1. Make a list of dinners for the week. They should be easy and ones that you cook often so it is not overwhelming.
2. Pick dishes with ingredients that you can prepare once and use multiple times. For example, mushrooms cooked once can be used again for scramble eggs, tofu, salads, sandwiches, veggie patties etc.
3. Invest in good quality containers. Start with whatever you have and gradually invest in changing them into glass.
4. Organise your spice cabinet. Have lots of different spices available on hand. You can gradually build that up, getting 1-2 each time you shop. Arrange them in your drawer in groups for different meal themes like Asian, Herbs, your local cuisine etc.
5. Cook in batches! Either schedule 1-2 hours at the beginning of the week, ideally after shopping, or you can do it once you cook your first dinner of the week (that is what I end up doing very often). You can use all your prepped produce to assemble quick meals like salads, soups, bowls, vegetables, tofu, scrambled eggs, omelettes and much more.
- When you’re waiting for a pan to heat up or water to boil, chop extra veggies and either fry them lightly or bake them (almost any vegetable can be done in this way).
- Cook more grains than you would use for one meal, for example brown rice, black rice quinoa, buckwheat, millet, etc. and store them for later use.
- Pre-fry or just chop and marinate your meats or tofu and store ready in the fridge.
- Cut your fresh veggies for salads and snacking like carrot, celery or cucumber sticks (it can easily last a couple of days).
- Roast chickpeas in the oven (drain, cover with olive oil add any spices and put into the oven till lightly browned).
- Make egg or tuna salad that you could use as a snack on top of cucumber slices for example.
- Make sweet snacks to have on hand like chia pudding and protein balls.
- Pre- cook broth, bone or veggie, to have it on hand when you want to assemble a quick soup with veggies, tofu, or chicken (you can use the prepped, fried, that you have already in the fridge:), pre-cooked grains or anything else.
- Boil eggs and store them ready to use in the fridge.
6. Use a pressure cooker to make your stock, soups or curries. You just put everything together and let it cook. You do not have to attend to it much.
7. Prep your smoothies. If you are like me, a Summer smoothie lover, portion your smoothie ingredients, like vegetables and fruit and freeze them. When you need it, just take out the daily portion, add liquid and any powders or seeds (hemp protein, chia, flax seed, maca, baobab, spirulina, chlorella and anything else you like to add) blitz it, and you are ready to go.
8. Sheet pan dinner. I love this concept. Put any chopped and sectioned veggies, meat, fish, tofu combination on a tray and bake in the oven. If different ingredients need different baking time keep adding whatever requires less time later.
9. Make meal prepping fun.
- involve family members to prep with you, smaller kids love it, not so sure about teenagers hahah
- use this as your quiet time, focus on the action of chopping and arranging, be present with it. It will be like meditation for you if you focus just on that. Chopping can be very therapeutic, relaxing, and cleansing for the mind
- play your favourite songs dance and sing as you chop
10. If all else fails, make sure to keep some ready meals in your freezer (if I cook too much and I know we won’t eat it the next day I just transfer it to the freezer for one of those emergency days).