As many of you know, us SATC gals are huge fans of meal prep. While we don’t plan out ALL of our meals, we do like to make sure the majority of what we’re eating throughout the week is home-cooked … we just FEEL better this way! Who is with us? The key here is having healthy food prepared and ready to go at all times. It keeps us healthier, happier, and honestly saves us a lot of money!
Here are some of our tips on how to master the art that is meal prep …
Make it a ritual.
Generally, Sunday is our meal prep day. We like to combine meal prepping with fixing our Sunday dinner (2 birds, one stone!). These meal prep nights have become very therapeutic to us … they’re a a great way to relax + unwind from the weekend, do something good for ourselves, and start the week off on a solid note.
Our favorite spot to grocery shop is Trader Joe’s (as it is for MANY New Yorker’s). We love how much of their fresh produce is cut up and ready to go, not to mention the incredibly low prices. We can’t tell you how much money we’ve saved since our Seamless-every-night days (and how much better we feel!).
Another great option: go to the Whole Foods salad bar and grab fresh veggies for the week that you can have ready to go for salads, omelettes, side dishes, etc. This is a great way to get just what you need (especially if you’re cooking for one), and not let any produce go to waste.
Make it social.
Meal prep and being anti-social don’t have to go hand in hand! We love to make meal prepping a social event: cook dinner with friends and meal prep the leftovers (split the ingredients, and it’ll save you serious money!). We generally have a better time catching up with friends at home, anyway!
When we’re eating out and discover a salad or dish we like, we try our best to replicate it at home (cough, Westville kale salad ). This has been a massive money saver. Who else spends $15 on the Postmates’ delivery fee? To our surprise, a lot of our favorite restaurant dishes turned out to be a lot easier to make (+ find ingredients for) than we initially thought. Unsure of how they make a restaurant’s dressing? Ask what’s in it (they’ll almost always tell you), and play around with the ingredients at home!
Portion it out.
When food is portioned out in advance, it is SO much easier to meal prep it, and not let it go to waste. We can’t tell you how many people we hear saying that they don’t like to meal prep because they end up wasting so many groceries (you’ve gotta commit!).
An example: when we go to the grocery store, we have them cut up our fresh salmon into pieces. This way we can cook what we want to immediately and freeze or refrigerate the rest. Or, if we cook everything at once, we we can easily divide it up into containers right away, so it’s super easy to grab and go (here are our fav containers, btw).
The same goes for anything else you’re cooking. Don’t just let it all sit in one giant Tupperware in the fridge. Instead, portion it out on the spot. When food is cooked and ready to go in separated containers, you’ll be a lot more inclined to actually eat it, rather than letting it rot in the fridge, or turning to something quick and unhealthy via Seamless.
One of our fav options is also buying pre-portioned on-the-go products we love, such as Casey’s Krunch. Trust us when we tell you, this is one of the best granola’s you will EVER put in your mouth. Having these mini bags on-hand make it way less tempting to dive into some subpar snacks when we’re out and about. Also, the fact that they come in 2oz sized bags, make it easier for portion control (anyone else get out of hand with granola?) We put them in our gym bags or purses and always find use for them (especially when we grab a Siggi’s from Starbucks!) Our fav flavor? “Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana!”
Does the line at Trader Joe’s scare you? We don’t blame you … sometimes getting to the grocery store can be THE MOST daunting task. Don’t let this be what keeps you from meal prepping! When we’re feeling like we don’t have the lines in us, we use FoodKick to order online (use code “SWEATS” at checkout for $25 off a purchase of $50 or more…aka $25 worth of free groceries). They come super quickly (they can come in as short as an hour!), and deliver the essentials without much planning involved at all. We use this all the time when we’re in a crunch!
The more you meal prep, the faster it’ll become a part of your routine (and, you’ll actually start to prefer it!). If you’re just starting out, try prepping just 2-3 meals a week.
When we first started meal prepping, we made a quinoa + beet salad every Sunday. We would eat it for dinner that night, and then for lunch/dinner a few more days throughout the week. Eventually, it grew into our Sunday routine we mentioned above!
When you start having healthy, home-cooked meals readily available, it’s much easier to avoid that tempting pizza your coworker brings into the office, or the convenient Pad Thai dinner on the couch. We encourage you to start small and see how you like it!