Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Menu Prepping for the Week

Hey there!

Derek & I are a really busy family of 2. It can be hard to find time to hang out together and when we are lucky enough to spend some time together, the last thing either of us wants to be doing is spending the entire night prepping a meal, washing dishes, prepping lunches for the next day, etc...and let's be honest, when I say "us" and "we", I mean ME :)

I've been making the effort to get more organized on the weekend, so that our weeknight meal and lunch prep can be quick and easy. Not only does it take the pressure off during the week, but it also helps us to stay on course and eat heathy nutritious meals instead of picking up pizza and fast food.

I've said it before and I'll say it again....


Menu planning really isn't that hard to do....in fact, I've talked about it on the blog in the past and most weeks I do take time to make some sort of a plan with respect to our eats.

My meal planning process goes something like this:

1. Browse Flyers and Check the Pantry - We get our flyers on Thursday night. Sometime between Thursday evening and Saturday morning, I take a quick peek to see what's on special. I also take a peek in the fridge, freezer and pantry to see what we have on hand.

2.  Make a Menu - I then take half an hour Friday after work to jot down a menu. I aim to have enough on hand for 5 days' worth of meals, plus a few grab n go snacks.

3. Make a Grocery List - SO IMPORTANT!!! Make a list before you head out to the grocery store and stick to it. As you know, I have a really difficult time sticking to a grocery budget. I'm an impulsive buyer and my fridge and cupboards are packed full of food. Someday I may share a pic....but it's really embarassing --- especially when we often have the nerve to complain that there's nothing to eat!!

4. Buy your Groceries - Saturday mornings are typically when I run errands and do our grocery shopping. I take my list and go to the grocery store, farmers' market and about once a month I try to stop at the Bulk Barn.

5. Prep your Food  - Do you ever buy a ton of fruits and veggies only to have them sit in your crisper until they rot and need to be tossed? This used to happen to us all the time. Now, I make an effort to spend about an hour a week prepping my food, so that we can just grab and go. I chop veggies, cook up rice or quinoa, do up some hard-boiled eggs for Derek, marinate tofu for myself and do any other preparation that's needed for the week. I then store everything in bags or Tupperware containers in the fridge for ease of access all week long.

Planning saves time, money and waste.

This week, I went a little crazy on Sunday and did a whole bunch of prep work. It took me closer to 2 hours to do, but then it literally took me 5 minutes to pack both of our lunches this morning and that makes me one happy girl.

Prep your veggies for soups, salads, stews or just to eat raw throughout the week.

Prep a large quantity of rice or quinoa to add to salads, soups, wraps, stirfries, etc.

Marinated salads are great to make ahead and enjoy all week long.

I store everything in Tupperware and in mason jars in the refrigerator. 

On Sunday, I prepared:

- BBQ crockpot chicken for Derek (for Sunday dinner & another meal of leftovers)
- Brittany's Garlicky Kale Salad
- a Quinoa/Bulger Mix
- Chopped a Watermelon
- Hard Boiled Eggs
- Shredded Zucchini for Oatmeals, Scrambles & Muffins

Here's a peek at what my menu plan looks like this week:

- Cereal & Milk
- Slow Cooker Steel Cut Oats
- Egg/Veggie Scrambles

- Salad Plates (could include: garlicky kale, bean salad, lettuce salad, cottage cheese, pickled beets)
- Hard Boiled Eggs (for Derek)
- Greek Yogourt
- Shredded BBQ Chicken or Tuna Sandwiches (for Derek)
- Chickpea Salad Sandwiches (for me)

- Brown Mini Rice Cakes
- Chopped Watermelon
- Greek Yogourt
- Zucchini Muffins

- BBQ Crockpot Chicken & Veggies (for Derek)
- Sweet Potato Rounds with a Kale/Quinoa/Lentil Mix
- Toasted Tomato Sandwiches with Butternut Squash Fries
- Leftovers (once)
- Homemade Pot Pies (beef for Derek and veggie for me) with Roasted Brussel Sprouts
- Homemade Veggie Noodle Soup and Cheesy Italian Bread

See how many healthy, hearty meals you can whip together in just a matter of a few minutes!

What is your favourite mid-week dinner?

Have a great Tuesday and I'll see you tomorrow with my latest & greatest What I Ate Wednesday post,


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