Find Your Meal Prep Time Limits
Some people can cook 20 meals in a day and feel like champions, while that would personally exhaust me! I find that cooking and cleaning for 3 dinner & lunch recipes (2 servings per person, so 12 meals) and 1 batch breakfast recipe typically takes me between 1-1.5hours depending on what recipes I pick. That’s about my threshold… anything more than that and I feel pretty tired afterwards. It’s also easier to commit to meal prep on the weekend when it just takes an hour or two.
Figure Out Your Freshness Tolerance
I personally prefer to eat food within 4 days of cooking it, so I don’t want to eat food on Friday that I prepped the previous weekend. That’s why I cook twice a week. The weekend meal prep carries me through the first half of the week and then I throw something in the crockpot Thursday morning or make a quick weeknight meal. You can also freeze some of the meals on your prep day and then pull them out to thaw overnight on Wednesday or Thursday for the second half of the week. Totally up to you on how often you want to cook and how often you’ll be eating out. I used to be totally against eating frozen food because I thought it tasted terrible but we’ve discovered some pretty amazing freezer-friendly foods that have changed my mind.
Strategically Pick Recipes Together Based On Cooking Methods
It’s easier to cook multiple recipes at the same time if they use certain cooking methods. One strategy I like to use is have 1 oven recipe, 1 crockpot recipe, and 1 stovetop recipe. I start with the slow cooker one, then throw something in the oven, then make the stovetop recipe while the other two are cooking. This depends on how big of a batch you’re making of each recipe and if you have an extra slow cooker, toaster oven etc. Just test a few things that work for your kitchen and how many people are doing the prep. If you pick 4 stovetop recipes… that might be a recipe for chaos to try and cook all at the same time or take you forever to cook them sequentially.
You can filter recipes in our library based on the cook method to do your smart pairing!
Split Up The Grocery Shopping & Cooking
If you order groceries online (with a service like Instacart) or pick up groceries the day before meal prepping then it helps break it up. If you spend 30 minutes running around the grocery store right before meal prepping then the whole process can feel a little longer and exhausting.
Double the Servings & Freeze
Most slow cooker recipes freeze great so I’ll often double the number of servings so I can freeze half. Then I have back up meals for crazy weeks where I’m out of town on the weekend and don’t have any time to prep. Just write the freeze date on the bag and even keep a list somewhere of your freezer backup meals if you tend to forget what you have in stock.
Having someone else help out definitely makes it more fun but that’s not always an option. Do whatever it takes to make meal prep more fun and doable for you. Throw on a TV show while you prep, pour some bubbly for a mimosa, blast some tunes, whatever helps! Create a meal prep experience that feels productive, satisfying…and maybe even a little fun.
What are your favorite ways to make meal prep fun or more efficient? Drop a comment below and share your tips and tricks!