Meal Planning: Weekly Meal Prep (& a FREE Planning Page)

You know that I love my freezer. Soooo much so that I wrote a cookbook chock full of freezer-friendly recipes. Make ahead makes me happy.

But “make ahead” does not have to be limited to the freezer. In fact, there’s a wealth of things that can be prepped in advance and stored in the pantry or the refrigerator for use later in the week. Think about the things that you use every week that you prepare regularly. I bet you “go through the motions” several times a week to make cheese slices, veggie dippers, or baked goods.

I know I do. In fact, for months I’ve been whispering to myself, “You really should just set aside time every week to do all this stuff, so you have it.”

Last Sunday I finally put feet to my good intentions. I made a list of things that needed to be prepped for the week, and then I set aside tim during my toddler’s nap to knock out some of those meal items.

weekly meal prep

Holy cow! What a blessing it was all week to have on hand all sorts of healthy snacks to hand the kids or to use to pull together a quick lunch.

Some of the things that I made included:

  • grated cheese – went into quesadillas, salads, and tostadas
  • cheese slices – for sandwiches and snacky lunches
  • vegetable dippers – for snacks, side dishes, and to chop for dinner recipes
  • Chocolate Zucchini Cake – for desserts and snacks
  • Oatmeal Cookies – for desserts and snacks
  • Maple Granola – for breakfasts and snacks

It was like a dream come true. I had convenience, but without the high price or questionable ingredients list. I’m sold. So much so that I put together a checklist for myself — and for you.

This Weekly Kitchen Prep List starts with some of the basic food items that are nice to have on hand. I left plenty of blank spaces to fill in with items that might change on a weekly basis. This would be the ideal sheet to laminate and keep on the fridge.  Here’s a completely blank sheet if your action items look nothing like mine.

I plan a repeat performance for this week — and the weeks to come. This was, by far, a major sanity saver in my week. Grocery shopping and meal planning are essential. Putting together a meal prep list and following it is the next natural step.

As for the meal plan, here’s what we got cooking:

Breakfasts

served with fruit

Smoothies and Muffins
Scrambled Eggs and Toast
Yogurt and Toppings (like honey, maple syrup, granola, nuts, or fruit)
Rice or Oatmeal with Toppings
Cinnamon Zucchini Waffles
Maple Granola
Pancakes

Lunches

served with fruit and veggies

Sunbutter or Turkey Sandwiches
Cheese and Crackers
DIY Pasta Salad
Beans and Rice
Leftovers
Salads for me

Dinners

served with green salad and seasonal vegetables from our new produce co-op 

Poblano Enchiladas - didn’t happen last week
White Chili
Hamburgers and Brats on homemade buns, Sweet Corn
Pasta with Red Sauce
Roast Chicken and Potatoes
Birthday Dinner – FishBaby’s FishChick3′s choice
take-out (let’s be real)

Snacks

White Chocolate Cookies (no nuts)
Veggies and Trader Joe’s Hummus (yes, I know I could make homemade)
Crackers and Cheese
Sunbutter and Celery
Zuccchini Bread
whatever else comes in our produce box this week

How do you prep for your week?

Would you rather subscribe by RSS?
Read Newer Post
Read Older Post

Comments

  1. Could not agree more!! I prep EVERYTHING! It makes my life so much easier especially as a work outside the home mama. Can’t imagine going into the work week without my food prepped. Also, make ahead meals, freezer cooking, and food prep has been the KEY strategies in my weight loss. I am able to control the calories by controlling the ingredients and portions.

    Every mom needs to try make ahead meal prep at least once. It really does change lives. :)

  2. Ok, I’d like to try this.
    As far as the chopping and slicing, do you just put the foods in clear plastic containers in the fridge?
    I never thought about pre-chopping onion for recipes because I thought they would stink up the fridge? I guess not?
    I like to have fruits and veggies washed and readily available in the fridge too. Will get back to that!

    Last thought, when my peppers start to get a little soft, I chop them and put them in the freezer to add to recipes like scrambled eggs. YUM!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Yes, I have a large Gladware collection, to my husband’s chagrin. ;) As long as it’s an airtight container, the onions won’t stink. You can also freeze chopped onions.

      • You can also buy chopped yellow onion in the freezer section. It’s around $1.50 a bag in Texas and has about 2 cups chopped onion. Maybe a little more expensive than doing it yourself, but it’s a huge time saver.

  3. Great minds must think alike! I was just thinking how much time I spend every day making meals and snacks when I would much rather be spending time with my kids. I made some meals and snacks ahead today and decided I should do this every Sunday. I’ll save myself lots of time during the week, and my kids can play with daddy on Sunday while I prep. Win Win. :)

  4. Inspired by your previous post about prepping for the upcoming week, I have declared Sunday afternoons as my prep time because I really need to get more organized in the kitchen. Today didn’t exactly work out as planned- several things came up- but I did get some things prepped ahead and others planned for tomorrow. Your new printable is just what I need to get me started on the right track! I have your OLAM planner, and I am amazed how much we think alike. Please keep these ideas coming! :)

  5. You are one smart chica, Jessica. I do try to get some dinner prep done early in the week but not on the scale you do. When we get the ink I printing this out and finding it a home in my kitchen.

    Also I cannot believe the youngest Fish is going to be 3. They grow up too quickly.

  6. Wow, thanks for the download! Doing things ahead of time makes life so much easier.

  7. Great idea! I also often tell my husband that as soon as I get home from the grocery I need to prep veggies for the week – however I often don’t do it. Last week I did make a fruit salad – that was GREAT to have ready for breakfasts/ lunches/ snacks.

  8. I love this idea! The list I printed out had your prep items already on it; do you have a blank list that I missed?

    Gracias!!!

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I filled in basics. I haven’t made one that was completely blank. But, thanks for the suggestion!

  9. love this idea, thanks for sharing it! Can’t wait to get sorted for this week.

  10. Working on that now! Family has so many food allergies that I want to cut out on fast food and unhealthy foods. On a mission to transition our family to organic and whole foods! :) Super excited! Using your recipes along with other bloggers to build up our recipes database!

  11. Thank you!

    I would also suggest double-checking the prices when you’re buying cheese. Around here, 8 oz. of cheese is 8 oz. of cheese – the price is the same whether it’s in a block or already shredded, so I let the manufacturer do the shredding for me. ;) (I used to buy it in a block and grate it myself when there was a price difference, but if it’s the same, I’d just as soon not have to do that part.)

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I would agree, as long as it’s the same quality cheese. I can’t find hormone-free cheese already shredded, so I’m happy to shred it myself.

Thanks so much for participating in this conversation about "a mom's life."

This is a place where moms can be themselves. Remember that each mother's path looks a little different. Please keep your comments respectful and kind. Reasonable minds will disagree in a nice way.

So let's talk about it, using "our big girl words."

Share Your Thoughts

*