Meal Prep 101: SBFC Style!
Our goal at South Bay Food Company is to take the stress out of healthy eating!
This is why we have created a meal prep crash course for anyone in need of a simple place to start their empowering foodie journey.
If you don't have time to cook or have no idea of what to cook, no worries, we’ve got your back! We are more than happy to whip you up a weekly (or even monthly) delicious set of meals to-go (AND we’ll deliver them ourselves!). You can find our meal plans on our website under the MEAL PREP tab. #shamelessplugbecauseweloveourfoodiefamily
Now, we know first hand that meal prepping can feel like a chore at times, and who wants an extra chore on their plate when they can toss that dish into the washer and pick up a quick McDonald's in between errands, meetings, and papers? No one! Luckily, meal prepping doesn't have to be a chore. Rather, meal prepping can be a relaxing, and perhaps even meditative, ritual if we want it to be; a natural habit we can develop over time to help us save calories, minutes, and mental energy.
But where to begin?? Let’s take that first step together (because that’s what family is for!).
STEP 1: Commit to Self-Care (Because You’re Worth It)
Though self-care can look like bubble baths, scented candles, face masks, and a glass of smoky, red wine, it also comes in many other forms such as simply drinking a glass of water or making the bed. Not every kind of self-care has to be extravangant to make a positive impact on your mental and physical health, so let's treat ourselves to extra time in our days by meal prepping once a week. Why? Because you deserve a break (or five) during the day to enjoy an energizing and rejuvenating breakfast, lunch, and dinner regardless of how packed your schedule is.
Tip: Committing to self-care with a friend is easier than doing it alone.
STEP 2: Create a List of Meals (You’ll Actually Eat)
If you already know what you like to eat during the week then food-tastic! Not all of us, however, are as decisive or well-versed in the art of our tastebuds. Don’t worry, we understand the struggle of staring into a fully stocked fridge: starving eyes wander the shelves in panic as if there is nothing to eat because there are so many combinations one could cook up that any meal you can think of doesn't seem to be worth the anxiety!! Ahh!!! <--- This is why a visual aid is crucial. Think of this list as a reference point (unless lists give you anxiety then perhaps focus on a food-filled vision board to inspire you instead).
If you have time to make your list, sit back, relax, and search the web! Explore the various kinds of recipes that blogger-parents and international chef's have to offer. Maybe create a document or pinterest board to help you collect your favorites. If you don't have time though that’s okay too! There are plenty of quick ways to develop your menu such as reusing previous recipes you know you like or by posting on social media to ask for friend and family reccomendations.
Tip: When starting out as a meal prep newbie, avoid committing to foods that you’re not sure about to save yourself from a potentially disappointing meal that could deter you from ever prepping again.
STEP 3: Collect the Ingredients
!WARNING: DO NOT GO SHOPPING IF YOU ARE HUNGRY!
Hungry shopping can lead to side affects that include but are not limited to: impulse buying, awkward stomach growling, hangry texts that lead to unwanted conflict, missing ingredients that were actually on the list, and an insatiable desire for every flavor of ice cream Ben & Jerry's has to offer. As the South Bay's most renouwned food doctors, we prescribe you with a snack to be taken before every grocery shop to avoid developing bad habits.
If you already have all of the ingredients in your house then you must be one of the food-tastic eaters mentioned in step 1.
Tip: Shop with a detailed list! "Winging it" can result in forgotten items or items not needed. Like how did that cute little puppy get in there?!
STEP 4: Set Up Your Meal Prep Station
Not everyone preps the same way and that's okay! We love that you do you! We still suggest, however, that you provide yourself with easy access to the tools and ingredients that you need in order to cook. This helps save time and effort during the meal prepping process. Rather than wasting time stressing over where you last saw the blender you can lesiurely chop into the rhythmn of cooking because you know everything you need is right in front of you (If you’re the type of person who thrives on controlled chaos because laying out your color-coded Tupperware exactly an inch apart stresses you out then please skip this step for your sanity and hurricane about your kitchen like the Tazmanian Devil).
Tip: Doing dishes here and there as you cook helps not only save space in the kitchen but also saves you from more work later when you’re tired post successful prep sesh.
STEP 5: Start Chopping! Slicing! Mashing! (And More!)
Finally we can start cooking!! Sort of. This is the part where you shape your raw ingredients so that they're ready for the stove (oven, microwave, fridge, etc.)!
This part of the process is up to you and depends on the types of foods you are preparing. Perhaps you will work meal by meal or vegetable by vegetable. Either way, we reccomend that you do one task at a time and that you make sure to keep raw meats away from the rest of your ingrdients for safety purposes. If you're not sure about how to prepare something, Youtube is a Chef's best friend! You can also refer to some of our blog and Instagram posts that break down recipes and how-tos!
Tip: There are lots of ways you can make this step more entertaining than painful. I.E put on a playlist you can rock out to (just don’t use a knife as a microphone), listen to an audiobook or podcast, cut your food into fun shapes (no, we are not too old for star shaped PB&J sandwiches), etc.
STEP 6: Stack! Mix! Heat! Cool!
Since all of the ingredients are ready to go you can finally put everything together! Yes, this means you can actually cook the stuff you have been preparing (the suspense has been killing us too). Saute', grill, bake, chill, and stack until you have a week's worth of dishes before you! Go ahead, post them on Instagram. We won't judge!
Tip: Work on putting together one meal at a time. Double tasking may sound like a good idea but it has been known to result in a taco salad becoming a a fruit salad.
STEP 7: Seal and Store
Before you give into the temptation to taste your wonderful creations seal and store your meals so that they are easily accessible to you during the busiest times of the week. You'll appreciate yourself for this particularly when you want to stress eat because your boss has just told you that everyone has to stay late through dinner time for an emegency meeting that has to do with the latest project you just spent the last two weeks on(....just us?).
Tip: We recommend reuseable glass containers for the most fresh and Earth-friendly results! Maybe even toss in a half a cup of water for those fresh, leftover veggies.
STEP 8: Thank Yourself Now & Later
Pat yourself on the back for taking the time to self-care! Just imagine how content Future You will be when you're savoring a meal you made from scratch. Instead of quickly munching on something greasy and stale, you have provided yourself with a positivley healthy alternative that will leave you feeling refreshed and ready for the next grown-up thing on your list!
Tip: Meal prepping snacks is also a wonderful form of self-care!
Whew, that was a lot to chew, right? Not to worry. Healthy eating takes practice and we're here to help. We hope you're proud of yourself, because even reading this articles means that you are determined to be your best self and that is exactly where healthy living starts!
Leave a message in the comments below if you have any meal prep tips and tricks up your apron sleeve!