon as you’re done with them.
*Enlist Some Help–If you prep at a time when kids or spouses are home, call them into the kitchen to help you! Many hands make light work.
*Make it Fun!–Turn on some good music and pour yourself a fancy drink (iced coffee, matcha tea, and fruit-infused waters are my faves).
*Clean Up Right Away–No one wants to clean up a mess in the kitchen that’s been sitting for hours. Plan for time to wash the dishes you used, wipe the counters, and run the dishwasher if necessary. You’ll end up with a clean kitchen and a fridge full of healthy veggies ready to be eaten! A positive prepping experience will make you look forward to next week’s prep instead of dreading it.
General Prepping Tips
-Plan your meals! Decide what you want to eat for the week (or at least 3-4 days) before you hit the store
-Check your fridge and pantry for anything you already have
-Make a list and stick to it!
-When you get home from the store, spend an hour prepping for the week
-Wash all greens by placing them in sink of cold water, swish around and then lay to dry on a clean towel. Store in a ziplock bag with a couple of paper towels. They will last about a week in the fridge this way
-Wash all fruits and veg by soaking in a sink full of cold water with a splash of vinegar (even berries!). Allow to dry on a towel and store in the fridge (citrus, avocado, bananas, and tomatoes should be stored on the counter)
-Chop and slice cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, etc and store in containers for quick snacks and meal prep
-Make a big salad and leave the dressing on the side to eat over the next few days.
-Cook a big batch of brow rice, quinoa, steel cut oats or any other grains and put them in the fridge to eat over the next few days. Serve in salads, soups, stir fries, burrito bowls, and with coconut/almond milk and fruit for breakfast! You can even freeze cooked grains in 1 cup portions for easier meal prep in the coming weeks.
-Cook large batches of beans either on the stove or in the crock pot to use all week long in salads, burrito bowls, wraps, soups, etc. you can freeze them in 1-2 cup portions if you don’t think you’ll use them within the week.
-Portion out frozen berries, banana slices, a handful of greens, and even a dollop of coconut yogurt into ziplock bags and freeze for quick smoothie packs! Just add water and blend!
-When you cook, freeze leftovers in single serve containers for quick defrost and eat meals
-Use your slow cooker!! It is your best friend in the kitchen. Make healthy soups, chili, and other dishes in large batches. Freeze leftovers in single serve portions or just eat leftovers over a couple days.
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