This meal prep post was requested, and then confirmed in a recent Instagram poll (i’ve been loving those lately) so I’m excited to share how I’ve been selecting my meals, grocery shopping, meal prepping etc!
First a little background. Due to my schedule, I pack all three meals with me when I leave the house in the morning, which meals I eat all my meals out of tupperware. Yay. I’ve also found that if I’m not looking forward to my meals the day is infinitely less fun….and there is a higher chance that I end up at the drive through of the McDonalds across the street from my night classes. In addition, ya girl is living on a budget so meal prepping is also cost effective! Last thing, Sundays are when I grocery shop and cook two different meals for the week. The two meals allow me to alternate throughout the week and sometimes I’ll throw in a frozen meal to change it up. It does get a little repetitive but I’m okay with it.
Step 1: Deciding on the meal
This is honestly the hardest part. Without this planning, I would end up making some variation of baked chicken every week. I start by looking in some cookbooks, especially , then of course Pinterest. I generically search “dinner ideas” or “crockpot meals” and just scroll until I find something. My favorite meals so far have been Swedish meatballs and chicken pot pie. When scrolling I’m looking for one, classic meals I want to practice making, and two, meals I know will reheat well.
Step 2: Grocery Shopping
So obviously I have to buy all the ingredients for whatever recipes I’m making that week. But I also buy other staple items every week. Here’s what I get:
- Pre-cut fruit (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon)
- Oranges (An orange a day keeps the student’s germs away)
- Blueberry Belvita Breakfast Bars
- Cinnamon Swirl Bagels or English Muffins
- Goldfish/Cheese-Its/Cheese or Peanut Butter Crackers/Chips/ <–this stuff is out of this word!
- Siggis Mixed Berry or Fage Mixed Berry Yogurt
- Milk (if I buy Oreos)
- 6 eggs
- 1 pint of Ben & Jerry’s Tonight Dough or Outshine Fruit popsicles
- Peets Coffe Major Dickinson K-Cups
(Wherever you see ____ or ____ means I buy whatever is on sale)
Step 3: Cook the Meals
I stop at the grocery store after church, then I head straight home to start cooking. I start around 12:30 and am usually done around 2 or 3. It really depends on what I’m making though. Depending on time and energy level, sometimes I choose one meal that takes actual time and effort, and the second meal will be something I can throw into the crockpot (don’t forget to buy crockpot liners, it will change your clean up game forever). When I’m done cooking, I separate it into tupperware and I’m ready to go. My piece of advice here is to think about how you can make a more complicated or time consuming recipe easier. For example, tonight I made chicken divan. Instead of using raw chicken and fresh broccoli, I tore apart chicken from a rotisserie chicken and used frozen microwavable broccoli.
Aside from meals, I eat a lot of snacks throughout the day. I need snacks for before lunch, after lunch, and fun snacks to get me through my 3 hour night classes, so I probably pack 3-4 snack items with me every morning as well.
One more recipe before I go!
Slow-Cooked BBQ Pulled Chicken
- 1 (14.5oz) can no-salt added diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 bottle of Barbecue Sauce
What to do:
Mix together the tomatoes, vinegar, honey, paprika, soy sauce, mustard, and red pepper flakes and add to the slow cooker. Season the chicken to your pleasing and add to the slow cooker. Turn on the slow cooker to the low and cook for about 5 hours, or until the meat is tender and falling apart.
Mix in your choice of barbecue sauce and serve with a bun!
(from Lighten up, y’all by Virginia Willis)
I hope this was helpful no matter what your meal prepping situation look like. And if you have any go-to recipes make sure to message me or leave a link below!