Meal Prep Made Easy

Meal Prepping; The Stories
I don’t have time.
I don’t like eating the same thing all week.
I don’t know how.
I can’t afford it.
My family is too picky.

Meal Prepping; The Reality
You do and can.

The majority of what I eat is plant based and my family (we are a family of 3) still eats meat and/or dairy occasionally.
I value eating our meals together and although I do some preparing on Sunday nights, I enjoy cooking a little everyday. I’m busy just like the rest of everyone and it’s important to me to shop smart without compromising quality.

In 2.5 hours, with a 2 year old hanging on my legs (and asking for snacks, requesting water, pulling things out of my cupboards, and our dog Gunner attempting to counter-surf) I made the following:
Pico de Gallo
Black beans (1 lb)
Roasted Potatoes (3 lbs)
Lemony Broccoli
Green Beans with Dijon Vinaigrette (2 lbs total)
Green Beans with Sliced Garlic & Lemon
Ground Chicken Sausage (1 lb)
Chicken Breasts (1 lb)
*Not made but purchased/planned for: Pan-Seared Pepper Steaks (1 lb)

Everything mentioned: $45.67

Doing this provides us with enough staples that can easily be mixed & matched into all our meals (breakfast and lunch included) for (at least) the next 4 days.

Some of our meals include:

Field Roast sausages with sauerkraut, roasted potatoes and lemony broccoli
-Sear sausages

Burrito Bowls: Rice, black beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, peppers, and lettuce
-Chop veggies

Stir-Fry Bowls: chicken for them, beans for me with lemon-garlic green beans
-Sautéed broccoli slaw with homemade Asian dressing

Pepper Steaks with roasted potatoes and dijon green beans. I’ll eat a hash of potatoes, broccoli and peppers & onions with and an over-easy egg.
-Peppers & onions and an egg
-Pepper Steaks

The amount of cooking that needs to be done is 15 minutes tops and requires very few additional ingredients.
Scoping sales at the stores you frequent and creating a versatile menu leaves you with well rounded, budget friendly meals that cater to different ways of eating.
Keeping things simple and doing a bit of work in advance takes so much of the guesswork out. For anyone, especially families, doing so makes meal times more enjoyable and also easier to track.

Pro Tips:
Make your own sauces, salsas, spice blends and marinades as often as possible. Not only do they taste better, it reduces your sodium intake by hundred of milligrams.

Do some store research. I shop for my produce and bulk items (rice, oatmeal, beans, spices) at Sprouts, meat and dairy at King Soopers, pantry items at Trader Joe’s and specialty items at Whole Foods. This works for my family because each store is in a 2 mile radius of our home so I’m not spending a lot of time driving.

Want to try a new recipe but don’t know when you’ll use Chinese Five Spice again? Buy speciality spices in small quantities in the bulk section at Sprouts.

Find ways to use the same ingredient in several different dishes during the week. This typically saves money and doesn’t leave you feeling like you’re getting your bro-diet on.

Author: Ava Truckey, BIN Coach,