I’m often asked how I have time to cook while working the 9-5. The truth is: I don’t.
That’s why I spend so much time over the weekend meal prepping. I literally have no desire to cook on a weeknight. And with this method, I really don’t have to.
The key is simplifying the process as much as possible. I now subscribe to two online tools: Peapod and eMeals. I have 60 days of free delivery from Peapod, and I’m trying out eMeals to see if it’s a time saver. So far, it has been great. (And I’m not getting paid to write this!).
I print out the eMeals grocery list (delivered weekly based on your dietary preferences) and load the food into Peapod. I pick a delivery time that’s amenable to our schedules (i.e. a delivery right after vacation). Each week, I look at our schedules and see who can make which meal, and when.
I felt guilty about food delivery at first. It didn’t jive with the you-must-do-it-all mentality. But I’m at a point where my time is precious, valuable to me. I work more than 45+ hours a week, and I have two free days. I want to spend those relaxing and living – not buying food.
I do, however, spend time on the weekend making meal times easier throughout the week. And this is my typical plan:
I prioritize lunches. I always start here, making five lunches for myself and something for M. My lunches usually entail a green, a grain and a protein.
I boil eggs. These are our go-to snack. We boil in bulk.
I make at least one meal for the week, usually two. One meal can last a few days. Yesterday I made turkey sloppy joes with sweet potato fries. It was the perfect Saturday night dinner (and Sunday night, too!). And if I have a late night on Monday, there will be more of it in a pinch. This makes it much easier to avoid take-out!
I chop all veggies and prepare for time-consuming meals. Some meals need to be made that night. I make sure to take out all the leg work by doing it over the weekend. Fine dicing a red pepper, chopping an onion–these things all go a long way.
The only hiccup with this plan is when we travel. If we’re not home over the weekend, this doesn’t happen as smoothly. But during regular life, this plan keeps us on track. And to me, the cooking is worth the time it takes to eat better and feel good.