Meal prepping seems straightforward and easy when you watch people on YouTube. But it really isn’t. Anyone else feel that way?
I’ve tried making things in my crockpot for weeknight dinners, only to find out that I throw away a lot of food. I get tired of eating the same thing over and over; then food spoils and goes to waste.
After many attempts and different methods of food prepping I’ve found that prepping a few staples ahead of time amps up my cooking game throughout the week.
#1) Cook your Grains and freeze them.
This one is so clutch. There have been so many nights where I get home from the gym and I’m starving. As a vegetarian, cooking vegetables and some sort of protein like beans can be a fairly quick process, but who has the patience to wait for rice?
I used to purchase the brown jasmin rice from Trader Joes in the freezer section that came in individual serving sizes, microwave ready in plastic wrap, but wasn’t a fan of all the packaging; OR how much money I was spending just because I was lazy. Grains provide great nutrients, protein, and fiber; they are great to have on hand to bulk up your salads or to complete any meal.
Here’s How to Freeze your Grains:
- Cook your grain.
- Spread an even layer on a baking sheet with parchment paper, and place it in the freezer.
- Once frozen, transfer them into a freezer friendly container and microwave when you’re ready to eat.
- *Tip: cover the grain with a wet paper towel when you microwave your grains so that it doesn’t dry out.
#2 Chop and Freeze Herbs
I love to shop at the farmer’s market for my produce on Sundays. The best thing about shopping at a farmer’s market is that you can buy a bundle of herbs at a great price. The problem is trying to find a way to use all the herbs before they go bad!
Turns out, you can freeze them and use them later.
Here are 2 ways you can freeze your herbs:
- Place the whole herb, attached to the stem, on a baking sheet in the freezer.
- Once frozen, store them in an airtight container (…in your freezer. Obvious, but you never know..)
- Break them off and chop when ready to use.
- Herbs that do well: Rosemary, bay leaves, dill, thyme, sage.
- *Tip: Chop chives before freezing.
- Freeze with water or oil in ice cube trays.
- Chop up the herbs and place them in ice cubes trays with water or oil.
- Use for soups, stews, or stir fry.
*Bonus tip: If you are feeling SUPER lazy, my favorite move is to place my herbs in a jar with water (like you do with a bouquet of flowers). This will help keep your herbs fresher, longer. Replace the water when it dries up or starts to turn brown.
#3) Wash and Massage Kale, and Other Leafy Greens.
If I do anything at all this one is the most crucial. When I was commuting by bike and train, the only thing I had time for in the morning was a smoothie. I love adding greens, so having kale on hand, chopped and ready to dump into the blender made this morning routine a breeze.
Making a salad is an easier option if I already have my kale ready to go. We all know how laborious washing and massaging kale can be. Especially if you shop at the farmer’s market, you really have to wash your vegetables free of the dirt and any possible bugs that sneak in there.
Here’s How I wash and store my kale:
- Wash kale thoroughly and let it strain.
- Strip leaves off the stem and chop them into your desired, chewable size.
- Place chopped kale into a mixing bowl to air out excess water (about 10 minutes)
- Add juice from 1/2 of a lemon or 1 tbsp of olive oil and massage into the kale.
- Place chopped and massaged kale in a large tupperware and store in the fridge.
Bonus: Juice in Bulk
*This is a bonus because I realize not everyone has a juicer.*
I am a proud owner of a Breville Juice Fountain, and aim to make juice in bulk every Sunday after the farmer’s market. This juicer has a large jug which is great for making large batches of 2 liters, which is about 8 cups. Having the large jug is what makes this a crucial piece of meal prepping. Juicing is quite the production, so doing it once a week is enough for me. It’s been a life changer having fresh juice in the morning 🙂 .
My favorite combination is:
My Favorite Meal Prepping Method
This video below is an example of my preferred meal prepping method. Downshiftology does a great job of prepping and combining multilple staple ingredients into diverse, healthy meals.