Are you getting tired of wondering what’s for dinner or worse, throwing away a bunch of food because it went bad? Yeah, us too! That’s why our Cervasi team is sharing tips on meal planning and meal prepping. Because we know that we can all use a little extra time and a few more dollars.
Meal Planning 101
Meal planning is relatively simple to do. Just carve out time to plan what you want to eat for the next week. You can do this by writing out the entrees you’d enjoy having, as well as side dishes and any desserts, and developing a list of ingredients. Next, you’ll want to check your refrigerator and pantry to see what you already have and then create a grocery list for the ingredients you need to buy.
Meal Prepping Basics
Back from shopping? Great! Now that you have the ingredients you need, set aside time to prepare and batch-cook those meals. (Our informal poll shows that Sundays are a popular day for meal prep.) Next, portion the meals in containers to make for a quick and tasty transition to a lunchbox or dinner plate.
Meal Planning Motivation
- Make your meal planning even easier with themed days. Consider trying a Meatless Monday or categorizing your meals by Italian, American or Mexican is a fun idea, too.
- Start a new family tradition like Pizza Party Fridays. Simplified® founder Emily Ley started a tradition with her family where they order pizza every Friday night and had cinnamon rolls on Saturday mornings. Having a food-centered tradition like this can be fun for a family, especially with young children. And it makes it easier for parents because there are fewer meal options to think about.
- Plan meals with similar ingredients. This helps you buy in bulk, save time at the grocery store and can minimize food waste.
- And these tips come from our chef partner Lauren Lane:
– Double up! When you make a favorite dish, double the recipe and freeze the extra for a quick meal later.
– Depending on your family size, freeze meals in single or portions for two, so they reheat faster and there’s no waste.
– Wash and chop your extra fruits and vegetables separately so you can easily pull out as needed for a fresh snack or quick side dish.
– Label your dishes with the name of the dish and date prepared. (Lauren says this tip has saved her more than once!)
Cervasi Recipes Ideal for Meal Prepping
- Our Creamy Pasta Salad is a tasty side dish that you can make ahead and use for several meals.
- Create this Spaghetti Bolognese sauce and a small batch of pasta on day one, and then add the cooked sauce to freshly cooked or refrigerated pasta on subsequent days.
- Our Traditional Lasagna recipe is great for Sunday meal-prepping — or make up a batch of our Slow-Cooker Lasagna Soup for a new twist on this classic favorite.
We hope we inspired you to try our meal planning and prepping tips!