Meal Prep Productivity

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Through my journaling, I identified that two things cause me to be unlikely to cook dinner.

  1. A Messy Kitchen
  2. End of the day Fatigue/Stress

My space greatly affects my energy levels. It does for a lot of people. Studies do show this. If you have been following me at all, you know that a cluttered space causes my mind to feel cluttered. Not good, especially when you already have mommy brain.

I know that a messy kitchen causes me to have reduced energy levels and reduce the likelihood of me making dinner for my family. What do I do about it?

My kitchen as a result is my priority. I have communicated this with my family. So, if I feel stretched for time at the end of the day, I will make sure to clean the kitchen.

The next thing that makes it less likely for me to make dinner and instead decide to chose a less healthy option…like the nearest drive through on the way home is not having to cook at night.

At the end of the day, I am tired and my energy levels are lower. In order to curb our eating out, I either make dinner in the morning. The crockpot is my number one go to appliance OR I meal prep.

I love the idea of meal prepping. You hear it everywhere. So, this weekend, I decided to challenge myself and take action.

Friday evening, I made my list of recipes. I ventured out to the Google and searched for crockpot meals.

Intentional Living Tip: Make sure you read the length of time the recipe is meant to stay in the crockpot. My meals will be in the crockpot for about 10-12 hours, so I needed to be very careful of this in my research. Some only need 4 hours!

Armed with my recipes, I then made my grocery list. I keep my frig and pantry very organized, so it is easy for me to determine what I need from each food group at a glance. More to come on that.

Now, I find the grocery store draining, overwhelming, and just exhausting. With two littles, it is a race to get in and out because someone melts down. Now, this does not happen often, but it is still a constant fear of mine.

Well, you have to buy food to make food. So, armed with my list, I shopped online and picked our food up in the afternoon. 30 minutes of adding items to my cart, searching for coupons, and saving money from the comfort of my home…YES PLEASE.

Now, Sunday was a little busier than I had imagined. Remember, that I do not do as well with cooking or more “challenging” tasks in the evening hours.

So, I got up early Monday (Thank you Holiday!) and cooked. It took me about 2 hours (a little less) to cook 12 meals.

How did I do this efficiently?

Organize

I got my space organized. I got out everything I needed and separated into categories and meals. Veggies with veggies, meats with meats, and all of the freezer bags I would need.

Intentional Living Tip: I specifically looked for meals that had common foods involved. Different recipes flavors, but a much more efficient and cost effective way to cook.

Plan

I made a plan of how I was going to cook the foods.

Chopped up all of the veggies for all recipes. Again each veggie was used in different recipes.

I started with cooking all of the beef (ground beef and streak). Once this was completed, I seasoned the meat per recipe. Once this was done and the meet had cooled some, I placed the meat in a labeled/dated bag with the other ingredients.

Some of the meats did not need to be cooked prior to making my food “packet.” For instance, the chicken and roast did not need to be pre-cooked. So, I added it to the bag, with the ingredients and done!

Clean up

There will be a lot or a little more than normal to clean up because you just cooked for two hours. But anytime there is downtime (which there is during cooking most times) use that to clean up. A little at a time and then it will not be so burdensome.

Everything was placed in my freezer for later consumption.

The other “meal prep” trick I have been using is pretty simple. I tend to cook for more than 4 people. As one of 6 girls, I am still used to cooking for 8+. We were wasting food or getting super bored of eating the same leftovers for a week. So, I now save enough for lunches for the week (1 – 2) containers and the rest is frozen to be eaten at a later time. So those 12 meals, will likely amount to more servings and more eating than a couple of weeks of food.

Now, all I need to do is take out the bag of food the night before and throw it in the crockpot the morning over. Set it and forget it!

Final Intentional Living Tip: What is that one task for you that you struggle with? Is it making dinner? Is it going to the grocery store? Or folding laundry?

Once you discover that, then determine your why. Why does this one task bother you?

Then take action. What can you do to make this task easier for you?

Thank you,

Ashley

 

 

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