It’s Foodie Friday! With the crazy Dallas weather (yes, our city shuts down for just 1/4 inch of snow!), the week has felt a bit frenetic, and Friday is a welcome treat! I hope you have a great weekend!
One of the most valuable lessons I share my clients is the importance of dedicating a few hours each week to meal planning and food preparation. In today’s busy world, it can be very hard to set aside a few precious hours of the weekend, and I understand that this is not a small thing to ask. But what would you say if I told you that the two or three hours you spend in meal prep on the weekend could save you four to six hours during the week … plus eliminate the stress and anxiety you have over figuring out what to eat each meal during the week? Read on if weekend food prep is starting to sound a bit more appealing!
I’m sure you know the feeling – you’re driving home from a meeting, ready to gnaw your arm off. It’s 8pm and you’re debating between throwing in the towel on your health goals by driving through a fast food window, taking another hour to prepare something healthy (did that broccoli already go bad, or could you squeeze out one more day?), and having yet another bowl of cereal. Just thinking about the decision is enough to stress you out. If you have kids, add the never-ending chorus of “Mooommmm, what’s for dinner?” to the mix, and your anxiety levels are likely off the charts. But if you had committed two to three hours to food prep over the weekend, you wouldn’t have to deal with any of this. Wouldn’t that be worth the time investment?
To give a “formula” for food prep that would apply to every single reader would be next to impossible, because each person’s needs vary so dramatically. How large is your family? How many meals do you eat at work, and do you have a refrigerator to store food while you are there? Do you need to rely on cold meals, or do you have a stove or microwave to heat meals up on the go? Do you go out for date night every Friday? When do you work out, and how do your post-workout fueling needs impact your meal plan? Does little Timmy hate spinach and Sally loves broccoli? Do you like to go grocery shopping once per week at a large commercial grocery store, or twice weekly at a small co-op? These are just some of the many questions that I ask my clients as I help them develop a plan for their weekly food preparation, and a few of the questions you need to ask yourself before beginning this helpful habit.
Let’s get started with your weekend food prep!
- The first, and most important, step of building in this habit is to block aside time on your calendar weekly. Like any habit, it is far less likely to actually happen if it’s not given its spot on our agenda.
- Second, choose two things that you want to prepare during the first week. You’ll have plenty of time to prepare more and more as you get more adept with your food prep, but for this week, just choose two things.
- Third, actually do it! Put on some music or a podcast to make it fun, and try to minimize any other distractions. Commit to staying in the kitchen until your preparation is done. I like having a written plan or a list of what I’m going to prepare, and then I get all of my ingredients, recipes, cutting boards, and tools out and ready before I begin. Chefs call this technique “mise en place,” which means “putting in place.”
- Finally, once you’re done preparing, package everything up in glass containers or Tupperwares. You want to have easy access to the meals you’ve prepared during the week, to ensure that you actually use the fruits of your labor!
If you have kids, I highly recommend posting a meal list at the beginning of each week. My clients who post a meal list are so grateful to not have to deal with the nagging daily (or hourly!) questions. Not only can the questions get old after a while, but if you don’t yet know what you’ll be preparing for dinner, they can also stress you out! Once you have a posted meal list, you can simply tell your child to “look at the menu” and go on with your life. The kids look forward to it, too!
(Psst … next month’s Lyons’ Share newsletter will have a free download of my Lyons’ Share meal planning template, so sign up for my newsletter if you want it!)
So, what will you prepare for your first week? Remember, start slowly. Choose only two things to prepare this week, and you can build on as you become more comfortable. How about preparing some Grab-and-Go Egg Muffins for breakfast, or a batch of Warm-Me-Up Chicken Quinoa Soup for dinners? I always include veggie packs in my weekend food prep, too, and try to prepare some type of protein (cooked beans or baked chicken breasts are some of my favorites)!
So tell me in the comments … Do you do weekend food prep? Which two items will you prepare this week?