Do you dread meal prepping? Whether you’re just getting ready for dinner tonight, or batch cooking the whole week’s meals at once, it can definitely be a chore.
Good news though: I can help make that dread disappear!
Being a parent of small children has taught me that life is much easier if you can make a game out of anything.
We took our son to Disney World when he was 2. Up until that point he had been happy to sit and observe life from within his stroller. The minute we stepped foot onto Main Street USA he decided that the stroller was not for him anymore! He wanted to run! But he was too young to know when to stop running! After a short time of everyone being miserable because he wasn’t happy staying close by or in the stroller, I decided to teach him a game called Red Light, Green Light. In this game he could run when I said “green light” and then stop when I said “red light.” It worked like a charm!
He’s now six and I still pull that game out when I need it!
So, pull this same trick on yourself! Find ways to make your chores enjoyable activities, and you’ll love doing them!
Here are 6 ways you can put the pep back in meal prep!
- Play Music or Listen to a Podcast. It’s a step I often forget but suddenly I’ll remember, hit play, and my meal prep is instantly more fun! My husband and I have started adding random upbeat songs to this playlist on apple music specifically for meal prepping (warning: there may be some NSFKids lyrics). It gets us bobbing our heads and moving our feet, which adds a bonus of increasing your activity level!
- Use a Good Knife. I honestly enjoy chopping veggies. I’ve learned some very basic knife skills that make it go faster, which helps make it go quickly, but a big part of my enjoyment is having a good sharp knife. Nothing is more frustrating than prepping food with a crappy, dull knife! I highly recommend investing in a good chef’s knife. And by “invest” I don’t mean you have to spend hundreds of dollars. When I worked in fine dining I asked a chef what knife he would recommend for home use. He highly recommended Victorinox knives, which you can order on Amazon for under $30! Personally I have a few IKEA knives that I really like (unfortunately they don’t make them anymore). But no matter what kind of knife you have, they will eventually need sharpening. If you’ve never sharpened a knife that might seem intimidating, but don’t worry! It’s actually quite easy if you have the right tool. I can’t recommend this sharpener enough. It’s super easy to use.
- Pour a Glass of Wine or Sparkling Water. This quote speaks to me dearly:
I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.But seriously, whether it’s a nice glass of wine, sparkling water, or coffee in the morning, I like to have something to sip on while I’m meal prepping.
- Clear Some Space. If you’re meal prepping and run out of counter space, it gets very frustrating. Prevent the frustration and start with a clean slate. Wash any dirty dishes. Put the clean dishes away. And make as much space available as you can. When you’re mid-prep, you’ll be glad you took the time to do that beforehand!
- Cook Together. Enlist the help of your family! It doesn’t happen very often because my husband and I have an agreement that I cook and he does the dishes, but sometimes we meal prep together. When we do it’s a good time to connect and talk. And besides, if you make it a party with music and fun drinks, that will help get others on board 😉
- Adjust Your Mindset. You can try to make it as fun as you want, but if you view meal prep as a chore that’s all it will ever amount to. The real change is when you shift your mindset and view the time you spend meal prepping as a gift to yourself and your family. It’s the gift of good food. The gift of healthy food. The gift of feeling prepared for the week ahead.
In order to meal prep, it’s important to begin with a meal plan. When I’ve polled people about what their biggest challenge for healthy eating is, it’s always that never-ending question: “what are we going to eat for dinner?”
I’ve determined that the greatest obstacle in meal planning is decision fatigue. This is where your brain shuts down from making too many decisions throughout the day, and goes with whatever is easiest (not necessarily the best)… which often means throwing a frozen pizza into the oven.
I’ve crafted a meal planning system that bypasses a lot of the decision making process, making it much easier on your tired brain! If you want to learn this system, get on the waitlist to hear when I’ll be opening the doors to my Meal Planning Bootcamp!