Meal prep is often a lot easier than you think and brings so much ease to cooking in my home. It’s something I like to do at the start of each week or on a Sunday (or whenever I have a moment really) to save me time throughout the week when I’ve got lots going on. It doesn’t have to be a big fuss. I think of it as an investment for me and means less mess and washing up in the week and more time to enjoy yourself.
I absolutely love batch cooking so that I always have things on hand in the fridge or freezer when I’m strapped for time, but I also love having building blocks of bases ready to go so I can pull together a delicious dinner or packed lunch in a hurry.
Usually, for me, meal prep is weather dependent. So if it’s cold I’ll make tonnes of soup or take advantage of having the oven on and roast loads of veg and make banana bread to use up really ripe bananas. Or if it’s a warmer day, it can be as simple as peeling, rinsing and chopping veg, cooking some quinoa and mixing up a dressing. It’s a simple secret to always having things ready to go for picnics or meals on the move.
Key things to help your prep:
- Keep your jars. Coming to the end of your peanut butter or mustard? Use the last little bits as a base to a salad dressing. Or if you’re a scraper like me and use every last bit, then sterilize them and keep them ready for your food prep. All shapes and sizes are great!
- Invest in some glass lunch boxes that stack well in your fridge.
- Clear a shelf or space in your fridge so that you can easily see, at a glance, what’s ready to go.
5 things I do:
- Boil eggs, lots of them! These are always a great base for a salad, eg my BLT salad from ‘Eat Happy’, throw them into a noodle soup or just pack for an on the go breakfast or snack.
- Roasted Veg. Whatever veg I have lying around, I will chop it all up and roast with some garlic and oil. It’s great on it’s own or mixed into quinoa or with leftover chicken.
- Cook some quinoa, lentils or noodles. Quinoa keeps really well and is great mixed in with veg, a leftover curry or even with berries and compote in the morning. Soba noodles also work really well cold, just make sure you rinse them under lots of cold water & drizzle them in some oil after they’re cooked.
- Make a pesto, dressing or dip. Mine changes all the time depending on what I’ve got lying around, so blend up whatever you’ve got- it makes a lovely addition to any dish. Here’s my turmeric dip for inspiration.
- Happiness Balls! No matter what, I’ve always got these in a glass jar in my fridge. Perfect for hungry visitors and to take out with you. Make mine here.
Do you meal prep? I’d love to know more of your ideas! I actually love the process of doing it as it makes me feel ready to take on the week, knowing I’ve got food that makes me happy to hand.
For heaps more ways to save time & for more tips & tricks, get your hands on my cookbook ‘Eat Happy’ or head to my website www.melissahemsley.com
Come and say hello on my Instagram and share your recipe pics with me @melissa.hemsley