Meal Prepping 101


Thank you to Brother and the P-touch Cube for sponsoring this post. All opinions, as always, are 100% my own.

This blog post has been a long time coming. I’ve been promising a tutorial on how we meal prep for over a year, but my systems were so convoluted, that I didn’t know how to share them and have it all make sense. Then we went ahead and had a baby and everything got lost in the mix.

But finally, something magical happened… We started meal prepping again about a month ago, and I got a new label maker and new matching food containers. Everything else just clicked into place.

As of now we have our meal prep situation on lock, and I hope that this post inspires some of you to join me in my most time-saving activity of every week!

Why meal prep?

Meal prepping is game changing, money saving, and helps you to eat a healthier diet. When it’s done right, it makes a huge difference for me during the week when things can easily get overwhelming and stressful with work and the baby.

For example, after a long Wednesday (I have no child care on Wednesdays!), I’m often so tired that I give up and end up ordering in our dinner. The food usually doesn’t make me feel as good as if I had eaten something home-cooked, and the costs can seriously add up.

If I spend the time preparing the basics on a Sunday night, the task of cooking dinner after an exhausting Wednesday doesn’t seem so daunting after all. After I get the baby to bed, I can simply heat up brown rice with veggies and a protein and bam, dinner is ready in 10 minutes or less.

How long does it take?

On the day you’re prepping, it takes about two hours total. That might seem like a lot on a Sunday but on a weeknight when you come home from a tough day at work or finish up a long day with your kids, you’ll be so happy that you did it. If you split the work with a partner or roommate, it takes about an hour.

Of course, if you make bigger batches and less variety, this could be even shorter.

What do I do?

Make a list of what you’re feeling that week that consists of grain or veggie bases, vegetables, proteins, snacks and sauces. Figure out what you need to make all of them and create your grocery shopping list based on that. Then on Sunday afternoons, Monday nights, or whatever time works for you, block off 1.5-2 hours in your day and just make it happen.

What do I need?

Because I’m extremely organized and like to know where everything is with one quick glance, I like to keep all of the prepared food in the fridge super organized. Obviously you don’t have to go this crazy, but something about the uniformity of it all, makes me smile every time I open the fridge, so #worthit.

All you actually need is some sort of food containers (we do glass only) and some labels.

I just got a P-touch Cube, a brand new wireless label maker that syncs up to your phone with Bluetooth and it’s so awesome. Full disclosure, this is actually a sponsored post by P-touch Cube, but when they reached out to me about creating posts with this product, I freaked.

Anel and I both agreed that it was my dream collaboration. And if you liked this post, just wait for my next one on re-organizing our pantry… Can you tell I’m excited?!

Literally everything is done over Bluetooth so you can type everything out on the P-touch Design&Print app on your phone and pick from tons of fonts, symbols, and designs. The labels are water-resistant too, so I just pop the dirty containers into the dishwasher and don’t have to worry about the labels washing off.

I digress. Onto the food!

Label Maker

What do I cook?

Here are some examples of what you can make. I rotate what I cook every week so we don’t get sick of the same things over and over. These foods are some of our personal favorites but the sky is really the limit here.

Bases:
Brown rice
Quinoa
Chickpea pasta
Soba noodles
Sweet potato noodles/Zucchini noodles (uncooked)
Chopped romaine lettuce (uncooked)

Veggies:
Carrots (uncooked for snacking)
Sautéed spinach
Sautéed broccoli rabe
Steamed broccoli
Roasted Brussels sprouts
Roasted root vegetables

Proteins:
Grilled/baked chicken
Grilled/sautéed shrimp
Sautéed grass-fed ground beef
Grilled/ sautéed chicken sausage
Sautéed white beans
Meatballs

Sauces:
Hummus (for snacking)- usually store-bought TBH
Pesto
Peanut sauce
Tomato sauce
Salad dressing

For the Baby:

I make her food day-by-day but often use components found in this prep. She loves mashed up sweet potatoes and other root veggies, so I’ll pop whatever I make for us into her baby food processor or just chop it up really finely. I’ll do the same for meat and other veggies too! She’s obsessed with hummus and pesto so I’ll mix those in for some variety.

Ok that’s it! Any questions? Comments? What do you like to cook when you meal prep?

Veggie Noodles

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Comments

  1. BeaJG said:

    I need that label maker in my life!!!!

    3.7.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Truly life changing LOL

      3.7.18 · Reply
  2. Ryann Carter said:

    I did Whole30 for 4 days and ended up crashing, but my one positive takeaway was the benefit of meal prep! I have been too busy to get my act together and do it since, but it made life so much better. I need to prioritize that! Thanks for the suggestions!
    http://www.holycitylife.com

    3.7.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Even if you just prep your bases it makes a huge difference! It doesn’t have to be a big thing, you know?

      3.7.18 · Reply
  3. Justina said:

    I go through phases where I’m really good with meal prepping and it’s great. Then I have a busy weekend and it falls apart. I recently realized I was eating very poorly because of a super busy schedule, so I took some time to prep healthy meals and felt so much better.

    I’m really looking forward to the pantry organization post! March 12th will make a year of living in my apartment and I still haven’t gotten a lock on my pantry.

    3.7.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      What’s great about it is you can start over the following week no matter what! Or do it on Monday nights if your weekend is super busy.

      I’m so excited about the pantry post, you have no idea haha

      3.7.18 · Reply
  4. Alex said:

    Do you cook the pasta and then store it in the fridge?

    3.7.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I do! I mix it with olive oil so that it doesn’t get dry.

      3.7.18 · Reply
  5. Amy said:

    I’m so envious of your label maker sponsorship. Ha! I have a post scheduled tomorrow about my Sunday meal prep and have shared my pantry organization (I may be slightly OCD about my routine), but OMG a collaboration with a label maker is my dream! Love your tips!

    3.7.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Literally my dream too! We’re such dorks (in the best way possible)!

      3.7.18 · Reply
  6. Lisa said:

    I know that you don’t mean anything by it and in fact I also use the phrase colloquially and is something I need to work on, and you could say that I’m being too sensitive, but as our society tries to combat misperceptions about mental illness/mental health, perhaps using OCD in this way is not the best idea. I love your blog and how open you are about your own struggles with anxiety, so this is just some food for thought.

    3.7.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      You know that is such a good point. I actually do have an anxiety disorder that’s tied into an obsessive need for control/cleanliness but I talk about it as if it’s a normalized thing and I really shouldn’t. Thank you so much for bringing that up!

      3.7.18 · Reply
  7. Allie said:

    Do you have any go to dressing recipes? Also, what’s your favorite spiralizer? I’m really I retested in making veggie pasta! xAllie http://www.theallthatglittersblog.com

    3.7.18 · Reply
  8. Taylor said:

    JULIA. I have been waiting patiently for so long, even thinking about Dming you several times but decided I didn’t want to be a pest! So happy to have this, bookmarking it!!!! Also I neeeeed this label maker in my life as well!

    3.7.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Hahah you would never be a pest! DM me anytime lady 🙂 But so glad you love the post xo

      3.7.18 · Reply
  9. Clare said:

    I love my older P-touch, but this is too cool. Thanks for sharing.
    Question — are you purchasing specific waterproof labels? Would love a link!

    3.7.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      All of their labels are waterproof which is great so you don’t need any specific one!

      3.7.18 · Reply
  10. Amanda said:

    Thanks for sharing! What food storage containers do you use and does your food really stay “good” all week (or atleast until Thursday night)- I feel like you have to have the right container to ensure that happens?! I appreciate your help & love you Instagram and blog!

    3.7.18 · Reply
    • Vickie said:

      I’m also really curious about how long the prepared food lasts. Do you ever end up having to throw stuff out? I feel like every time I try meal prep, I end up having to chuck out a lot of food in the end bc I don’t want to eat stuff that’s been sitting there a week. Do you have a method for making sure you don’t over-do the amounts? And how long does it last in the fridge?

      3.10.18 · Reply
  11. I agree! Meal prepping on the weekends helps me eat healthier and I spend less money on food at the grocery store!

    3.8.18 · Reply
  12. Monica said:

    Love this post. I love my brother labeler too! I have an older one, think it is time for me to upgrade. who knew they made one that syncs to Bluetooth and have water resistant labels?!

    3.9.18 · Reply
  13. Amanda said:

    Loved this post! I want to get into meal prepping (with a sarcastic eye roll from my husband) but do you actually cook most of your items when you prep or are they raw? Curious if you’re cooking your prep ingredients on the stove or just heating heating them up in the microwave? Can we get a Part 2 on meal prep on how you use your ingredients?

    3.9.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      So I pre-cook everything and then I heat them up on the stove because we try to avoid the microwave. I mix and match them in a pan! Great idea for a follow up post.

      3.10.18 · Reply
      • Amanda said:

        We don’t have a microwave so I was really curious. would love to see the follow-up post!

        3.11.18 · Reply
  14. Evelina Snell said:

    I’ve learned that prepping right after going to the market works best for me. It does take planning but it is so worth it! For me, if veggies go into the fridge not prepped they never end up being eaten! I usually meal prep twice a week and it usually only takes an hour. FYI – I buy the zucchini spirals at Trader Joe’s. They are frozen and inexpensive and always on hand when I need them! Great post today! Thank you

    3.10.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Good to know about the frozen zucchini spirals, I didn’t even know that existed! I’m def going to pick sup up thank you 🙂

      3.11.18 · Reply
  15. Lindsey said:

    Love this! I’m inspired to try myself. I agree, glass containers are SO much more appealing than plastic. I always end up with a bunch of mismatched colors though I love the way they look in your fridge when they are all the same, but I need so many different sizes and I can never get all the sizes in the same color. . . What are yours? Also, the veggie noodles, what noodle maker did you use?

    3.10.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Yes changing out my tupperware was kind of life changing. It makes me so happy to have them all match! The brand I like is OXO. I got these at Bed Bath and Beyond but they also have them on Amazon. For the veggie noodles I either buy them pre-made or use the Inspiralizer.

      3.11.18 · Reply
  16. Hatton said:

    This post inspired me to meal plan this week and make zoodles for the first time! Love your blog!!

    3.11.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Yay so happy to hear that! I hope it goes well for you Hatton 🙂

      3.11.18 · Reply
  17. Nancy said:

    OCD is a potentially debilitating, serious, life altering condition – wanting to utilize uniform containers and having an organized fridge is not really “OCD”. I understand you didn’t mean it literally in this specific context but it’s frustrating to see this over and over again.

    3.13.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      You are 100% correct. I am going to update my wording now. I certainly didn’t mean to be insensitive, especially as someone who suffers from extreme anxiety. I know how debilitating conditions like OCD can be.

      3.13.18 · Reply
      • Nancy said:

        I’m with you, girl! Much appreciated.

        3.13.18 · Reply
  18. Katie Keating said:

    Can you peel the stickers off orate they on permanently? I love this idea

    5.25.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Yes you can peel them right off!

      5.25.18 · Reply