Soon, many children will be out of school but, unfortunately, adults still have to work and that means they still have to think about meals for the entire week. Everyone knows that getting takeaway for lunch gets expensive—and no, eating two doubles is not a solution to this. Of course, you can take a doubles break here and there, but when life calls for a solid lunch meal, doubles just won’t cut it.
We have more than a few tips, tricks and methods that will make meal prepping a breeze. Do not think you’re getting strictly salads and veggies for this meal prep, we are talking meal prep for seriously hearty and delicious lunches.
Stick With A Veggie (In Season Preferably)
Cooking one vegetable for an entire week saves time and money. If you learn to cook one veggie in several ways then there is absolutely no way that you will become bored with that vegetable. For example, if pumpkin is in season and you are getting a great price per pound, then purchase it. Roast your pumpkin and save half to puree with chicken or vegetable stock in order to make a soup and half as a side dish. You can also boil your pumpkin and mash it and then use the rest to mix in with mac and cheese. That’s four meals with only two cooking methods. Just start thinking ahead and use the Internet and Propa Eats to your advantage when looking for creative recipes.
Capitalise On A Sunday Lunch
If you’re usually the person cooking up a storm on a Sunday morning, then use that opportunity to make extra for throughout the week. After all, you’re already doing all that cooking—why not do a few extras to make your week easier? Popular Sunday lunch items like dhal, callaloo and red beans freeze well and can easily be integrated into lunch throughout the week. Those foods can also be thinned out to make soup so that your lunch doesn’t repeat the entire Sunday lunch menu.
Our favourite ways to capitalise on Sunday lunch:
Stewed/Roasted/Curried Chicken – Besides the obvious reheating and eat option, you can also shred the meat off the chicken and turn it into chicken salad for sandwiches or extra protein for salads.
Rice – Make stale rice into flavourful fried rice filled with veggies and protein (maybe leftover chicken?) or add it to salads to make it even healthier.
Veggies – Roasted or steamed veggies are great for throwing into omelettes, macaroni pies for extra nutrients, or adding to fried rice and salads.
Write It Down
Writing down your plans for the week can help you keep your meal plan on track and remind you of exactly what needs to be cooked. The most heavily used excuse against meal prepping is, “I’m just too busy.” Writing down your meal plans, especially with a schedule attached, will help you organise meal prepping around even the busiest of weeks.
Most people find the time to meal prep on a Sunday, however, Sundays are not always clear —scheduling your meal prep will help you determine which days of the week it can be spread across. Try to keep it consistent. We recommend fitting meal prep into the days where you have already decided to cook (whether it is for a party or dinner). You will find that it’s a lot easier to dedicate days to the kitchen than to always have to deal with clean-up and prep.
Meal prepping also helps you decipher what dishes go together and what is needed from the grocery. Create a list of what is needed against what you have in your kitchen cupboards so that nothing is missed out. Leftovers and on-hand ingredients do not always make the most sense however, writing it down can help clear up what may seem like a confusing mess of dishes and ingredients. Additionally, you may realise from looking at your schedule that an odd combination like tomatoes, boiled eggs and potatoes would make a delicious potato salad.
Cook and Think Multipurpose
‘Tomato choka’ does not have to be just ‘tomato choka’. Instead, it can be a delicious sauce for chicken and rice or blended and made into a yummy roasted tomato pasta sauce. Simply thinking outside of the box can open up your meal prepping abilities and allow you to whip up simply delicious and gourmet meals in almost no time. Always think of the main ingredient in a dish and remember what it’s used for in other dishes. For example, beef is the main ingredient for stewed beef and it is also used in sandwiches. If you really don’t feel like eating stewed beef again then, use the beef as you would any other chunk of beef and throw it in a sandwich or in pasta. Bear this in mind when cooking and always make more.
Keep Time in Your Mind
Time is of the essence when meal prepping. Always think of what will take longest and begin with that. Simmering beans, cooking meat and basically anything into the rice or slow cooker will take extremely long so, begin with that.
Keeping time in your mind also means knowing when to cut corners. There is no shame in opening a can of beans instead of boiling them for hours. There is also nothing wrong with making use of canned tuna, salmon or sardines. They can easily be made into yummy snacks and lunch with minimal ingredients. We suggest making sardine, salmon or tuna salad on a Sunday evening and keeping it in the fridge to add to salads or toast for easy breakfasts and snacks.