Many of our members had some awesome tips as well as some questions. Today I am going to wrap up the series by sharing those tips and answering the FAQs that were not answered in the previous posts.
Other posts in the series include Meal Plan Like A Boss, Meal Prep Like A Boss, Easy Slow Cooker Chicken, Hello Fresh Review, Sun Basket Review, Meal Kit Delivery Services – How Do They Compare and Who Are They For?
Meal Planning and Meal Prep – Reader Tips
1. Sit down when it’s quiet on Sunday and look at your schedule for the week. Check to see what food you have on hand and look at recipe books.
2. Plan easy and quick things to grill.
3. Alexa is awesome for the whole family to add to the shopping list throughout the week.
This is one I didn’t think of adding. We use Alexa all week to update our shopping list. When I’m making my master list all I have to do is look at my shopping list on my Alexa App or ask Alexa to read me the list.
4. Prepping the day of shopping saves so much time.
5. Plan multiple meals with common ingredients. Get the family involved with selection and prep. Make doubles and freeze one.
6. Creating a standard shopping list for certain meals saves so much time.
You could have a rotating menu with a shopping list ready to go. Just check to see what you have on hand and scratch those items off of your list before you head to the grocery store.
Get my free shopping list and weekly menu printable in my Meal Plan Like A Boss post!
7. Prep breakfast and lunch for the entire week.
8. Sunday Funday – Clean and cut all fruit and veggies. Prepare most sides and then you only have to cook lean meat during the week.
9. Cook chicken breasts in the crockpot with veggies. Use leftover chicken for another night.
10. Cut veggies and premix salad dressing on weekend.
11. Use crockpot a couple of times per week.
12. Use a meal kit delivery service. (This reader uses Hello Fresh every other week.)
13. Call your daughter-in-law and see what she is cooking. Get ideas from her.
LOL! I love this one. When all else fails, get some ideas from friends and family! 🙂
Meal Planning and Meal Prep FAQs
1. How do you keep your premade meat/meals/chicken from drying out?
I usually do not cook meat or entire meals ahead of time unless it’s a soup, stew, chili, or something that involves a sauce.
If I am cooking chicken ahead of time, I like using my Easy Slow Cooker Chicken recipe. You could also try using thighs instead of breasts. Thighs do not dry out like breasts do.
Make sure you are not overcooking your chicken. Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Let your chicken rest for 5 minutes before slicing. This will allow the juices to reabsorb into the meat.
Kevin, from Fit Men Cook, has some more tips in his Struggle Chicken video.
2. What kinds of meals make the best freezer meals? What are some easy freezer-friendly dishes?
My favorite freezer-friendly meals/dishes are soups, stews, chili, sauces, lasagna, and casseroles. These meals are easy to double. This allows you to have the meal when you make it, and freeze the rest for another time.
3. What are some meals that are good for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians?
My daughter Tricia is a vegetarian so I adapt meals for her whenever she comes to visit. I also asked her to help answer this question because she is married to a carnivore.
Here is my Tricia’s response:
“We really love Asian food. It’s one of the easiest things to customize based on preferences. I cook rice or noodles in our instant pot and make a big cast iron skillet full of sauteed veggies. Then, I marinate pork or beef for my husband which I pan fry on a separate burner. When everything is done cooking we make our own Asian bowls.
This week I’m making vermicelli, so I bought pork for my husband and a portobello mushroom for myself. I’ll marinate them exactly the same but cook them separately.
Pasta is another easy meal to adapt. When I make a sauce, I’ll separate it, and add meat into his. I add sausage or ground beef to red sauce and chicken to alfredo or pesto sauce.
Zucchini boats or stuffed peppers are also great! You can do half with ground beef or Italian sausage and the other half without. I like using quinoa or brown rice for the veggie half.
We also like “create your own bars” such as taco, salad, or baked potato.”
These ideas also work well for selective eaters. I have never made completely separate meals for any of my kids, but I have used all of the things my daughter has mentioned to adapt meals for different tastes.
4. I struggle with time management. How do you find time to plan for the week and prep?
Hopefully, all of the tips in this series have answered this question.
We are all busy. I feel like I am busier now than when I worked full-time with three little kids. How is that even possible?
I think we all struggle with finding time to do things, especially things we don’t necessarily enjoy doing. For me, it’s working out.
I believe everything starts with a decision. When you make the decision to commit to doing something that you feel is important, you find the time to do it.:)
I hope you have been able to take something away from this series. I will continue to post easy weeknight recipes and tips for meal planning and meal prepping.
Please post any other questions or tips you may have in the comments below. I’d also love to hear any tips that you are now going to implement.