Meal Prep: Getting Started, Getting Faster

When you are first getting started with preparing your meals in advance for the week, the cooking process can seem really time-consuming and cumbersome. Usually, the first report that I get is that an entire miserable day was spent in the kitchen and it will never happen again. Here are some ways to stop the misery:

Write down a list of what you are preparing.

Your list does not have to include complete and perfect meals. Don’t make this part of the process too precious. You just need to know what you are planning to end up with when your kitchen time is done. If you are not sure what to cook, start with the basics that you know you and anyone else you are cooking for will consume in a week. Do not feel like you need to try 12 new recipes in the same week.

Make sure your list makes sense.

Are you planning to cook rice, quinoa, and pasta? Could you simplify your plan and just cook one of those three for the week? Are there any vegetables on your list? Have you planned something for your personal pain point, whether that is breakfast, snacks, dinners, or whatever it might be?

Number your list.

Three steps in and we haven’t even gone into the kitchen yet! Start your numbering with the task that needs the longest cook time. For me, this is dried beans or lentils, and anything that needs to go in the oven. Keep numbering in order of descending cook time (not prep time). 

Clear your workspace.

If your kitchen stays spotless all by itself, you can go on to step five. Otherwise, make sure you have a space to work and that the pots and other cooking vessels you need are clean and ready to go.

Get cooking!

Follow your ordered list, and keep an eye on the clock. If you find you’ve bitten off more then you can chew for this week’s meal prep (harharhar), feel free to wrap up early! Thanks to your master strategies, the things that would take too long to cook during the week are already cooking, and anything that’s left over to make can probably get done when you have other free time. 
Give these tips a shot and let me know how it goes! I try to always post my meal preps here in the order that I cook, along with the rough amount of time that everything takes me. Granted, I have been cooking ahead for a while, but I am able to get myself set up with a whole week’s worth of food in 90 minutes of kitchen time. If I only focus on my pain points, I can be done in about 45 minutes.

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