Here’s how to get into a Sunday meal prep routine
Whats the best way to get into a Sunday meal prep routine? Well, do it on Sundays! 🙂
Okay, aside from making a plan to do something about your meals on Sunday, there’s a few steps you need to follow so you can make the most of the time you have. Last week I talked about routines and motivation and today’s post follows on from that really nicely. You need to create a Sunday meal prep routine to be successful at this and today I’ll show you how.
Sunday Meal Prep Organisation
Your Sunday meal prep doesn’t start in the kitchen – well, not by starting to cook anyway. It starts with planning and organising so you know exactly what it is you need to do during the Sunday meal prep.
Step 1: Stocktake and meal plan
Its best to start with what you do have already in your cupboards. Especially if you have no idea what’s there! Have a look in the fridge, freezer and pantry and write down everything you have on hand. Then make a simple meal plan where you assign a protein (beef, chicken, fish, vegetarian, etc) to each night of the week. Then add a carb to it (rice, potatoes, quinoa, couscous, etc). Make sure you use the ingredients you already have on hand for the first few nights, only adding ingredients you need to buy later in the week.
Congratulations you’ve just created a basic meal plan. After that you can decide whether you want to get more complicated by adding recipes. For instance, if you’ve got chicken and quinoa listed for Monday night you might decide to find a recipe containing these two ingredients, like this one or this one. You might instead decide it’ll just be grilled chicken and boiled quinoa and you buy a bottle of sauce to go over the chicken. Whatever you like and whatever your skill level is what you put on your meal plan.
If you have the time, or want to expand your meal plan, you can plan breakfasts and lunches as well.
Step 2: Grocery list and shopping
Now you’ve got a meal plan, add everything you need to a grocery list. You can then go shopping on Sunday afternoon to have everything ready for the week ahead. Or just leave it until Monday because your first meal on your meal plan should be using ingredients you have at home anyway.
Step 3: Plan what to prepare ahead
After all that, it’s time to work out what you can prepare ahead. This can be as simple as chopping some ingredients and having them prepared for meals during the week, which is great for salad preparation.
Or it might mean you decide to pre-make a few meals. If you clicked on the second chicken and quinoa link above, you could cook the bake on Sunday night and reheat it on Monday for lunch or dinner.
Or you could just chop the veggies and have them ready to add to the other ingredients the night you cook it.
Now you’ve got the organisation out of the way, lets do the actual Sunday meal prep.
Sunday Meal Prep Cooking
Step 1: Do the preparation and cooking
Seeing as you have a plan of what you will prepare for each nights’ meal, now is the time to actually do the chopping and cooking.
In the photo at the top of this post I prepared fruit for breakfast during the week and chopped vegetables into different groups to use for different recipes on different nights. I also made pancakes ahead so I could freeze them and eat them for breakfasts at work over the course of the next two weeks. (Yes, I eat breakfast at my desk at work, but at least I still get an enjoyable meal!).
Take as long as you need during this time. It’s up to you how much you decide to prepare or cook. My advice though, if you’re just starting out, is that less is more.
Just chop some veggies and meat ahead, spending about 30 mins doing this. During the week you’ll see the benefit this provides and then want to repeat it the next week. The week after that you’ll try preparing more. Or you’ll start to cook something ahead and freeze it (like I do when I cook once eat twice). Just build up gradually as you get more skilled in the kitchen.
Step 2: Store your Sunday meal prep
After spending your time working hard you need to store your efforts properly. That means using:
- airtight plastic or glass boxes
- wrapping bowls or plates with plastic wrap
- using clip lock or zip lock bags
It also means you put some of your food in the fridge to be used over the next 2-3 days (see these tips for proper storage times).
And that’s it! The most successful Sunday meal prep starts by thinking ahead about what you want to prep then doing it and storing it. And how much you prep is up to you. But remember that whatever you do, big or small, gives you great rewards.
So, put in a little bit of effort this Sunday and by Wednesday you’ll be happier you did.