Paleo meal prep doesn’t have to be a whole big long story. Since eating Paleo = going back to basics, Paleo meal prep can really be the same. A common misconception is that when you say meal prep that you mean you are making a TON of food all at once. I’ve done that and guess what?
I hated that day and it’s been few and far between since. Instead, let’s get back to our basics in the kitchen and make our lives a whole lot easier. The best part is with a little planning, basic doesn’t have to be boring.
This helps with shopping Paleo on a budget as well. Are you buying peppers this week? If so, throw some in your egg scrambles and in a paleo chili. Roast some peppers with onions, zucchini and carrots and top with some organic all-purpose seasoning and coconut oil – Now you have an easy and healthy paleo side dish for any night of the week.
To save time each day, on a given day in the beginning of the week (for me it’s Sunday) I plan on doing meal prep for 1-2 hours. It saves me so much time during the week that I’m willing to spend some dedicated time to do it every week.
There are some things that I do while I’m cooking breakfast on Sundays. That is the perfect time for me to hard-boil eggs, for example. That way they are cooled for chopping later in the day when I’m doing the rest of the food prep.
On Sundays, I take out my peppers and chop them up all at once. It’s easiest for me to keep them in separate containers for each use, but you can store them however you’d like.
I chop up one pepper for egg scrambles for breakfasts, another for a daily salad for lunch, and if I’m planning on having those simple and tasty roasted veggies I mentioned earlier, I’ll also chop up 1-2 more peppers at the same time - but I might leave those in bigger pieces for roasting.
If I’m not making a particular dish right at that moment that I’m chopping veggies, I’ll put the peppers into separate containers and store in the fridge until it’s time to use them.
I happen to make the daily egg scrambles on Sunday so that my husband can just grab them and reheat each morning, so I am typically making his egg scrambles while I’m chopping up fruits and veggies for the week.
I have a particular size container that I use for egg scrambles, another for salads, and another for chopped ingredients that will be used during the week.
I also have particular containers that I use for fruits that I cut up ahead of time – cantaloupe and strawberries are favorites in our house, besides apples and bananas. Before we stocked up our container cabinet, I have to admit I was a little stressed out during food prep.
I would have to make sure that I was doing dishes as I was chopping/cooking and that doesn’t make your life less stressed, which is kind of the point of Paleo meal prep… to take the stress out of your evenings!
So get some extra containers to make it so you don’t have to wash dishes while you are prepping food.
I haven’t followed the Pinterest craze of Mason jar salads. They are super cool looking, but honestly my method just works better for me. Each Sunday I gather my salad ingredients and start chopping. I don’t assemble 5 days of salads ahead of time.
I do something a little different to make sure that the salads are fresh, crisp and tasty. My husband loves baby spinach instead of romaine. I take out five of my handy-dandy salad sized containers and fill them up with spinach. Then I take some cherry or grape tomatoes and throw a handful into each container.
What I love about cherry or grape tomatoes is that they are bite sized so you don’t have to cut them up AND they hold all of their own juices inside of them. So they won’t get the lettuce or spinach soggy.
Each evening I take the rest of the salad toppings and just add them to the container for the next day. Lately my husband has been enjoying his spinach salad topped with tomatoes, cucumbers, pepperoni, hard boiled eggs and sunflower seeds.
He’s a weirdo and doesn’t like any kind of dressing on it, but if I were eating that salad, I’d bring a container with olive oil and vinegar, salt and peppers to top the salad with. Those ingredients are things that we buy every week for other meals.
Often, if I’m using peppers for other meals, I’ll add some chopped peppers into his salad as well. If I have leftover bacon after a meal, sometimes he’ll get some chopped bacon. Same goes for leftover roasted chicken.
I try to throw in some extra flavors at least 2 times a week so he doesn’t get bored with the salads. Every few months I do a complete switch of salads and find some other combination that he’ll enjoy.
Plenty of us love the idea of the pre-planned week with meals all laid out with a shopping list and recipe attached, but in reality, the easiest way for me is to eat the same breakfasts and lunches all week and then plan a few (3-5) different dinners for the week and make sure the ingredients cross over into other meals.
That doesn’t mean we’re eating Mexican every night if I’ve bought tomatoes and avocado. The great thing about Paleo foods is that you can use them in other ways very easily and very tastily.
Do you do food prep every week? What are your favorite time-savers in the kitchen?
Too much reading...
How about dessert?