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Hi. I'm Sara!

I am extremely passionate about all things health - while not letting it take over your life.  I love efficient workouts, easy healthy meal ideas and all kinds of tips and tricks to help you become a stronger version of yourself

Hope you stick around for a while & check out all the good stuff!

Top Meal Prep Hacks to Save You Time

Top Meal Prep Hacks to Save You Time

My current to-do list looks a little something like this:

  • Work 8-10 hours a day [because career]

  • Spend extra time on side hustle [#passionproject]

  • Exercise [for the bod]

  • Meditate/journal [for the mind]

  • Spend time with the husband [because #married] and the pups [#family]

  • Eat well balanced home cooked meals full of veggies and micro nutrients [because #health]

So how’s a girl to get it all done?  I try to save time where I can, and for me that means meal planning and meal prep.  If you've never done it, meal prep can be kind of overwhelming. What do I make, and how much, and how long does it take?  Do I have to spend my whole weekend cooking?  [Girl. No.] Some weeks I am a basic grilled chicken, broccoli, sweet potato kind of girl. It goes in the oven and I can focus on other things. Sometimes a soup or stew is my jam. And sometimes I admittedly go Pinterest crazy and end up with every pot, pan, and dish dirty and covering the counter only to be found muttering to myself in the middle of the kitchen, “I HATE COOKING FOOD.”

For the record I love cooking food. I love eating food. But with my busy schedule cooking every single night is not a possibility so here are all my tried and true meal prep hacks rolled up into one super long post. Enjoy.

 Cooked quinoa, slow cooked chicken, and veggies for salad.

Cooked quinoa, slow cooked chicken, and veggies for salad.

Have a list of go-to meals

It's easier to chose an option from an existing list than come up with a fresh idea out of thin air.  If you find yourself spending too much time every week wondering,  "What the heck am I going to make?" do yourself a favor and put together a list.  Meals you [and/or your partner, family, kids etc] know you love, are healthy, and don't take a long time to make.  Keep all our favorite recipes bookmarked in one place so they are easy to find.  Better yet keep a Pinterest board of breakfasts, lunches and dinners.  And no I'm not talking dream meals that take hours to make.

Pick meals that are actually easy & within your skill level.

I know the viral videos from Tasty look easy to make - but we all know how something easy on the internet can turn into a Pinterest fail.  When looking for recipes, I usually search foodie blogs and make sure to read the comments section to see if there are any red flags that stand out.  

Pay attention to the time it will take to prep a recipe, not just the cooking part.  A few years ago, I thought it would be super fun to make homemade english muffins.  Spoiler alert, those puppies take about two days start to finish because they need to rest/rise so many times.  Not exactly the best use of my time. 

One pot {or pan, or dish} - Anything that is made in one dish that takes literally minutes to go from fridge to table on a weeknight is my jam.  Lasagna, soups or chilis, or pasta with tons of veggies mixed in are just some dinner ideas that are popular in my house.  And when it comes to breakfast I will often make a quiche, frittata or baked oatmeal that I can slice up into enough pieces for the whole week.  

Set aside time to make a plan - before you hit the store!

Now that you've made your handy dandy list of meal ideas - pull out each recipe and make sure you either have, or are buying all the ingredients.  Even if you've made the recipe before or think you know it by heart - It never hurts to double check.  Bonus, when you get to the store you won't waste time wandering down every aisle.

Organize your grocery list

I keep my grocery list on the notes app of my phone.  There are probably more high tech ways to do this but notes app works for me.  The biggest time saver for me is writing my list in the order of the store.  Produce first, followed by bread, meats & proteins, misc items from the middle of the store {which I don't tend to get many of}, and then dairy.  It all depends how your local store is laid out but this saves me a ton of time. 

Cook once a week

It takes a little bit of planning to get it to come together - but the TIME it saves me the rest of the week is worth its weight in gold. Every week, usually on a Saturday, I pick one dinner, one lunch, and one or two snacks. [yes - no breakfast]  Depending on the time I have I might make 2 meals for dinner but usually one.  Why this rocks? Not only is the cooking done and off your mind, so are the dishes.

Streamline the process

This step takes a bit of organization but look at all the recipes you want to make for the week - and see where you can combine steps.  Chop all your veggies at once, roast or cook in the oven as many things as you can together. Likewise before you choose which meals you will make for the week think about the cooking process for each one of them. You don’t want to make everything in the oven - there won’t be enough space. If you can get a few things in the oven, a few on the stovetop, and maybe one in the crockpot, you can chop veggies and mix sauces while everything else cooks.

 Spicy lentil salad, roasted sweet potatoes, and stuffed peppers.

Spicy lentil salad, roasted sweet potatoes, and stuffed peppers.

Semi-home made is ok

If you are super pressed with time, look for things like pre-chopped or spiraled veggies, pre-cooked meats or side dishes.  Just be careful of processed items with added fats, sugars or preservatives.  Once in a while I will get a rotisserie chicken but not too often because of the higher fat content.  Or already made soups that just need added veggies.  Anywhere you can save a little time is key and there is nothing wrong with it.

Portion control and packaging

Nothing makes mornings easier than grabbing a container or two out of the fridge and heading to work.  I am a big fan of pyrex dishes in varying sizes, and mason jars for salads to keep lettuce from getting soggy.  If I know I want smoothies every morning, I portion out fruit and veggies into grab-n-go baggies to toss into the freezer.  [This is also a good use of fruit or veggies that are on the verge of spoiling]. Point being — invest in the containers or packaging that will make the putting away just as easy as the cooking. It’s something people often overlook and then stress out over later. For example we used to only have

Make a double batch

Pro tip - do not commit to a double batch of anything until you have tried a regular recipe first and know you like it.  Not that I know from experience or anything...

BUT think about it.  You're already making a meal, say stuffed peppers.  How much longer is it going to take you to make eight peppers versus four.  A fraction of the time for double the meal.   Even better when it's something you can toss in the freezer for later. 

Any of these tips alone will start to save you time in your week.  All of these meal prep hacks together are going to change the way you think about meal prep for the better.  I hope you found this helpful and that using even one of these tips saved you some time so you can work on getting after your goals.

What are your top tips for making meal prep go smoothly and not take your entire weekend? If you’re looking for some meal ideas to get started check out this post with some of my favorite meals for summer.

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