Meal planning made easy comes down to prep, and not just the customary weekend planning and prep; but instead breaking up prep into monthly, bi-weekly and weekly. By breaking up prep into doable chunks, you create more ease in the kitchen, because isn’t that what we all want?!
So what should you make monthly?
Monthly prep is where you can make up some serious time. Think of the amount of time you spend making pasta and sauces or soaking/cooking legumes like lentils and chickpeas- it’s lots. Now imagine you get home from a busy day at work or a hard workout and all you have to do is warm up a delicious sauce and toss it with thawed pasta? That’s living, because most of us have better things that we could be doing than slaving away in the kitchen. BUT eating healthy is important.
And this is why meal planning matters. Meal planning helps you find the time for things that you’d rather be doing other than cooking, without having to sacrifice deliciously healthy meals.
Your Monthly Prep List
Think bolognese, dressings (vinegar based) and marinades, though it may sound simple enough, but it makes a huge difference. Trust me.
I’ll be sharing lots of sauce recipes in the Meal Planning Masterclass which starts in March (more on that next week). But sit down and think about the sauces you like to eat, and make them.
Legumes, Pasta and Grains
Dry legumes are heads and above better than the can, because they keep their texture in dishes; whereas the canned variety are mush- no other way to say it. Cooking chickpeas, lentils and other legumes in large batches and freezing them in serving sized portions will add ease to your weekly meals, in addition to texture, flavour and health benefits.
Pasta can also be cooked ahead of time. Cook it to al dente (still toothsome), rinse with cold water, and toss with olive oil; this process will ensure that the pasta thaws without sticking together.
And grains freeze and thaw like a dream, so pick 2 or 3 a month to experiment with and freeze in serving sized portions.
I’m not saying this because I’m a minimalist, but it’s essential that you go through your freezer and get rid of anything freezer burned. If you don’t know what it is, toss it. The motto “when in doubt throw it out” applies very strongly when clearing space in your freezer.
You want to have the space to store all your prepped items; if not, they will go the way of most frozen foods, freezer burned and janky.