The “One Thing” Strategy
Those of you who’ve been here for the long haul know I’m a big fan of meal planning. As a working mom of three who values family dinner with my crew, there’s no way I could pull it off without a plan. And that doesn’t mean that every night is an elaborate made-from-scratch meal. You can sprinkle in cheater dinners or super easy dinners to help. And no judgement if there’s “takeout” or “dinner out” written on your meal plan from time to time.
That said, I’m not a huge fan of meal prep. I don’t love food that’s cooked in advance and reheated. Especially proteins like chicken or steak. It just doesn’t taste good. Simple meals that rely on seasonal ingredients are all you need. Learn to cook a few staples and let the rest fall in place.
Family dinner is really about the experience of sitting down together, and I want to help alleviate the stress involved in making that happen!
Meal planning is about routine more than anything else. Get in the habit of taking a few minutes on the weekend to look at your calendar and make a plan for the week ahead. If you haven’t downloaded my free meal planning workbook and templates, don’t miss out! I walk you through the meal planning process step by step. You’ll be planning like a pro in no time!
Meal prep, while not something I spend my precious Sunday afternoons doing, does have a bit of logic to it. Energy is spent on the weekend instead of on a busy weeknight. Although, if you learn a few basic knife skills, prep time will be cut down on the regular.
The meal prep philosophy I do subscribe to is called “one thing.” Look at your refrigerator on Sunday and prep one thing for the week ahead. Maybe it’s cutting up fruit, or washing and cutting celery and carrot sticks.
Here’s a list of ideas to get you started on the “one thing” mentality. I’m not suggesting you do all of these, just pick one. Real over achiever? Then fine, pick two. Then smile because you got a leg up on Monday.
A jar of super simple salad dressing is your best friend. Double or triple the recipe to make it last. Good extra-virgin olive oil will solidify in the refrigerator, just let it sit at room temp before using and give it a good shake.
Cut celery or carrot sticks. They’re a great snack to have on hand, and they can easily be diced later in the week to use as mire poix for soups or sauces. Or slice some cucumbers or bell peppers instead. Serve with an herbed yogurt sauce or white bean dip during the week.
Dice a couple onions and store in a glass container with a tight fitting lid.
Peel 10 cloves of garlic (enough for a full week) and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Cut cantaloupe or melon and store for breakfast fruit.
Peel any bananas that are past their prime and freeze for smoothies and banana bread down the road.
I had an Instagram follower share recently that she likes to halve cherry tomatoes and toss them with sliced shallots, olive oil and balsamic. She uses the marinated tomatoes on salads or even scooped on scrambled eggs. Share in comments if you have a favorite way to prep produce ahead!
Make a big sheet pan of mixed roasted vegetables. You can reheat in a 350 degree oven and they’ll still taste good. Or toss them with salad greens for an easy lunch, tossed with the salad dressing you’ve made ahead of course! You can also use them in easy weeknight frittatas or healthy egg scrambles.
Hard boil a batch of eggs on the stove or in your Instant Pot. If you’re really feeling efficient, peel them afterwards and store in an airtight container. They’ll be ready to grab and go for quick breakfasts during the week. I like to slice and add them to a toasted English muffin topped with Everything Bagel seasoning. Or add to salads to make deviled eggs for an after school snack!
P.S. If you missed my most recent meal plan, you can find it here.
P.S.S. If you want to download my free meal planning workbook, download it here.