Meal Prep - Without the Madness

Posted by Emily Poynter on

Hey all! I'll start this off by saying, I am probably not the typical blogger - I don't truly love writing (I don't hate it either) and most days I am on the hot mess express traveling at lightning speed towards the next dramatic toddler/preschooler meltdown. However, I get asked for tips, tricks, and hacks on meal prepping and cooking for the masses on a pretty regular basis and I've had friends ask if I'd ever considered writing a blog or sharing through other venues, but at the time, it was a hard "no". Now that I have a website already set up, it seems a little more doable. I'm not sure I have a whole lot to offer that's not already out there, but I'll give ya what I've got and if it helps someone out, awesome. 

Every time I think of blogging, I think of the super polished, Instagram-worthy pictures and the beautiful, seemingly put-together women behind them. I feel like the "sitting here blogging, leisurely sipping on my coffee" picture has become a blogger's right of passage. So you'll notice in the headlining picture, I went ahead and got that one out of the way. But, I'd also like this to be fun and real and honest.... so I'm gonna let you in on something... there's nothing in the cup. And my computer, no lie, just got pooped on by a bird...

I want this to be a space where no one ever feels intimidated or like I have it all together. I am so in the trenches with you sweet wives and mamas. You know, those trenches where makeup is a luxury and you're rocking the day 3 dry-shampooed hair and maybe the same shirt you slept in last night. I used to see those rockstar mamas who had a freezer full of meals made and wonder why even the thought of trying to do something like that seemed 1000% unattainable with the crazy life-stage we are in. So, if you saw "meal prep" and thought "ain't no one got time for that", know that if this hot mess mama can do it so can you! (PS I'm wasn't really going for the shabby-chic look with the chair.. I just haven't gotten around to repainting it)

Now that we've set the stage, I'll give you a few of my starter tips. Over the next week or two (I cringe even committing to a deadline because.. #momlife), I will start sharing recipes and showing the stages of prepping. I am down to my last couple freezer dinners so it's perfect timing for another big prep!

First - go pinterest crazy! I know, I know, that requires time and sometimes we don't have a ton of it. But here's the beauty of it, I've done a lot of legwork for ya! I have a whole pinterest board already committed to meal-prep, freezer-friendly meals. So feel free to go page through some of the headlines and pin what looks good to you. (tip: don't do it when you're hungry)

Next, find a time when you know you'll have a couple of days to commit 3-4 hours to putting meals together. The number of days/time totally depends on what recipes you pick and what chunk of time you want to spend prepping that day. I usually break it up into 2-3 hours over 2-3 days. This next week Tommy is coaching a youth football camp Tues-Thurs, but will be home somewhere around 2-4pm. I am working 7a-7p Sun and 11a-11p Monday, so I'll get the groceries Tues morning and then I'll plan on putting together some meals from around 4-6 Tues-Thurs. Then we will have dinners ready to go throughout the summer, so when schedules are crazy, our eating out will be kept to a minimum. (Keeping the end goal at the forefront of my mind always helps get me motivated)

Now, pick a few recipes (for your first-time pick maybe 3-5). Write the name of the recipes at the top of your page. Now write down each ingredient. If you are going in the store, I suggest writing the meats on one portion of the page, things you'd find down an aisle on another, and the outer rim like veggies and cheeses in another spot. Otherwise, you'll be running back and forth all over the store (although you'd definitely get your daily step count in). If you're like me and not sure when the next time you'll be kid free is, then go for the click list/pick up. Typically, I double each recipe and, for us, I will split it between 4 8x8 foil pans. But, we only have two adults and a 2 and 4-year-old eating at our house, so if you've got a bigger crowd at your house, you may want to plan for 3-4x the recipe and put them in 9x13 pans. Make sure you've got the foil pans on your list, plus aluminum foil or press n seal to cover them and if you're one that isn't a fan of baking them in foil containers, then grab some parchment paper. You can line the foil containers with parchment paper and freeze them. Then, when you're ready to bake it, you can easily transfer to a casserole dish or Corningware. 

Mom hack side note - when I do grocery pick up, I will leave 1-2 NON-ESSENTIAL things off my list. This way I get what I need, but the kids still have to go inside the store with me and learn how to act like upstanding citizens in public. 

As I unload the groceries, I group things on the counter according to recipe so I have some semblance of organization when I get started on the prep. I'm not going to go into the actual prep today, because holy moly this post is WAY longer than I ever intended. I'll just leave you with this - I know life is totally crazy, but that's why meal prepping is such a HUGE help to us. It is so doable and will make life during the week sooo much easier. I finally bit the bullet and jumped on the meal prep train because our football season meal rotation was a WHOLE lotta fast food nastiness. This has helped us clean up our act tremendously! 

Like I've said before, I'm not a professional writer or someone who is passionate about sharing via blog. I just know that this has helped our fam big time, so if it can help anyone else out, then it's totally worth it. 

Hope ya'll have an awesome day and are ready for some summer fun in the sun!



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