Updated: Dec 13, 2020
As a busy mom, I like to plan my meals in advance. I must maintain a system so that I am not constantly worrying about what is for dinner day by day. Although I have always enjoyed cooking, I never had to cook as much as I do now in this COVID era. I even consider meal planning as a form of self-care, it saves time and stress so you can focus on other important things in your life. For tips on why self-care is important, please head over to an article written by my friend Sabrina titled, "Why Self-Care is Important for Busy Women and Would-be Entrepreneurs". She understands the importance of self-care and can help you cultivate a vibe that will ultimately lead to a stress free lifestyle.
Before I started meal planning, I thought it was somewhat a waste of time until I sat down and mapped it out for myself and much to my surprise, it has been helping me save tonssss of time in my schedule. In order to begin the journey of meal prepping and meal planning there are a few things you might need to help you along the way.
What you might need to help you start: - Markers - Foil - Ziploc Bags - Meal prep food containers - Small notebook
Planning takes time, so usually my husband and I will get together on Friday night and just talk briefly on what we would like to eat throughout the week. Based off our conversation, I will make a quick grocery list and write down the meals at the end of my list so I can keep track of what I am trying to make.
I am not the type of person to make all my meals in advance. I would rather prep my meals in advance… let me explain. After grocery shopping, if I purchase chicken breast, chicken wings and ground beef for tacos and chili, I like to clean and season my meat to make for quick meals – this is where the Ziploc bags come in handy. Once I chop up the needed veggies to go along with my meat of choice, I then will place those veggies (these are my peppers, onions, etc.) in with my seasoned meat in the plastic Ziploc bag and label it accordingly. If I have broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, etc., I will place them in a separate Ziploc bag next to the seasoned meat of choice.
As for starches, I typically like having fresh rice and potatoes, so if I make that in advance, I will make enough to last two days. I am Haitian, so I grew up on eating rice with almost every meal. My mom made rice often and when she did, it was hot and fresh! Although I do not have that much time on my hands, if I can cook batches to last at least two day, that is a win in my book.
Crockpot meals – I am not a big fan of crockpot meals unless it is a Pot Roast. Prepping for a Pot Roast is easy and cuts the time to make it significantly shorter since all the prep was done in advance. All you need to do is cut all your veggies and potatoes and throw it in a Ziploc bag. I also add salt, seasonings, and powdered gravy in the Ziploc bag to save on time as well.
Eat & Enjoy
My favorite part about all of this is eating the meal! After a long day of work (I work your basic 9-5), knowing that it is not going to take forever and a day to make dinner for my family. Also, if needed, my husband can go into the freezer and grab one of the bags and make dinner without our family enduring the torture of eating a meal made by dad. After dinner, use the meal prep food containers to store with the leftover you may have. This allows you the opportunity to quickly grab a container for lunch or even dinner the next day.
All in all, meal planning is:
1. Knowing what meals, you are going to make in advance
2. Seasoning your meats/protein/fish in advance and placing in Ziploc bags for the week
3. Cutting up your veggies in advance and placing in Ziploc bags for the week
4. Making rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, etc. in big batches as sides for your meals
I encourage everyone to take time out to meal plan, you do not have to be a mom to do it! I even consider meal planning as a part of self-care, because taking time to eat is taking care of your body. If you have any specific tips, please let me know, I am always open to hear new ideas.
Please do not forget to check out Sabrina's article titled, "Why Self-Care is Important for Busy Women and Would-be Entrepreneurs". Her article will remind you of the importance of self-care and give you practical tips on what you can do in your busy schedule to take care of YOU.