“Meal-Prep,” the Loveleaf Co. Way
I started Loveleaf Co. with the mission to help people eat real food (easily and every day). And I quickly realized that this simple intention is a lot easier when we actually plan for it (#adulting).
But here’s the thing: “meal prep” shouldn’t be synonymous with “boring” OR mean spending a FULL DAY in the kitchen. In fact, to be prepared for the week you don’t have to meal prep at all, in the traditional sense; you just have to make a few key components and and build off them.
Enter the our method. Here’s the gist:
1. Plan a Few Meals Using a Meal Planner
Choose a few meals to make for the week. Don’t feel like you have to plan dinner for every single night of the week. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend it. To prevent overwhelm, the sweet spot is to plan 3-4 meals; the remaining nights a week, you can enjoy leftovers, pantry meals, or go out to eat / get takeout. Use our printable weekly meal planner to get organized.
2. On Sunday or Monday Night, Prep a Few Components
On Sunday or Monday night, prep a few of the more time-consuming components out of the meals you planned. These are the parts of your planned meals that could potentially hold you back on busy weeknights – like, brown rice, roasted vegetables, and/or a sauce.
By making these more time-consuming components all at once early in the week, your planned meals with come together much more effortlessly.
3. Use the Components to Make Your Meals Throughout the Week
The components you prepped on Sunday or Monday night will be reheated and used in your weeknight meals. It’s a streamlined approach that will save you a lot of time both on Sunday and on busy weeknights. I’m kind of obsessed.
This way of prepping is game-changer. No full meal prep days and no overbuying at the grocery store. It’s a strategic, intentional, and – most importantly – easy method that’s #reallife ready.
And when things are realistic, we actually do them (right?). Because less makes room for better (read: time to do everything else in your life). ✌🏼
Why Use This Meal Prep Method?
How we eat influences our daily happiness, relationships, energy, mood, and health. And healthy food is actually pretty simple. It just takes a little thought. Meal planning and prep encourages you to do the “hard” work upfront, so you can be your best self during the workweek. This way of cooking allows you to:
Eat healthier than you ever have.
Hello, veggies. Cooking ahead of time guarantees you eat healthy, nutrient-dense meals on the reg. (Because your prep-ahead self is smarter than your weeknight-after-work self).
Break out of your recipe rut.
Because “eggs for dinner again?” gets old. Meal planning and prep forces you to be thoughtful and intentional about your meals so you don’t default to making the same old, same old in the moment. Need recipe ideas? Here you go.
Shop with purpose.
Say goodbye to hours at the grocery store and to produce going bad in the fridge. By planning ahead of time (and using an organized weekly shopping list), each ingredient will have a use.
Have more freedom and flexibility.
A little planning and prepping is the antidote to weeknight stress. A simple framework frees you up to focus on the stuff that really matters. And gives you the flexibility to grab sushi and drinks with friends (without anything going to waste).
Do it all in less time.
So you can pay attention to everything else in your life. Like actually eating the food. While relaxing. With a glass of rosé (just an idea).
Meal Prep Tips
Make a plan.
Before the week begins, craft a simple menu and an organized shopping list. Sometimes I like to start by brainstorming one meal and then build additional meals around components from this meal (remember: keep it simple). Deciding on what to eat before grocery shopping can save you hundreds (and hundreds) of dollars a year.
Keep a well-stocked pantry.
Always keep the essentials on hand to spend less time at the grocery store. Be sure to cross off what you already have before grocery shopping to avoid buying duplicate items. Here’s how to stock a healthy pantry.
Go grocery shopping.
And bring your grocery list! Make grocery shopping fit seamlessly into your life (read: do it on your way home from work instead of using half of Sunday). A delivery service like Thrive Market, Amazon Fresh, and/or ButcherBox can help. Looking to save some money? Check out these tips here.
Get the containers and tools you need.
A little upfront investment will go a long way. To store food, I’m kind of obsessed with these Glasslock containers. My favorite (over-Pinterested) budget option is pairing these mason jars with these leakproof Tulid lids. For making the prep itself a breeze, check out my essential kitchen tools here.
Choose your cooking time.
You don’t need an entire prep day. This simple component method means less than an hour of cooking early in the week and then some quick and easy cooking throughout the week using already prepped components.
How Long Does Food Last?
The sweet spot is about four days. Check out my guide to avoiding soggy salads (keep the dressing separate!). And keep your toppings crunchy by storing them in separate containers until right before eating.
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