We’re talking about food preparation. As most of you know, the Bachelor’s Kitchen eating plan requires a bit of planning and preparation. Making choices ahead of time can help lower your grocery bill, speed up the time to make a meal and make binge eating and spur-of-the-moment snacking less likely.
One good step is to do your food prep work ahead of time (if you can). Just one hour a week is all you need to prepare a week’s worth of meals.
What works for you. The Bachelor’s Kitchen eating plan starts with figuring out what and how much you need to eat. Use your grocery store’s weekly ad to help you plan out meals and make your grocery list. For most people, Sunday afternoon or evening is the best time to do your meal prep. Naturally, you will spend a lot of time in the beginning just preparing to cook a Sunday evening meal. But, you can also do a lot of prep work that will help you stick to your eating plan even when you don’t feel like it. You have to figure out when is a good time to do this during your busy week.
Start small. If you haven’t done a lot of food prep work before, start with just one set of meals for the week. For example, set up all the fixings for salads. Or make a breakfast casserole or muffins, something you can eat throughout the week. After you get used to setting an hour aside every week just for food prep, then you can enlarge your prep work to include more meals. The idea here is to set up a good habit of preparing your food for a week rather than deciding just before cooking what you’re going to eat in your next meal.
Begin prep work before you put away the groceries. We all do some sorting when we’re putting away the groceries. What goes in the freezer or refrigerator usually gets put away before canned goods and other foods. As you’re sorting, set aside those things that need to be prepped. There’s no good reason to put them away only to take them back out again. Some of you do not have time to prep after shopping and instead will do it next day. But prepping your meals right after getting home from the grocery store is a good time for some people to do that hour of prep work.
It’s not all or nothing. Don’t feel like you have to do everything for the week’s meals all at once. Keep your eating plan menus handy so you can figure out what needs to get done first from those that can wait until later in the week. In other words, don’t stress because you didn’t finish all of your prep work. If you have to set aside some time later in the week to finish your prep work, that’s okay. Just remember to put a reminder in your calendar. I also like to put my meal plans on my calendar so I don’t have to think about it when dinnertime comes.
Storage. After you prep your meal ingredients, You need to protect them from air or spoilage before you get a chance to use them. Many foods, especially fresh produce, begin to break down as soon as you cut them open. Glass or clear plastic containers or jars are great for storing food. Make sure they have lids and are clean and dry before using them. Plastic containers are available at the grocery store and are usually inexpensive. Mason jars or cleaned-out food jars from the store are ideal for storing ingredients and prepared items. If using plastic, make sure they are BPA-free. Gallon size reclosable plastic bags are also ideal for many prepped foods, like salad fixings, various fruits and vegetables, even leftover soups and stews. Freezer bags are heavier and more protective of your food.
Coming up in our next post, we’ll look closer at the one hour a week food prep plan.