Meal Prep 101
So like, do other twenty-year olds just stumble into making dinner like I did or is it a more natural process? After I graduated college, I started law school so I went three more years into my adulthood completely unsure on how to eat like a normal adult. Those three years were a whirlwind of evening classes, late night studying, and events that I just didn’t ever think to cook (or had the time to do so). Weeks after the Bar, I found myself married and facing three months of free time as I waited for my job to start in November. I figured I better try to cook since I literally was doing nothing for weeks. And shockingly, I was pretty good at it! A surprise to everyone, I’m sure because domestic I am not.
Hopefully, your journey to eating and cooking like an adult wasn’t such an accident. But after a bit of trial and error, I found meal planning and prepping to be really easy and I’m going to share what’s worked for me.
One. Shop weekly. If you follow me on Insta, you know I have a pretty standard weekend itinerary that includes grocery shopping. This was a big shift from when I was growing up, where we weren’t food insecure (or if we were my mom did a great job of hiding that from us), but we mostly shopped in bulk, around pay day, and had to make sure everything stretched as far as it could (so a lot of processed foods). Now, I shop weekly so I only have to plan a few meals at a time. Yes, I’d have a few extra hours a month if I didn’t have to go to the store every week, but this routine helps me buy things I actually need and go into the week prepared to cook at least three fresh meals.
Two. Keep it simple. I am not about extravagant cooking. You may have noticed that I use a lot of the same ingredients in different dishes. That’s because, by now, I have a few standard meals I can easily make so that I can save as much time as possible. Trust, if I’m spending more than an hour and half making dinner then something is going very wrong (or it’s someone’s birthday–maybe). Instead, I make simple meals that don’t require a ton of extra things. I limit my meals to one side and try to make the main course enough without the extras.
Three. Keep it Fresh. Aside from the obvious benefits of eating fresh produce over processed food, I like to buy fresh food to push me to actually cook on nights where I’d rather just order take out. I just feel too guilty throwing away unused food. It also forces me to really hone down my list to just things that I need, which helps keep my routine going because obvi that means I’ll have to be back at the store in a week.
How often do you grocery shop? Did you find it easy to get into a routine of cooking or do you struggle with it?