We’ve all been there—the workday winds down and we’re hit with the dreaded question, “What’s for dinner?” Enter meal planning and prepping. Eliminate some of the stress and hangry feelings by getting ahead of the game with a great (and delicious) meal plan. Check out these dos and donts to make the planning and prepping process as easy as possible.
DON’T overfill your fridge
It can be tempting to stock up and make sure you have a wealth of options and ingredients at home when you start meal planning but it’s also easy to overfill the fridge. Buying too many things at once can lead to food waste and money spent on things that don’t actually get eaten (and lost in the back of the fridge). Instead, stick with the staples you know you’ll eat, buy in smaller quantities if you can, and consider freezing leftovers (like soups, stew, and chili) that you can enjoy in future.
DO meal prep things you actually want to eat
One of the biggest pitfalls with meal planning and prepping is choosing things you don’t actually want to eat just because you saw a trendy recipe or video online. When you start planning consider recipes and meals you enjoy and stick to your wheelhouse to start.
DON’T try to meal prep everything
The goal of meal prepping is to make life easier. Trying to prep a week’s worth of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners can be overwhelming. Try prepping one meal per day instead as an easier introduction to the process as you find what works best for you. Looking for a suggestion? Try overnight oats for breakfast, or a layered mason jar salad for a healthy lunch on the go you can make ahead of time.
DO meal prep basic staples like fruits and veggies
Can’t commit to prepping a full meal? Don’t sweat it. Try prepping ingredients instead to save time when you’re ready to cook. Wash fruits and veggies so they’re ready to eat and chop and peel them to make it even easier to throw together a stir fry, casserole, or a quick and easy flatbread pizza. Consider investing in a new set of storage containers (try Homesense or Dollarama) to stay organized and make room in your fridge or freezer.
DON’T leave it to last minute
Meal prepping and planning requires—you guessed it—a plan. Set time aside each week to plan for the week ahead and make a list of what you’ll be cooking and what you need to buy. The goal of planning and prepping is to feel prepared and take the guesswork out of mealtime. As you continue plan week over week, you’ll quickly learn more tips and tricks to save you time (and money) and to satisfy your taste buds.