After planning for the upcoming week and creating your shopping list, so that you only buy the things you actually need, the next step is to identify is if you can do any upfront meal prep and batch cooking.
The benefit of this is that you will undoubtedly save time through the week and also significantly reduce the risk of making bad food choices. You can have all the healthy food you like in your fridge but if you come home late and exhausted you are likely to forego cooking a healthy meal in favour of reaching for something unhealthy or ordering a takeaway.
Some meals can be prepped or even cooked at the start of the week in one large batch and then kept in the fridge until they are needed. Have a look at the meals you have planned for the week and see what can be cooked and easily reheated (if needed).
Can you make up a large salad or fruit salad that can be portioned up and kept in the fridge so it is easy to grab when you need it? Fast, portable healthy food can be your saviour. How about roasting a large tray of vegetables that can then be used when you need them, you’re more likely to take a few minutes to reheat the roasted veg than you are starting from scratch and waiting the 45minutes for them to cook when you are tired and hungry.
The key to meal prep is that it is used to save you time further down the line but that it’s doesn’t take hours on end to do in the first place. When I first starting meal prepping and batch cooking I was disorganised and spending way too much tome doing it. I learnt by trial and error but now I’ve got a good routine and usually spend less than 90minutes on a Sunday afternoon getting prepped for the week ahead.
Always start off with anything that needs to go in the oven, once those items are in and cooking you can move onto other things. You don’t have to prep and cook everything upfront, think about where you struggle most and concentrate your efforts there.
If you’re always in a rush in the mornings are rarely have time for breakfast then start there – having something you can grab on the run is going to be better than having nothing. If you regularly skip an evening meal or order takeout often then again this is a good place to start.
Do what is going to work best for you.
Check out my sample 5 day meal plan, did you notice how several of the dishes are used more than once through the week? This is another great way to reduce how much cooking you have to do and save you time.