E and I started meal prepping on Sundays because we needed to find a way to cook efficiently after going back to work after our parental leaves. Coming home and cooking during the week would take away our precious few moments with our baby Q, so meal prep helped save time. We also wanted to make sure we ate healthy, and wanted to save some money since we now had more bills around the baby.
Our Sundays are now centered around shopping and cooking. Which really is no different than Sundays before Q, but now our day is better organized. We don’t wander the grocery store aisles aimlessly. We don’t toss overpriced and unnecessary grocery items into our cart, or spend a half hour debating whether to get fish or streak for dinner. We don’t stop off at the gourmet shop down the street for artisanal cheese and half dozen other things we forgot at the grocery store just a few minutes earlier because we have a list and a plan.We go in focused, leave within an hour, and spend at least $50 to $100 less than we would have if we were shopping without a list. We have more time at home together to cook on Sundays, and more time during the week to just eat, play with baby, and cuddle—I think I just outlined the meaning of life right there.
Many of our sandwiches are super easy to meal prep for the week. Anything made in a slow cooker, like our #254, the pulled pork pita gyro sandwich, our pulled chicken sliders, or our slow cooker brisket sandwich, are amazing meal prep options.
Our meatballs are also fantastic. I do love sandwich #138, our lamb meatball sandwiches with creamy yogurt sauce served up in pitas. Or sandwich #188, an Italian meatball served on a sub roll that makes a seriously hearty lunch, or a lighter version of #188 in these turkey meatballs. We also tried this recipe from William-Sonoma, which we loved because broiling the meatballs gave them a fun charred texture. We paired them with brown rice and roasted carrots, and had two days’ worth of meals from one batch. That left me hours freed up to snuggle with my little girl. And do laundry. And clean her room. And shop for clothes and toys… okay, it left me more minutes to snuggle with Q. A mommy’s work is never done.
Interested in meal prepping? Here’s some tips to get you started.
- Buy a uniform set of Tupperware or Glad plasticware. It’s easier to organize six of the same containers than those disparate takeout containers you’ve saved from regular Seamless orders.
- Pick two days to cook each week. It’s ideal to dedicate, say Sunday to cooking all meals for the week, but meat based meals only last 3-4 days, and you’ll be bored of eating what you cooked on Sunday by Tuesday anyway. If you pick, say Sunday and Wednesday to meal prep, you’ll have enough food and variety to keep you satisfied.
- Go vegetarian. Vegetarian dishes keep longer than meat based ones. Soups, grain bowls, even veggie wraps are great meal prep dishes.
- If you’re meal prepping our sandwiches, pack the bread separate from the meat and fillings, and assemble when you’re ready to eat. This prevents against soggy bread and will help the sandwich toppings warm up evenly and fast.
- You can meal prep breakfast, too. Overnight oats are a great option, as are frozen breakfast sandwiches you can reheat and eat. I like making steel cut oats for the week on Monday morning, and reheating what I need for each serving during the week.