Are you interested in meal prepping but not sure where you'll find the time in your busy schedule? Check out these helpful tips on How to Make Time to Meal Prep at Home.
Photo Credit: Chris Holloman for Prep-Ahead meals from Scratch
If you are looking for ways to make the most of your time when you are at home, you may have considered meal prepping and batch cooking. When you first started looking into it, you may have been intimidated by the concept and thought it would just take up too much time to plan, prepare, and make your meals for the week. However, it actually takes less time than cooking individual meals from the beginning each night. In most cases, it takes less time to meal prep than it does for a pizza to get to your house!
Here are some helpful tips on How to Make Time to Meal Prep at Home even if you don't think you have a lot of extra time to spare. By taking these simple steps, you will save yourself time and money on meals for the week.
How to Make Time to Meal Prep at Home
Batch cook while you do something else. I often will batch cook all of my protein and grains on a day that I have other things going on at home and can do it while my appliances cook. You can really accomplish a lot in the span of a couple of hours while your food cooks itself such as deep cleaning, cleaning out my email, doing yard work, running errands (if you are using a slow cooker), making all those important phone calls you need to, and even making time to spend with your family and friends. Make batch cooking pull double duty! You can also find batch cooking video tutorials demonstrating a variety of batch cooking techniques here.
Schedule it in. The truth is, we often don't prioritize things we don't actually schedule into our days. Look at your schedule and truly be honest with yourself; do you spend a lot of time browsing Facebook or maybe staying up late on your phone playing around? These are things that could be moved around in order to make time for batch cooking or meal prep. Meal prep doesn't even have to take much time, even. It can often be done in as little as an hour a week of kitchen time.
Pick simple recipes. The simpler the better when it comes to saving time. Get out of the mindset that says dinner has to be a big show. A simple dinner of ham and spinach quesadillas and a garden salad is still dinner! Casseroles and soups also lend themselves to batch cooking and meal prep and are easy to throw together. Need easy recipes that are easy to use with meal prepping in advance? Check out my cookbook Prep-Ahead Meals from Scratch.
Have a recipe master list. When you first start, make a master recipe list with all of your family's favorites. Notice what meals use similar ingredients and group them together for later shopping. This also makes it easy to pick recipes for the week without having to think much about it.
Use grocery master lists and shop smart. Once you have your recipes grouped together, you can make master grocery lists to go with them. Make sure to also include a list of the bulk items you want to always keep on hand so when you start running low, you know what to get. One way to save time at the grocery store is to group items on your list by way of where they are at in the store such as pantry items, meats, dairy, etc.