I’ve been meal prepping for a long time. I used to live alone and work 3 jobs so I had no time or motivation to lovingly create a healthy dinner each evening. However, when I have time to prepare such a meal I really do enjoy it.
My method of meal prep sort of happened by accident. Because meat and veg tend to come in family sized packets at the supermarket I would be forever buying food which would go off before I had the chance to use it. So I decided one day that instead of just cutting up the veg I need for that night that I would chop it all and freeze what I didn’t need. A great money saving tip, and it also saved time the next day I was cooking as I only had to defrost what I needed. Then I would freeze portions of meat that were dangerously close to their use by date and defrost them overnight when I wanted to use them. Then I got to thinking why don’t I just put them all in together and make a ready made meal?
So that is exactly what I did, and I must say, particularly since becoming a mum it really has been invaluable!
More recently I have begun to be much more intentional about this and think about meals I can make up to have a few times over the course of the month. We now tend only to do one ‘big shop’ per month and I prep and freeze the majority of this. Friends are always so interested when I tell them about this, so I decided that this month I would record everything properly and share it on here.
So here is what I did this month.
First of all I made a list of the meals we would eat over the course of the month – I did 28 in total.
Once I had made a list of what we wanted to eat, the next step was to list the ingredients required to make each meal.
Once I had the list of ingredients I needed to turn this into a shopping list. I have 2 tips for creating a shopping list:
- Shop your cupboards first. Go through your list of what you need and check if you already have some of them at home. This way you will avoid unnecessary expense and also avoid having cupboards full of lots of the same thing that you may not use before it’s best before date
- Arrange your shopping list into sections according to how your supermarket is laid out. For me that means veg first, then fridges, then shelves etc. This will make your trip to the shop a lot less stressful and I find faster and more efficient.
We shop at Lidl as we find it to be the cheapest. There are often a couple of things on the list that Lidl doesn’t stock and we can usually pick these up in Tesco or Sainsburys. For this shopping list I was able to get everything I needed with the exception of the Halloumi and Free From Pesto and the bill came to £107. Now I think that’s pretty good for a whole months worth of dinners for 2 adults and a toddler!
We still shop throughout the month, but generally it’s only for things like bread, lunch meat, fruit, milk and yogurts so there isn’t really much more expense for the rest of the month.
Once I get the shopping home I check the dates on things like meat and fish as this will dictate which meals must be prepped first. I usually try to do 2-3 meal types a day for the first couple of days. I have a look and see which meals have ingredients in common – for example there are a few meals with peppers and onions in the ingredients so I would chop all the peppers and onions at the one time and split up into each of the different meals.
I literally just chop the veg and then throw all the ingredients into a bag for the freezer. I’ll then take out the day before what we want for dinner the following evening. Most of my meals can either be cooked in the slow cooker or in one pot, so it really makes life much easier.
So that’s it! My secret to an easier, healthier, cheaper meal every night.
Hopefully you’ll find this helpful and maybe incorporate some of it into your routine. You can find more information about prepping specific meals in the highlights on my instagram account.