Thanks to Pledge® Lemon Clean Furniture Spray for sponsoring this post! As always, all opinions are my own. #SCJMessyMoments
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – food is the one necessity that we have the most financial control over on a daily basis. That’s why I focus so much on providing tips for eating well on a budget. One of the biggest ways I save time and money in the kitchen is by meal prepping every Sunday. If you’ve never done this before, it can be overwhelming. But once you get the process down, you’ll be so thankful you have healthy options prepped and ready to go for the week!
How to Meal Prep
Go grocery shopping.
First and foremost, you need a fridge full of food before you get to meal prepping. I grocery shop and meal prep on Sundays which will last me for one week. When I grocery shop, I usually shop in the following order. This is essentially my grocery list every week.
- Vegetables – I always buy spinach plus whatever other greens are on sale for salads, then grab what’s cheapest for the rest of our veggies. This is usually a combination of carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, kale, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, tomatoes, and bell peppers.
- Fruit – I try to stick with fruit that’s $.99/lb or less so this often leads me towards bananas, apples, and clementines (my favorite!). The exception here is berries. I love adding them to my Overnight Oats and they simply make me happy. I will buy whichever (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries) is the best price that week.
- Meat – I always go for what’s on sale that week. $3/lb or less is my typical price point.
- Eggs – I always have 2 dozen on hand at a time because eggs last forever and can be used in so many ways!
- Dairy – whole milk, plain Greek yogurt, butter, cottage cheese
- Grains – brown rice, oats, popcorn kernels, sprouted bread, corn tortillas, tortilla chips, whole wheat pasta, rice cakes
- Pantry – peanut butter, salsa, canned beans, tomato pasta, tomato sauce, chicken broth, nuts, seeds, raisins, condiments
- Freezer – mixed vegetable (stir fry mixes are our go-to), frozen berries (for green smoothies)
Once I get home from the grocery store, I start cooking. I have multiple things going on at once and usually start with what will take longest.
Roasting vegetables if my favorite way to prep them. I love to combine sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets, roast up a huge batch, and eat them for lunches throughout the week. This way I always have a quick veggie to grab and easily reheat. Here’s my Vegetable Roasting Guide.
For chicken, whether it’s a whole chicken or pieces, I’ll roast it. If it’s a pork shoulder, I’ll put it in the slow cooker. With ground beef, I’ll brown it and simply season it with salt and pepper. The reason I do this is because I can easily add this to other recipes throughout the week. Each of these cooked meats can be used for tacos, salads, or even eaten by themselves.
These are a must for us. Ty and I each usually have one or two hardboiled eggs every morning for breakfast. We pair them with Overnight Oats or two slices of toast with peanut butter and banana. They also make an easy on-the-go snack! Here’s how I hardboil eggs.
I like to cook up a pot of rice for the week. I usually do 1 cup of brown rice to 2 cups of water and season with some salt and add a little butter. I’ll eat this with roasted chicken and veggies for lunch or I’ll make a super quick stir fry for dinner with our pre-cooked rice, meat, and a frozen vegetable mix. Rice is also a great filler to add on top of taco salads!
Make a soup, chili, or pasta.
I love having a one container meal ready to go! I’ll slow cook a big thing of soup or chili on Sundays or make up a pot of spaghetti. This way I can portion these out into containers for super quick meals. Here is my favorite Simple Slow Cooker Chili and Mexican Chicken Salsa Soup.
Portion out meals.
To make things really easy for the rest of the week, it’s great to portion out your soup or chili in individual containers or put together a container with chicken, rice, and roasted vegetables. Pair these with a piece of fruit, and you’ve got lunch ready for the week!
And after all this meal prepping is done, I’m left with dirty counters and a pile of dishes. My advice? Clean up right away. Fresh messes are easier to clean and you’ll feel much better once you get the dirty work over with. Bonus: you’ll barely have any dishes to do the rest of the week!
On a recent trip to Walmart, I was in the home cleaning aisle and noticed that Pledge® Lemon Clean Furniture Spray said it could work on multiple surfaces. I’ve always thought of it as just a wood cleaner, but I thought I’d give it a shot. This past week after finishing my meal prep, I used it to clean our entire kitchen and it worked! I love finding one product that works in multiple ways – it saves time and money!
Want to see it in action?
What are your meal prepping tips?
P.S. Here’s how much you should spend on groceries.