Meal Prep by CloPart #3
The process of meal prep is simple, but being organised throughout goes a long way. I don't think I've ever stepped into the kitchen on Meal Prep Day without a plan.
Today I'm going to walk you through my personal step by step process on how I do my meal prep from start to finish. Make sure to read right until the end because I have also included my favourite go-to breakfast recipe (pictured above) which I make and eat nearly every single day (with a slight change depending on the weather - in Winter I make a cooked version).
Know that this step by step process is purely a guide for you of what I do, your meal prep is still your journey to work within your own lifestyle, your way. I can't wait to share my process with you..
Research and plan..
First you need to grab a notepad/notebook and pen and work out what it is that you want to meal prep. Work out whether you are making breakfast, lunch, snacks or all of the above.
Now you need to work out what it is exactly that you want to make. I have 3 favourite places I go to for recipe inspiration, 1 website and 2 books. The website is www.movenourishbelieve.com and the 2 books are 'Nourish' by Lorna Jane Clarkson and 'Living the Healthy Life' by Jessica Sepel (pictured below). You don't always need to follow a recipe, but a little inspiration is always a good place to start to get ideas before you begin, even if it's only to get the base for a recipe, a topping idea or a flavour combination, it will ignite your recipe creativity.
Write down what you are making for what meal, and once you have this you can if you want to go into more detail about what you will need for each recipe. I don't do this anymore, but you may need to go to the shops to grab something you don't have. There's nothing worse than getting excited about making something and beginning only to realise, you need to get something else to actually make it.
The next step I personally do is get everything out in front of me that I need, from the equipment (mixing bowl etc.) to the ingredients. I also grab out all of the containers I will be using to put my meals into. This helps when you finish making something so you can put it straight into the containers. Staying organised throughout the process is key.
When you are ready to start creating it's always good to work out if you need to preheat the oven, line trays, wash/soak ingredients at the very beginning. This helps streamline the process so when you are ready to put for example, muffins into the oven, you can because your tray is ready and the oven is preheated and ready to go too.
Make room in your fridge and freezer for your prepared meals. This is another great step to do before you actually begin so that once everything is prepared you can put it away easily. I have a dedicated spot in the freezer for mine and make a conscious effort to keep it empty throughout the week ready to fill up again so I'm not playing Tetris come time.
I always take a step back at the start and work out from what I'm making what takes the longest so I know where to start. Such as, if I need rice for my meal I will put the rice cooker on straight away, or if I want soaked oats, I will put them together and straight into the fridge.
If I am making a veggie based meal I will cut up everything first, as vegetables all cook at different times (nobody likes overcooked broccoli, am I right?). For example, I would cook my root vegetables first such as carrot and sweet potato, and once they are caramelised I would throw in the greens about a couple of minutes towards finishing cooking. Which is why having them all cut up at the beginning really helps, because you can have everything set aside and cook accordingly.
As you are cooking, clean as you go. I know this is sometimes easier said than done if you are feeling a little overwhelmed with all the things you have going on, but trust me when I say it makes the entire process so much nicer and enjoyable when at the end all you have to do is wipe down the kitchen bench and pack away your meals. If you have a dishwasher pack it as you go, if you only have a sink like me, run a hot one once you start cooking so you can wash up as you go (you can thank me later with this one).
So you've finished cooking and now it's time to finish putting everything into your containers. I recommend letting your meals cool before putting them into the fridge or freezer. Though with for example baked goods, I let them cool on the baking tray or baking stand before putting them into their desired container.
Once cooled, I put 1-2 days into the fridge and the rest into the freezer (unless you've made salads of course). This helps seal the freshness. Then each night once I get home from work and unpack my empty containers from that day, I then grab my pre-made meals from the freezer and transfer them to the fridge, and do this each night until the end of the week.
If you have any snacks that don't need refrigeration I would put these straight into your lunch bag ready to go the night before, such as nuts, muffins or fruit. The less you have to think about before your morning coffee, the better.
There is seriously no better feeling than sitting down to food that you've made.
At the end of the week it's good to reflect on your meal prep so you can alter it and make it better, think about if you made enough, and if you have leftovers perhaps you made too much. I have been meal prepping for years now, but still I'm always finding room for improvement and depending on my lifestyle, what I eat is always changing. I also eat with the season, I'm a big believer in eating cooler foods in Summer and warming foods in Winter.
Be proud of yourself.
BASIC BREAKFAST RECIPE
Clo's Overnight Oats
You will need.. small container + measuring cups + measuring spoons
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp honey (or sweetener of choice)
1 tbsp coconut flakes
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup strawberries, halved
Put the oats into a small container and pour the milk over the top (I use a small glass container).
Refrigerate this overnight (or if you are meal prepping in the morning you can refrigerate this first up and then finish it off in the evening). Tip: What you want when you soak oats is for the oats to soak up all of the liquid, but still be creamy and moist. If you find it is too dry for you, you can always add a little more milk either at the beginning before you refrigerate it or mix some through after before you top it.
Sprinkle on ground cinnamon, add honey and coconut flakes.
Top with blueberries and strawberries.
Time approx. 5 minutes (not including soaking time)
Note: If you require a more substantial breakfast you can easily double the oats and milk to make the same recipe.
If you make this I would absolutely love to know what you think in the comments below, and if you take a photo please share it on Instagram and tag @sparkleondarling so I can see. I cannot wait for you to try this.
This weeks task
This week I want you to find some inspiration for what you will make. Search the internet or head to your local book store or library. There are so many ideas out there on what you can make for meal prep! Keep in mind when doing so how long something will keep for and if it is easy to store and take on your daily commute (soups are great, but you have to make sure you have a specific air-tight container for travelling - take it from my personal experience on soup going everywhere..). I'm forever writing ideas down, favouriting recipes and sticky noting' my cookbooks.
I hope after reading this blog post you are feeling truly ready (and hopefully bursting with love) to begin your meal prep journey. If you have any questions about any of the above please leave them in the comments below. Make sure to subscribe to SPARKLE on darling back on the home page to ensure you don't miss the next blog post from the 'Meal Prep by Clo' series.
All my love,