Meal Prep 101

BY Natalie - March 16, 2023

Now that back-to-school season is here and life is about to get a bit more structured and busy, meal prep becomes a much more useful tool to help get dinner on the table fast and with less stress.

This information was pulled from my Member Meal Prep Guide that you also have access to, so go download and print it out if you haven’t already! By following my simple strategy, you’ll be able to consistently eat healthy meals, reduce food waste, and get dinner on the table fast during the week!

As a Cooking Club member, you’ll also get access to my Guide to Meal Prep video so you can get all the pro tips!!

The Meal Prep Guide

What you’ll get:

  • The Meal Prep Strategy
  • Meal Prep Day Plan
  • How To Cook the Basics
  • Tips for Storing
  • Pantry Staples List (print this one out and keep it in your kitchen to reference when making your grocery list!)
  • Essential Meal Prep Tools with links (or read my Fall Meal Prep essential tools blog)

One Hour of Easy Prep for Fast Weeknight Dinners

Meal prepping is KEY to being able to throw dinners together quickly during the week. If time is a barrier for you to get dinner on the table, meal prepping is the answer. 

It doesn’t have to be scary, stressful, or take up half the day either. Instead of cooking different meals at once, you’re just prepping/cooking different components of your meals. My fool-proof method will make meal prep feel a lot less scary.

By having different components of your meals already prepped or cooked and ready-to-go, you will be way more likely and excited to cook dinner instead of ordering take-out or eating popcorn for dinner (we’ve all been there!).

While you’re doing the prep for all of your Cooking Club recipes, you can cook some extra grains, lentils, sauce, etc… to throw easy lunches together and stretch your ingredients even more. 

You’ll feel so happy, nourished, and proud when you open your fridge and see cooked farro and lentils, a yummy sauce, and vegetables that are already cut up and ready to be eaten or roasted. 

Trust me, it’s worth it!

The Meal Prep Strategy

Because of my personal chef business, I’ve learned how to be super-efficient in the kitchen. I’ve come up with a really solid way to organize your meal prep day so that it goes as smoothly and quickly as possible. 

On Sunday (or whichever day you dedicate your meal prep too), make a list organized by the cooking method of all the food that needs to be cooked or prepped (see table on next page). If you’re a Cooking Club member, I do this all for you!

The goal is to have all of the make-ahead components of your meals prepped and ready to go so your dinners come together super fast.

It’s helpful to always have extra of these components prepped for lunches or other meals:

  • Cooked grains
  • Cooked protein (beans, lentils, tofu, chicken, meatballs)
  • A sauce or dressing
  • Washed and prepped veggies
  • Toasted nuts or seeds

Meal Prep Day Plan

Organize all of the things you need to do by cooking method. Below is an example. I create this table for you each week with our weekly menus 🙂

Here is an example:

The table looks like a lot, but multitasking makes it go by super fast! Here’s how you go about it for any meal prep session:

  1. If the prep list includes anything in the “oven” category, always start by preheating your oven.
  2. Get anything going on the stove that you can walk away from (cooking grains, lentils, etc…).
  3. Next, prep all of your veggies (sweet potatoes, veggies, tomato, kale, fennel, cucumber, cilantro). Prioritize the veggies if you plan on roasting them or using them for soup.
  4. If you need to use the oven to roast veg or make a soup on the stove, your veg is prepped and ready to go! You could stop at prepping the veg (doing this alone is a huge time saver during the week and reduces food waste) or go the extra mile and get that soup going and veggies roasted.
  5. Since everything that needs to be cooked is cooking, now you can finish your cold prep. Finish chopping any veg, make your dressing, throw together your spice mix, etc…
  6. You’re done!

Two ways to meal prep!

Some people find it easiest to set aside an hour or two on the weekend to prep all of their components for the week. This is the classic way to do it and is what I’m teaching you to do in this post.

However, I know a lot of members don’t like to do it this way. Instead, they will print their meal prep table and put it on the fridge.

When they have time in the day to quickly cook the farro, chop some veggies, or throw together the dressing, they’ll do it and then cross it off the list. Throughout the course of a day or two, most items will be crossed off!

Not a Cooking Club member yet?!

Let me help you take the guess work and decision fatigue out of weeknight dinners.

When you join, you’ll get 3-4 seasonal recipes every week along with a weekly prep guide, grocery list, and cooking videos! I want to help you save time and money and become a better cook!

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