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Weekly Meal Prep: Get the FREE Planning Page

Meal prep is not just for hipsters and body builders. In fact, all savvy home cooks should be prepping food in advance to use throughout the week. It makes life easier!

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Weekly Meal Prep: Get the FREE Planning Page | Life as Mom

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. These days the hipsters call it “meal prep”. Ironically, they think they’ve discovered something new, but no, our grandmothers would do as much make-ahead as they could because they were smart like that.

They just didn’t have the fancy black plastic boxes.

Weekly meal prep isn’t complicated or some fancy art that you need to study. Think about the things that you use every week that you prepare regularly. In your life as Mom, 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 before I started doing weekly meal prep, I would whisper to myself, “You really should just set aside time every week to do all this stuff, so you have it already done.”

About six years ago I finally put feet to my good intentions. I made a list of food items that needed to be prepped for the week, and then I set aside time during my toddler’s nap to knock out the preparation of some of those meal items. My meal prep practice has evolved over the years so that now, instead of making my husband’s lunch every night or at 5 am before he leaves for work, I prepare a week’s worth of lunches for both of us.

Holy cow! What a blessing it is all week to have on hand all sorts of healthy snacks to hand the kids or prepped ingredients to use to pull together the week’s meals.

Some of the things that I meal prep on a weekly basis would include

  • grated cheese for quesadillas, salads, and tostadas
  • cheese slices for sandwiches and snacky lunches
  • vegetable dippers for snacks, side dishes, and to include in stir-fries or salads
  • granola or baked oatmeal for breakfasts
  • hard cooked eggs for meals and snacks
  • salad fixings
  • baked goods for meals and snacks
  • lunches packed and ready to go

Weekly Meal Prep: Get the FREE Planning Page | Life as Mom

Black Bean Taco Salad

Meal prep is like a dream come true. I have convenience without the high price or questionable ingredients list. Assembling dinner is so much easier. We eat more healthfully. And we shake the crazy that comes at 4 pm.

When I block out a couple hours at the beginning of the week, I’m making life so much easier on myself!

I’ve even developed my Month of Meals meal plans around the concept. Each includes a list of things to prep at the beginning of the week to make the meals super duper simple to prepare. Like having a subscription to those fancy pants services that bring you a recipe and a box of chopped ingredients — only a whole lot cheaper!

I’m sold on meal prep, and you should be, too. I put together some checklists to make my weekly meal prep much easier. You can laminate them and reuse them each week, using a sharpie or a wet-erase marker.

Weekly Meal Prep: Get the FREE Planning Page | Life as Mom

There are two versions: one is already filled in a bit 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. The other is completely blank sheet for you to fill in your own customized list.

Get both meal prep checklists today and get going on making life easier! Enter your email address below to get the free printable meal prep checklists. You’ll also start receiving my free weekly tip sheets so you can stay in the know for all kinds of organizing and meal planning helps!

Meal prep is, 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. You will be so glad you did it. I promise.

What do YOU do for meal prep each week?

Weekly Meal Prep: Get the FREE Planning Page | Life as Mom

Originally posted August 21, 2011. Updated November 4, 2017.

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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.

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