So you’ve done your research, you’ve read the book,+ you have a start date — you’re just about ready to begin your Whole30, but you’re not sure you’ll have the time to cook. You probably won’t have time to cook every night, but that won’t prevent you from doing a Whole30. All thanks to the time saving beauty of weekend meal prep. Whether you’re preparing for your first Whole30 or you simply want to begin cooking more of your meals — these tips will help you make the time to cook, despite your busy schedule.
1] COMMIT TO DOING YOUR HOMEWORK
The thought of doing more homework probably doesn’t appeal to you, but creating a plan is one of the best things you can do to make your Whole30 journey easier! Figuring out what to eat + what to cook as you go may *seem easier*, but it’s not worth it in the long run — trust me. Save yourself the time + the energy by committing to make a plan. The next 30 days are your chance to try out new recipes + get creative with your cooking. Contrary to popular belief, Whole30 recipes are delicious + you may even continue making some of the recipes after it ends!
2] PLAN YOUR MENU
Whole30 recipes are usually very simple, use few ingredients + don’t take much time! But a word of advice — try + stay away from recipes that are *re-makes* of your non-Whole30 favorite foods. Chances are you love something like pizza because of the bread or the cheese, not because of the tomato sauce ++ making a Whole30 approved *pizza* will just leave you disappointed. You’ll compare that new recipe to the real deal ++ *pizza* without the crust or the cheese is NOT pizza, my friends. Save yourself the heartbreak + try out recipes for foods you’ve never had before — you’ll have nothing to compare it to + the food will be delicious in its own right!
Choosing 1-2 breakfast recipes + 3-4 lunch//dinner recipes [depending on serving size] is a safe place to start for the week. The thought of making that many recipes for one week may scare you a little [or a lot], but it doesn’t need to! Pick out recipes that sound good to you + that won’t be too difficult for you to prepare. Don’t know where to look? Check out a few of our favorite places to find Whole30 recipes.
+good ol’ Buzzfeed
3] WRITE OUT YOUR PLAN + MAKE A LIST
Now that you have your recipes, you’re ready to create a meal calendar for the week. Take a look at the number of servings each recipe makes + fill in your calendar accordingly. Be mindful of which leftovers won’t last as long + plan to eat those earlier in the week. Once your calendar is complete — make a shopping list + head to the store!
4] GET ORGANIZED + START CHOPPIN’
Start washing, peeling, + chopping your produce for the week. Prepping as much as possible will save you time in case you need to throw a meal together in a hurry. Preparing your fruit + veggies ahead of time will make it easier to snack smart + stick to your goals. You can store the chopped produce in airtight containers in the fridge for up to a week.
5] COOK THINGS AHEAD OF TIME
Want to eat a salad with chicken this week? How about a frittata for breakfast? Or maybe steak with roasted vegetables? Yep, each of these can at least be partially prepared — before the week even begins. Season + cook the proteins you plan to eat during the week + store them in an airtight container. That way, you’ll be able to simply *assemble* a meal when you’re starving + need to eat now. Leafy-green salads can be assembled, leaving out the *wet* ingredients for now, without fear of soggy salad [ewww!]. Frittatas are also a great recipe choice — they can be fully made in advance, can be eaten alone or served on top of greens, + keep well in the fridge. Lastly, you can roast veggies ahead of time + just add them as sides to your meals. If you aren’t a fan of leftover cooked veggies because you think they’re too soft — you can cook them *most of the way*, or leave them chopped + raw + simply finish cooking them when you’re ready to eat.
Meal prep may seem like a lot of work, but we believe in you! If you have any great meal prep tips, we want to know! Comment below + share how you make weekday cooking easier!
+ Teresa [@tasandoval], OSU CHAARG