I received a message earlier this week that asked about maintaining motivation for meal prep. And it’s something I struggle BIG TIME with. I definitely do not always look forward to meal prepping on the weekends, as it takes up a big chunk of time I could be using to study or see friends / family, read a book, watch a movie – you get the picture. So in addition to answering this question, I’ve compiled some of my most frequently asked meal prep questions below. If you have additional ones, please leave them in the comments and I’ll add to the post!!
How do you maintain motivation to meal prep?
It really just comes down to what I want to spend my money on. I try to spend as few dollars as possible from M-F for food. As a general rule, I never eat out during the week and I save it entirely for weekends as a chance to go on a date or see my girlfriends / family. Eating out means: less money to spend on the weekends with friends, poor food choices in hospital cafeterias, making choices that don’t support optimal brain health, etc. etc. etc. So while I really loathe doing it, the end product is just so worth it for me. I also spend an absurd amount of money on rent so I’m forced to really crack down on the food budget. Also, bring soap with you to work to clean out Tupperware!! One less thing to do when you get home.
A few more tips:
- look at your favorite blogs / Pinterest throughout the week and jot down things that may sound appetizing so you’re not doing the majority of meal prep in one day
- start prepping on saturday night (chop veggies, soak nuts/legumes, bake something and store it in the freezer) and finish up Sunday morning. Breaking it up into two sessions is. far more tolerable than doing evrtying in one go
- clean as you go!!! the worse feeling is having a horrifically trashed kitchen at the end and makes you associate the entire process with a negative lens
- get something yummy for the freezer for Wed or Thursday night when you’re starting to get really sick of the same things over and over again. I go for TJs cauliflower gnocchi or you can get a frozen meal subscription and have one meal per week to save money!
- keep eggs and leftover veggies in the fridge for brinner situations when you again start to loathe when you made come mid-week. Takes 15 minutes and adds variety to pre-existing meals.
- Plan before you begin
- If you have an idea in mind, things go much smoother.
- Choose recipes wisely
- Aim for similar baking temperatures so you can bake a few at the same time.
- Pick a few with different cooking modalities (in the oven, on the stove top, in a crockpot/pressure cooker) so you can have them all going at the same time.
- Use baking sheets
- Place them on pans / in tins to avoid tons of time spent scrubbing at the end.
- Utilize the freezer!
- If you have extra of a certain meal, store some in the freezer so you don’t have as much to make in upcoming weeks!
How long does food last?
food will last me usually until around Thursday-Friday. I will then make something frozen (cauliflower rice with beans/corn and hot sauce or cauliflower gnocchi with butter, garlic, lemon and an egg) for Thursday night and leftover for Friday morning. Or I’ll make smoothies / an egg bake for dinner with leftover veggies. Whenever I buy a bag of spinach/kale and use it for the recipe I always save half of it for extraneous salads and stir fry’s throughout the week.
What do you store your food in?
I usually use a big bag like this. You can buy these on Amazon or in store at Whole Foods. These are insulated so I don’t usually use ice packs. Most rotations have a fridge I can store things in so I don’t have to worry about that as much.
Do you microwave your food?
I unfortunately don’t live a life where I can heat things over the stove top and I am usually forced to use a microwave while at work or on campus (sigh). Or I’ll make things that don’t need re-heating: chia seed pudding, overnight oats, smoothies. In total transparency I’m usually so busy on rotations that I eat things cold or in my car. Such is the life of a student.
How much money do you spend on food per week?
When I plan meticulously I end up spending around $70 a week on food. This includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for the whole week WITHOUT eating out. I do the majority of my produce shopping at Trader Joe’s as it tends to be cheaper, and then I’ll get novelty items at Whole Foods or a farmer’s market. I also love shopping at Brandless for cheap bulk items (toilet paper, paper towels, almond flour, tahini etc).
My food related discount codes:
- Thrive Market also has amazing deals on cool new brands like Cocokind, Simple Mills, Birchbenders, etc!!! You can get 25% off your first order + Free 30 day trial using this link.
- Misfits Market has great deals on produce. The concept is to send you the produce that is “ugly” or overlooked for a discounted price. Code lemons25 for 25% off your first box.
- If you’re looking for deals on meat co-ops, I use Grass Roots Farmers’ Co-op. $30 off your first box of $150+ using code KLEMONS at checkout.
- For vegan prepared meals: Purple Carrot – click here and using this link gets you a $30 off your first order!