“What’s for dinner?”  This dreaded question has plagued the households of American families for centuries, leading to many arguments and even more phone calls to the local pizza delivery company. How much easier would it be to just open your refrigerator and find a week’s worth of healthy, delicious food that’s fully prepped and ready to be eaten?

With meal preparation, the answer to the “what’s for dinner” question is right in front of your eyes. By prepping all of your meals ahead of time, you are able to keep yourself on track throughout the entire week.

The goal is to plan out all of your meals over the weekend, then do your shopping and prep all at one time for the entire week. With one labor-intensive day, your refrigerator is full with ready-to-eat food for the next full week. Just follow my plan and take all the guesswork out of your weekly meals.

 

Step One: Plan Out Your Week
Grab your calendar, a piece of paper, your phone or iPad.  It’s time to get started. Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself before you get started:

  • How many meals do you actually need?
  • Who are you cooking for this week?
  • Will you be eating at home for every meal?
  • Are there any special events you need to be aware of?
  • What do you have time for?
    • During especially busy weeks, dust off your slow cooker and let it do the work for you!

 

Step Two: Grab the Recipes

Now that you know how many meals to prep and how many mouths you need to feed, it’s time to put your plan in action and select recipes for the week.

  • Check out your favorite recipe sites
  • Flip through your favorite cookbooks and family recipes
  • Plan recipes that use similar ingredients
  • Make extra proteins that can be used for additional recipes


Step Three: Create Your Grocery List

Now that you know what you’re cooking, you need to make a list of the ingredients you don’t have on hand.

  1. Are you going to double a recipe? Make sure you have sufficient ingredients on hand to cover the extra size.
  1. Check the freezer and the pantry for items you may already have.

 

Step Four: Time to Shop!

With your list in hand, grab only what you need to make meals for the week.

 

Step Five: Prep Time

You don’t have to fully cook every meal for the week ahead of time. But, to save time, chop all of your vegetables, put together all of the seasonings and pre-cook at least two meals for the week.

 

Meal preparation can save you time, money, and a lot of headaches when trying to stick with your nutrition plan when you’ve got a busy schedule. Ensure that you are choosing meals that fit into your nutrition plan while remaining easy to cook and plan in advance. You’ll appreciate it in the long run!

 

Tom Daubert

ACSM CEP

Compel Fitness

 

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