Meal Prepping with Shanna
Shanna started her GOLO journey in November 2021 but she is no newbie to meal prepping. She has been meal-prepping for years and has fine-tuned her process to what works best for her. Read more about Shanna's meal-prepping process.
Why I Meal Prep:
Why do I meal prep? Well, the simple answer is habit. I used to work long hours with a long commute, so it was necessary.
Now that I work from home, the answer is that I value my downtime. And the better you meal prep, the more downtime you have. Prepping for 2-3 hours on a weekend allows me to have peace during the week
Another reason I meal prep is because it’s cheaper than going out to grab lunch and a whole lot healthier.
Lastly – it helps keep me on track. One of my favorite quotes is “Fail to plan, plan to fail”.
Meal prep advice:
My first piece of advice is do not get overwhelmed. Take it slow. If doing a double batch of just one recipe is what makes sense for you right now, do that, build up over time. My first venture into meal planning involved simply chopping up some fruits and veggies and throwing them in my bag with a frozen meal – I’ve come a long way, but it took time.
It helpful to know what keeps well, what doesn’t, and which tools are worth the money and which ones are just another “kitchen gadget”.
Keep a list and stick with it. Going to a grocery store with an organized list and meal plan will prevent you from overbuying.
Use an app like OurGroceries to stay organized.
If a salad contains lettuce, prepare and chop all of the ingredients except the lettuce. When it’s time to eat, simply add the ingredients on top of the lettuce.
If a meal calls for kale or spinach, take the time to pull off stems and wash everything to save time.
Cutting and cleaning extra produce so it’s available for dinners during the week is helpful.
Make extra servings and store them in small Ziplock bags. That way your items are already prepped and measured for next time.
Make a full batch (or double) of your favorite meals and freeze your extras. When you’ve got a busy day, you won’t waste time cooking.
Keep a small herb garden. I love having fresh herbs readily available for my meals. It’s less expensive and I find myself grabbing them to throw in dishes just for color. I have a brown thumb, so if I can water a $4 basil plant and keep it (mostly) alive, anyone can.
Get disposable Glad containers from Costco or Sams Club. They are good for on-the-go meals if you just want to recycle the container when you’re done but are microwave and dishwasher safe so you can reuse them if you want. They’re also perfect to send leftovers home with dinner guests. so you can reuse them.
Buy 1 pint glass bottles. They are great for storing sauces/marinades/dressings in the fridge for a week or two if you’re not adding them to the meals right away.
Get individual serving cups of mashed avocado, plain hummus, and guacamole that are GOLO friendly. Freeze what you don’t need right away so you have extra on hand.
You may think that you don’t have time to meal prep, but you have to eat. Which means you’re either doing all your cooking at once or little by little each day. Either way, you’re spending time in the kitchen. Try one meal the first few weeks, when that seems easy enough, move on to two meals, and so on.
I order precooked, clean chicken online from a company called The Chicken Pound. Getting chicken delivered saves a lot of time because it’s versatile and can be used in a lot of different meals.
My meal prep process:
A day or two before grocery shopping, I go through my recipe binder and pick out 3-4 meals.
Note, I’ve tailored all my recipes for 2 servings, so each thing I make, I only eat twice during the week.
With the recipes picked out, I go through each one and make a grocery list. However, before I head to the store, I ‘shop’ my freezer and pantry so I don’t overbuy. I also make a note of how much I need to buy of a specific item for each recipe.
All the cooking is done on Saturday and Sunday. I pull out my recipes, lay them out on the kitchen and ‘shop’ the fridge, freezer, and pantry for the ingredients I need.
I chop common ingredients in batches and set them aside as I go through my recipes.
Next, I make any sauces and dressings for each recipe and set them aside. I try to place foods and sauces next to their recipe sheet to stay organized.
Because GOLO advises you to carefully measure fats, proteins, and carbs, I make each serving in its own bowl. That way I know I get the key ingredients of each meal just right.
When a meal is prepped, I put it in its own storage container and try to clean up as I go.
Useful Kitchen Gadgets and Tools:
Air fryer: I have a Ninja Foodi, but there are lots of good air fryers available on the market. You can air fry while something else is on the stove to make your cooking more efficient.
Vegetable dicer/chopper: I have a Vadalia Chop Wizard, but any chopper will do. It makes dicing much easier and saves time.
Cutting boards and a good knife set: I recently upgraded to Ninja knives, but as long as your set has a variety of blades and you keep your knives sharp, you’re good to go.
An extra set of measuring cups and spoons: Having extra is a good idea in case you’re measuring a lot of different things at once.
Good storage containers. For vegetables I use “Debbie Meyer Green Containers”. They keep fruits/veggies fresh about twice as long as typical plastic containers.
To see more of how Shanna meal preps, follow her on Instagram - @zapslrcooks or click here.
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