My Top 3 Meal Prep Hacks to Save You Time and Money

Hello, everyone, and welcome to Your Own Wellbeing, the podcast. My name is Catherine Henderson, and I am your coach. Today our episode is “Catherine’s Top Three Meal Prep Hacks.” I’m so excited to share these with you today.

Now, you should know that I’ve just released a new free online course called Meal Prep Maven. If you haven’t grabbed it yet, you definitely should. You should consider this episode to be a little bit of a preview of all the goodies you will find in that course. It’s almost like the Cliff Notes version of that course. You do really need to grab it because, number one, it’s free. Why would you not grab it? And number two, so many different videos, recipes, and bonus items are in there. That truly is a great value to you! There are over 125 recipes included, and there’s a dashboard where you actually can take those recipes, post them into a planner section, and it will generate meal plans for you, which is a game changer!

The course itself tells you all about how to save time, how to save money, how to do meal prep, what tools to use, and all the details that you need to know about meal prepping. I literally put everything I could think I had to do with meal prepping into this course. I did it in the way that I like to do it, which is about saving time and saving money.

Those are the two most important things to me about meal prepping. Those are the things that like have to happen, or else I’m not meal-prepping. Okay, so grab the course.

All right now, what I wanted to do today is share my three meal prep hacks, my favorite three meal prep hacks to save you time and money.

Okay, let’s jump right in. Number one is to build on simple bases. What I mean by that is when you do your meal prep, I want you to think about choosing recipes that have some sort of base ingredient that is very simple that you can build on top of.

Probably my three favorite ones are quinoa, rice, and sweet potatoes.
The other one that I would add to the list is not my favorite one, but greens are a great one. So like salad or mixed greens, that type of base.

The reason why I say to choose a simple base is because you can make these bases for your recipes very easily. Then you can just add different proteins and different flavorings to have different meals with different flavor profiles. This will keep you from feeling like you’re just repeating the same thing over and over.

So, for instance, these base ingredients, rice, quinoa, greens, and sweet potatoes, I’m never going to get tired of those specific ingredients. I’m only going to get tired of them if I have them the same way every single day.

So like a lot of people, when they think about meal prep, they often imagine the broccoli, rice, and chicken that you see a lot of bodybuilder meal prep people do, right? That seems to be the bodybuilder’s staple meal prep meal.

When we think about that, we’re like, ” ugh, meal prep.” You know? If that’s the way you’re planning on meal prep, or that’s the way you perceive meal prep to be, you’re not going to want to do it. Right? Nobody wants to eat that day in, day out, week after week, month after month.

But if you will build your recipes on a simple basis, it’s very easy to change the profile, the flavor profile of your meal, and have something that’s really tasty.

Now here’s the great benefit of this- this is going to save you so much time and so much money by planning your meals this way because these base ingredients are inexpensive.

If you think about rice, we eat a ton of rice and beans in my family. That is a go-to for us. I eat rice and beans almost every day. At least a few times a week, I will have those ingredients. It’s great for my gut health, by the way, and it is so cheap. Our grocery budget has decreased exponentially since we started implementing this. It’s going to save you a lot of money by using these staple ingredients. That’s why people use them, right?

It’s going to save you time because if you think about it- let’s just say you wanted to use rice as a base for your meals for an entire week, and you cook just one large batch of rice, and then you can divide it up between your meals. It saves a ton of time, and it stretches your ingredients so much further. I’m just telling you, it is a game-changer. Okay? That’s why it hit my list at number one.

Number two is to treat your kitchen like a lab. I’m a pharmacist, and you guys know I worked for a long time at a compounding pharmacy. The compounding pharmacy is a lab, it’s a true science lab where we have all the cool lab equipment. What I learned to do in that environment is to create processes.

We would have standard operating procedures, SOPs are what they’re called. Having those standard procedures made it so that, yes, our products turned out the same every time. It made it so that everything was uniform and turned out the way it should be. If you got a batch of something one month, and then you got a batch of something again the next month, it should be the same potency and all that. So procedures are very important in a compounding lab.

But the other benefit of SOPs, these procedures, and kind of treating your kitchen like it’s a lab is that you get really good, really effective at the processes. So treating your kitchen like a lab means that you want to do things like start clean, clean as you go, and finish clean, right? Having an organized kitchen, that’s a big game changer there.

You can repeat this process on smaller and smaller tasks. So having your kitchen organized is like the top level. Then when you think about your meal prep itself, think about the processes and the steps involved in an overall meal plan. Say you’re doing a meal plan for a week; having the processes for that particular meal prep could look like this: You thought ahead of time, thought about what order you want to do things in so that you have the quickest amount of time, then actually repeating that entire meal plan, and a month from now or a few weeks from now your are perfecting those processes.

Then you can take it down and narrow it down even further into particular things. So, for instance, let’s just say you’re making rice, you have your procedure for making rice. Now I know it seems obvious, like, “I’m just going to follow the instructions on the pack.” That’s true. That’s where you start. But then you find out things like, “I don’t know the humidity or the elevation or something of where I live, I need to cook my rice a few minutes longer, or I need to add a few extra tablespoons of water to it to get the best outcome here.”

So learning those little individual things, treating your kitchen like a lab, making notes of those, and perfecting those processes, is going to save you a lot of time in the future. This is more of a tip for saving time, but it will also save you money because it will prevent you from ruining different recipes and things like that along the way by just improving upon your processes week after week after week.

The other note that I’ll add to that is having the mindset of having your kitchen be a lab; when you think about a lab, a science lab, in particular, you think about experiments. Having the mindset on meal prep that everything you’re doing is a bit of an experiment leaves your mind open to figuring things out.

That’s the part of science that I love. You do something, and maybe it doesn’t turn out, but now you know what not to do. So you can perfect it in the future. Having that mindset around your meal prep is going to keep you on track, and it’s going to keep you getting better and better at it, saving more time and saving more money. My favorite.

Okay, and the last tip that I have for you, tip number three, or hack number three for meal prepping, is also one of my favorites. That’s why I made my top three list. It might be the one that im the best at. It is cutting corners.

Now, this is like the only place in life where anyone’s ever going to tell you to cut corners. Everybody always talks about cutting corners, like cutting corners is a bad thing. In a lot of cases, I’m sure that it is, but not when it comes to meal prep. Here’s what I mean, I will often read a recipe, and I will think, “I’m not doing that. That’s stupid. That’s going to take a long time. I know how I could do that faster.” Maybe this is just the way that I am. I’m always looking for the fastest way to do something. But when I say cut corners, I mean exactly that.

I mean, look at the recipe that you’re considering and think about what you could do to make it go a little bit faster. I’ve noticed that in a lot of recipes, a lot of recipes are written by people that I would consider to be foodies. Personally, I’m not a foodie. I enjoy good food. I enjoy food prepared by people that are foodies when I’m going to a restaurant for a special event, but I don’t need that in my home and in my life every single day. I don’t need fancy food. I need food that is going to fuel my body, that is going to satisfy me, and that’s going to get me the nutritional value that I’m looking for.

So a lot of times, there are extra steps and recipes that maybe would add a little bit more flavor to a meal, maybe they would make your protein a little more tender, I don’t know. There are a lot of things that you can do that really amp up your cooking and make your meals turn out better. And that’s great if you are really attached to your food tasting amazing.

If that’s you, then you don’t have to follow this tip of cutting corners. But if you’re like me, you see food as fuel, it has to be good enough, but it doesn’t have to be great. If you want to make it yourself, you want to save time, and you want to save money, then look for places to cut corners.

Okay, now some good examples that I have of cutting corners are choosing recipes that perhaps have some sort of sauce in there that they want you to make. I don’t have time to make that, so I will swap out the sauce for something that I approve of a lot of times. I will use something like a marinara because it has very few ingredients. I know that I enjoy it, and I know that there are a lot of nutritional benefits to it.

So I’ll swap out whatever fancy sauce they have for something simple like a marinara, olive oil vinaigrette, or like olive oil balsamic with a little bit of herb in it. That’s easier for me to make than a lot of times some of these sauces that require you to get a blender out and do all of these fancy things, right? So that’s one place where I tend to cut corners.

The other place is if ever the recipe calls for cooked chicken, you can count on me purchasing a rotisserie chicken; I’m not going to go through the process of cooking chicken when I can buy chicken it’s already cooked. Okay? Im just not going to do it. So that’s a place where you can save time. Now it’s not always saving money when you buy a rotisserie chicken, but it definitely saves time.

I also buy my eggs already boiled and peeled. I love boiled eggs. I love to have them. Don’t love to cook them and don’t love to peel them. However, it doesn’t take that long. But I’m just saying if you’re looking for a way to save some time, there it is. So those are different ideas that I have for you for how to cut corners. I’m sure they are even more if you have gotten some ideas for how to cut corners. I’m here for it. Post them in the comments and share them so that the rest of us can learn from you.

All right, so those are my three top hacks for how to meal prep. I hope that you will check out Meal Prep Maven; it literally has been a labor of love. I’ve put so much goodness into it. I’m so proud of the work that I did on it, and I know that you will benefit from it. If you will take the course and go through it, you’ve got so much to learn. So check it out. The link is below.

I will talk to you guys soon. Bye now

Click here to join our FREE Meal Prep Course and gain access to this FREE recipe database: Meal Prep Maven Registration

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