By Cassie Johnston
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I’ve mentioned a few times on here how my food prep binges on the weekend really help me stay on track with nutrition throughout the week. I hadn’t really thought much about writing a post about it until I saw the awesome Lindsay over at the The Lean Green Bean do her weekly series on her food prep routine. I was so inspired by everyone else’s food prep, that I thought maybe I should give you guys a small peek into mine as well. So this past weekend, I snapped some photos while I set off one of my patented kitchen bombs.
The first step for my food prep is to make a list. This shouldn’t surprise you. I’m pretty much the queen of lists. Ha! I did a little pre-list when I made my menu and went grocery shopping for the week, but now that it’s time to actually do the work, I make a “real” list and make sure to put it in the order I want to work.
After my list is made, I usually pull out all the ingredients I’ll need to get through the whole list. I’m lucky to have a giant island to spread out on. Having all the ingredients out and clumped together really saves me some time. Plus, I also like the visual of working my way through them. I put ingredients away as I’m finished with them, and as the counter starts to get empty, I know I’m closing in on the finish line.
To make the most out of my time, I try to start with the things that have an element of inactive work. Like making bread. I make a loaf of bread each week, and I get the dough together and rising first, before I do anything else. Bonus: because I’m working in the kitchen and have the stove and the oven on, it warms up and my dough rises better. Win!
Next, I just start working through my list. I try to keep like things together so I can use the same kitchen utensils without washing. Like, for example, I chop all my veggies for snacking…
…and then right after, I start working on my salads-in-a-jar. I’m not sure who the first person to think of putting a salad in the jar, but man, it is genius. I was skeptical when I first tried it, but just as long as the lettuce is separate from the dressing, it all stays fresh and crisp for days. My lunchtime veggie intake has skyrocketed thanks to these little salad jars stashed in the fridge. I usually dump the whole thing into a bowl, but Craig just shakes it up and eats it right out of the jar. It’s a a perfectly portable healthy lunch. Love ’em.
Once I’ve made it through my whole list, I stash everything on the top shelf of the fridge. Not only does it make it easy to get to, but it’s also the first thing we see when we open up the fridge door. I’m a believer that if I’m visually assaulted with healthy foods, I’m much more likely to eat healthy foods.
Curious what I made this week? Here’s the whole lot of it:
This, plus some other additions like cereal for breakfast or leftovers for lunch, will be enough food to get us through the week. It took me about three hours to get through all this cooking, but I know it saves so much more time than that during the week. It makes it so easy to grab breakfasts, lunches and snacks during the week. Honestly, the time and effort isn’t all that bad. The worst part about the whole thing? The pile of dishes afterward. Yeeeeesh.
But thankfully, I have an awesome husband who doesn’t mind cleaning up after I spent hours cooking us healthy, yummy food for the whole week.
Each week, I try to make 2-3 options for lunches, 2-3 options for breakfast and a handful of options for snacks. It changes each week. Here’s another food prep I did a few weeks back. In this one, you’ll see other food prep frequenters like granola bars, overnight oats, fruit and yogurt parfaits, and tuna salad. It all just depends on what we’re in the mood for.
Food prepping takes a pretty big time commitment, but for us, it’s a system that works, so that time is worth it. If you’ve never tried it before, I highly recommend making your own list and setting off a kitchen bomb of your very own!
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Yeesh, Pyrex is just the best isn’t it? All that food looks delicious! I’m thinking about purchasing a food processor just so I can finally make those darn peanut butter cookie date balls that call my name whenever I happen upon your blog.
I do some food prep on the weekend, but I actually love to prepare my meals during the week. There’s something therapeutic to me about taking some time each day to chop my veggies.
love this!!!! thanks for the shoutout!!!
On sunday, we get our groceries (list and meal plan done) and I usually make some kind of snack for the week (banana muffins, date balls, granola bars). We usually stick to our meal plan, and make enough to have leftovers for lunch the next day (even though I work at home, it is so much easier – decision wise – to have a ready made lunch). This just leaves breakfasts, and my husband always has cereal and almond milk, while I generally have a piece of fruit and Greek yoghurt/whatever snack I made. I’m one of those people who likes knowing what I am going to eat, so prepping/planning works very well for me!
Don’t the smoothies separate?
Depending on what’s in them, usually not. But when they do, a quick shake mixes them back up. :)
what is in your cherry chocolate smoothie?
I have tried to make smoothies for 2-3 days but they always turn out gross. The first one is YUM then the second one is just kinda gross and the third one is just nasty. I put protein powder in, do you think that is what makes them gross after a few days?
Great blog on meal prep! My kitchen looks the same after meal prepping! :) But those dishes are worth having your whole week mapped out!
Protein powder does tend to go yucky in smoothies pretty quickly. I’d try adding it right before drinking and then shake, shake, shaking really well!
This is a great post! I usually do some prep on the weekend as well. I cook a batch of grains, clean veggies and make a pot of soup.
But I’m curious. How long does the salad in a jar and the fruit and yogurt parfaits stay fresh? I would love to do something similar for my kids lunches — but not sure how far ahead I could make it before it would be yucky.
oh…. and smoothies too? How long? A day or two?
We’ll wait a whole week before eating the salads, parfaits or smoothies, but we haven’t ever got past that to test it. And it’s just a nice and fresh as the day I put it in the jar. :)
I notice you use plastic bottles for your smoothie. Is this what keeps them fresh for the week?
Nope, not plastic. They are glass bottles with plastic lids. I’m not sure if that has any difference or not.
Any suggestions on where I can purchase those glass bottles you use to make smoothies? I enjoy having one every morning and if i could make a weeks at a time, well, it would save me a lot of time. :)
I use freezable canning jars w/ plastic lids for smoothies and freeze them. They thaw quick enough and then they stay good until I am ready to eat them. 8 oz jars for side smoothies, 12 oz jars for full portion. I subscribe to once a month meals to do bulk cooking days. They have great recipes, too!
This may be a dumb question, but this is JUST for lunch and breakfast, right? My husband and I meal plan dinners for the week and I make enough for a family of 6 each night (2 servings for him, 1 for me, 2 lunch servings for him, 1 lunch for me!). I’m starting to wonder if it might be cheaper/more cost effective to do a normal dinner serving and do some lunch prep like this. Thoughts?
Yup, just lunches, breakfasts and snacks. We meal plan dinners too, and we often have leftovers, but we use them on leftover night for dinner or for lunch if we’re not interested in any of the food prep stuff. I have no clue if it’s more cost effective. We are not at all skilled at squeezing money out of our grocery budget. We spend a lot of money on food. :) And I’m okay with that.
I should do this.
I *could* this.
I think first things first I need to buy some good containers for food storage like it looks like you have. I do have a lot of good wide mouth mason jars, but they don’t work for everything.
I bought a set of plastic ones at Ikea but they melt. MELT!! Ugh.
Hey Cassie, normally I read your blog in Google Reader, today I decided to click over so I could enjoy the post AND your new design, but it’s really not looking great in my browser — the text font size is huge, the pictures are kind of small, and there are a lot of random blank spaces, as well as a weird overlap between some elements. I can resize the window and it all moves around and the pictures get huge for example, but then it’s too big to look at properly. I’m using Chrome Version 25.0.1364.160, on a Mac running OS X 10.8.2, if that’s any use to you… I thought the feedback might be helpful, but in the interim I will probably still be reading in Google so I’m not worried :p
Ok I just discovered that there is no button appearing to submit this comment with… I’ll have a look around and see what I can find! If you’re reading this, I got there in the end… :p
Hmmmm! That’s super strange Rosie, because I’m using pretty much the exact same set up as you and am not having those problems. The feedback is definitely helpful! Would you mind sending me a screenshot to email@example.com if you have a spare second? It might help me diagnose what’s going on. Thanks for letting me know!
That salad-in-a-jar idea is brilliant! Would you consider writing a post with a couple of easy variations (not too many ingredients)? I would love it, since I’m always in search of healthy packed lunch ideas that I can throw in my purse in 5 minutes or less :) and I’m sure I’m not the only one!
Yes! I would LOVE to know more about the salad-in-a-jar idea, too!
Cars jars.net has a lot of salad in jars ideas ☺️
Sure! I’d definitely think about writing a post about it. :)
What size are the jars you use for the salad-in-a-jar? What a wonderful idea. I am on day 7 of the 24 day challenge. All the tips I can get are helpful.
I use pint jars for side salads and quart size for main dishes. :)
Love this! I would love to see a photo of this every week… it would really give me some great ideas!
Totally agree. A photo and a list of what the foods are! :D Maybe it can give you bumps in traffic when you link to older blog posts? Just like you did with the overnight oats link here. Ach, I don’t need to tell you that, you totally knew what you were doing there… :)
Thanks for this wonderful post!
WOW! You are an inspiration to food preppers everywhere! Are you at home to consume this food all week? I love your very orderly group photo of the finished product. Thank you for sharing! Have a great day!
Yup! Sure am at home eating all this (and my husband takes it to work with him). :)
I have made a giant bowl of salad for the week, and made a main dish or two to have leftovers, but I’ve never done that much comprehensive food preparation,and I can’t wait to start! I think it will make a huge difference in getting through the week with unplanned indulgences due to laziness (confession!!) and when I start working again it will be one of the best ways to transition back to full time work after over 18 months off.
Thanks for this post!
Yep. Can’t say I’ve ever done any food prepping! My breakfasts and lunches are pretty simple, though, so I haven’t really felt the need. I will eat oatmeal or granola for breakfast, and leftovers from the night before for lunch.
I do want to add more salads to my lunches, though. Easy way to get in more greens!
Cassie! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this idea! I am on my way out, right now, to Walmart to see if I can locate some cheap jars. The salad in the a jar idea is pure brilliance. My plan, this afternoon, was to get some things together for lunches and dinners this week, and this food prep blog has completely inspired me! Thank you!
Man! You’re so organized! I’m impressed.
I wash and cut up all the veggies on Sundays after I grocery shop. That’s pretty much the extent of my prep. :)
I am loving all the meal prep ideas out there lately! I’m a huge Sunday food-prepper.
For breakfast I love oatmeal bakes, egg sandwiches to pop out of the freezer, hard boiled eggs and homemade bars. For lunch I also love salads in jar or SOUP. Love soup. Also, leftovers! For snacks I usually just have fruit, popcorn or yogurt. I also chop all my veggies/do any long prepwork for dinner recipes on Sunday.
It makes the week so much easier!
Wow! That’s amazing! The most I ever do is that I’ve started making two servings of dinner each night and packing one right away for the next day’s lunch. I don’t know if my brain is capable of being this organized. Your things look really yummy too.
In my house, food is a challenging thing… Thus, meal planning can be a little challenging.
I’m a recovering picky eater who’s trying to expand her palate to include healthy things (like vegetables) but that process is still filled with a lot of anxiety. My partner is an unapologetic picky eater who has no desire to change his habits, he’s a meat and potatoes kind of guy and thinks that things that are green are gross (with the notable exception of mint ice cream). Our roommate will eat anything you put in front of him, but you have to constantly remind him to eat the food because he doesn’t want to be a bother.
My partner has a few dishes that he likes to cook on his days off that stock the fridge with something to eat… Lasagna, roast beef hash, and scalloped potatoes. Beyond that… There is no meal plan.
I have to ask – do you keep the smoothies in the freezer or fridge? I generally make smoothies the night before and leave ’em in the fridge, and even within 12 hours they get kind of liquid-y. Or maybe I am too picky. ;) I love the new design, btw!
In the fridge! And it depends on the ingredients. Just as long I don’t include greens or thickeners (like chia or flax) it’s always fine for me.
Another option, that I do for my green smoothies, is to chop up all of the ingredients eg. (cucumber, spinach and pineapple) and put them in individual bags in the freezer. That way, when I need to make one I just empty a bag into the blender and add cocount water.
This was a great post – time for me to get more organised!
I prep my smoothies for the week ahead of time too. I use bottles from Kombucha that I bought and drank and peeled off the label. I make sure to leave some room at the top, then put them in the freezer. Let them freeze overnight before putting the top on. In the morning, I put one in a hot water bath to defrost while I do other morning tasks and get ready.
Love your prepping ideas, Cassie! I’ll definitely be trying some of those. Thanks for sharing!
This is fantastic! What a wonderful resource. Love all of your meal and snack ideas :) Do the veggies stay fresh over a whole week? I think this kind of prep would help me SO much! Thank you for this excellent post! Love your blog! xo
The veggies dry out a little bit, but they are still definitely edible and crunchy at the end of the week. Dip ’em hummus and they’re great! :)
I add a little water to my containers of cut-up carrots and celery to keep them from drying out. Keeps then tasty all week!! And — although it’s an added expense — my latest favorite things are the individually portioned cups of hummus from Costco! I just grab a handful of veggies from my container, toss in a little pack of hummus, and I’m on my way!
Thank you for sharing this bit of genius…I’m on track to do this- love the uniform pyrex containers- very visually appealing too- and I tell ya food is so much about that…and of course taste and reachability. I’m feeling motivated to make this my own!
Hey Cassie it’s me! (Corrie from Blurb Column, now Casa Beebe.) YES YES YES! I food prep regularly on the weekends, including an inventory of the fridge/freezer/pantry, menu, grocery list, shopping, and then prepping for the week. Lots of chopped veggies, cooked grains or eggs, other easy to grab snacks, lots of fruit. This is SUCH a lifesaver for me. Like you, if healthy food is easy to grab I eat it. On the weeks that the food prep/menu planning doesn’t get done we are about 1000 x’s more likely to eat out multiple times, or just eat junkier food overall. Food prep is where it’s at!
wow…. I’m throroughly impressed by this!!!!!!
wow, you are so organized! i can see how all this work and organization really helps to keep you on track… wish I could be this way!
i just dropped in to your amazing space from foodgawker and I am completely awed by the idea of food prepping to this extent and specially the salad in a jar. You have the dressing on the bottom, and hte lighter foods n top so when you want to delve in to them you simply give it a good shake…is it a mason jar? I love love love it! Do the greens/lettuce stay crunchy? That really helps as the greens sometimes wilts by the end of the week….Looking good and inspiring me to try it out too!
Yup, just as long as you keep the lettuce away from the dressing (and any other juicy veggies like tomatoes), it’ll stay crisp all through the week.
I am so inspired right now. I really enjoyed reading this and now I’m super excited to get started on my prep this weekend. Thank you so much!
Awesome job on your weight loss and eating healthy! We also food prep/shop on Sunday’s for the week. We grill chicken breasts on Sunday’s for our salads for the week for lunches. We do assemble the morning of, but have everything prepared and ready to go. My sweeetie cooks us egg white omelettes every morning,we looove eggs! We also do the smoothie thing, but we keep ours in the blender in the fridge and give it a quick mix before packing into out lunch. I agree, this is a big diet and budget savor! Cheers~
Preparing like this may seem a good idea, but it is not. Sure, you can make bars, muffins, bean burgers, but cuting your veggies beforehand will make them lose most of the vitamines. Your fruitsmoothies have same problem. They will oxidate within a few hours. Preparing is a good thing, but this is not healthier than eating white bread for instance. An, from Holland
I’ve never heard that cutting veggies makes them lose nutrients, interesting! I’ve heard that they start losing nutrients the second they are chopped of the stalk and when they are cooked, but never that just by cutting them into smaller pieces. Do you have any sources I can read up about it to learn more? Thanks!
I’m sorry, this information comes from dutch dietician books, so, I don’t have that information in English.
This comment intrigued me so I did a quick little search. I know this is an old post but thought you might still be interested:
María I. Gil, Encarna Aguayo, Adel A. Kader. “Quality Changes and Nutrient Retention in Fresh-Cut versus Whole Fruits during Storage.” J. Agric. Food Chem., 54 (12), 4284 -4296, 2006. 10.1021/jf060303y S0021-8561(06)00303-7. Accessed May 5, 2016. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf060303y.
I still intend to precut my vegies. If I don’t, I don’t eat them. And slightly less vitamin filled vegies is better than no vegies in my opinion!
I notice you used all glass containers/jars. Does this keep the food/drinks fresher versus using plastics?
I’m actually not sure! We switched to all glass a few years back (before I started prepping) so I’m not sure if that makes a difference or not.
Glass is definitely better than plastics for foods where there might be a risk of chemicals from the plastic leaking into the food. It’s more likely with liquids and things containing fats and acids. Probably doesn’t make much difference for carrot sticks, but I think you’re wise to go with all glass anyway.
I used to food prep all the time when I worked, now that I am home with the kids, I don’t. The reality is, I should food prep more. For me and the kids. Thanks for the ideas!
Really cool post! Very inspiring.
Here from Clothilde’s at Chocolate and Zucchini. I wondered about nutrient loss, as I’d heard that about cutting too. I’ve always tended to avoid things like bought coleslaw and, here in France, the carrottes râpées – pre-shredded and dressed carrot salad, for that reason – plus also things kept in dressing don’t stay so nice anyway. But according to this
there’s not much to worry about anyway, since you keep the veg in airtight containers in the ‘fridge and eat them within the week. And it seems to me that doing it this way means you get to eat more veg anyway, especially raw, which would more than make up for any slight loss of vitamin C and carotenes, the only things seemingly affected.
So keep up the good work, which is truly awesome and inspirational! I’m not sure I’d have room in my fridge for all this mind, unless I suppose I got that a bit more organised too…
I love your blog!!!…Your simplicity and honesty!
Please post some dinner prep ideas: what you do ahead that pays off the same way your breakfast/lunch ideas do. Years ago, when my three children were small and I was working full-time and going to law school evenings(!), we managed to eat well by using week- end food prep. I was actually learning to cook from Julia Child , James Beard,and Joy of Cooking. The key thing that proved most helpful was that I made three big dinners, doubling them (baked ham, beef stew, roast chicken, for example) and eating a dinner meal from each every other day. For lunches, we would make sandwiches with the left-over roast meats or add them to pre-prepared veggies for healthful, yummy salads. On the next week-end, I would use any left-overs to make split pea soup, chicken soup, and pot pies with the last of the ham, chicken, and stew. To that, I would add another roast, such as pork, and make some meatballs for a pasta dinner and /or a rice dish. Baked fish and shrimp were additional staples. Preparing veggies on the week-end was a huge help. We had a running contest to see how many different veggies we used to make salad— often we managed to have nine! Also, I made a point of buying fruit in season, generous amounts, so it was always available for snacks or dessert.
I actually don’t do much dinner prep because I work from home and I love cooking dinner! Back when I was working and commuting though, I did do some freezer cooking: https://wholefully.com/2012/07/10/freezer-cooking-101/
Wow, this is so inspiring! Love it!
Thanks for sharing your process and providing inspiration. I can’t wait to do more prep. I completely agree that having healthy “grab and go” food is the key to eating better.
I love your ideas, I prep on Sunday and Monday, I add tuna sslad and potatoe salad and cole slaw and egg salad. i make little differences every week. The blessing of fresh homemade food keeps us from being bored. I love your pictures and will do the same this week.
Love your blog!!!! A friend forwared it to me and described it as “inspirational” I too think you are inspriational!!!!. Thanks..
One question, what is the recipe for the item on your “How I Prep Food for the Week” just to the right of the salads in a jar??? Looks like a mimi quiche and it looks yummy!
Thanks and please keep posting,
They are Turkey and Egg Cups! One of my favorite breakfasts: https://wholefully.com/2012/08/13/herbed-egg-turkey-and-goat-cheese-cups/
I just found this post and it’s truly inspirational! Thank you. Also, while searching for other ideas I found that your photo was being used by Sensa with no attribution. Just thought I’d say something because I know how hard bloggers work for their photos and posts.
Here’s a link: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151606771394644&set=pb.46618879643.-2207520000.1370569776.&type=3&theater
Thanks for pointing that out, Emily. That’s a bummer! :(
I really love the idea of baking a loaf of bread every week and the salad in a jar. I am going to give meal prepping a try (after I clean out my fridge..yikes!) Thanks!
I LOVE doing food prep on weekends it is the best thing! I tried your salad in a jar idea and I loved it so it’s become one of my favorite things to do for lunch. I also tried the pistachio stuffed dates and they are now one of my favorites! Actually, this post really helped me redefine the way I do food. So incredibly helpful, thank you! I’m planning to do a gluten free food prep post on my site. Hope you can check it out! http://saltlicklessons.com/
This is such a fantastic way to operate, I have never thought of taking it to this level but it really makes sense. I am a long hours, come home and grab whats convenient kind of girl and I can tell that this would solve all my problems. A wonderful way to be organised. Thanks so much for sharing! I’m definitely going to try this.
Have tried the salads-in-a-jar, herbed turkey and egg cups, overnight oatmeal, peanut date balls and black bean sliders (I made full-size burgers). Yum, yum, yum! Thanks for sharing – super helpful.
I found your blog through Pinterest and I love all of your food posts! I am a recent subscriber. I was a little surprised when I saw one of your recipes recently – not because of the recipe, but because I realized we have the same name! First and last! If your middle name is Nicole… that would just be crazy! :)
Ha! My middle name isn’t Nicole, but you’re the first other CJ I’ve ever met! :)
Same here! It’s not a real common name. Nice to “meet” you! :)
Love this food prep post! Do you have a link to the chocolate cherry smoothie recipe? That looks delicious!
Hi Allison! I did it as a guest post here: http://runningwithtongs.com/2012/07/12/guest-recipe-choco-cherry-chia-smoothie/
Finally. Someone who uses glass instead of plastic or aluminum.
I saw your blog and have been trying our meal prep for a week as well. Would love to get your opinion on how I did healthylivying.wordpress.com/2014/06/29/meal-prep-first-timer/ :)
So, I discovered your blog on Pinterest annnnnnnnnnd basically, I’m SO HAPPY THAT I DID!!! I have been trying to find a good meal plan (because I’m a college students & eating the same meals each week can get annoying), and haven’t had any luck, until now. I am going to the grocery store tomorrow to get ingredients for that quinoa salad (it sounds delicious!). Hope you have a great day, and I can’t wait to see what you post next. :D
I was wondering if you could share a simple meal plan for the week. You’ve showed us your food prep and materials…but could you share a list of M-F what you have as options for each B, L, and D?
This would help me as I’m currently doing a lot of food prep and researching other people that do this as well. I think I end up picking way to many options and making way to many different things. Do you end up repeating a lot of meals the way that you prep your food?
Some nights we will have a Kashi pizza, soup and salad, fruit salad or add grilled chicken, chicken/veggie tacos, quinoa goulash, spaghetti squash bake, grilled chicken breast with veggies, ground turkey sliders. These are some of our go to usuals. But there are so many different things we do for dinner (and we have leftovers as well) it normally engulfs the fridge and we spend a lot of weeknight cooking.
I think right now all the prep I’m doing ends up being for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. Some of the veggie slicing prep helps with easy dinner salads, etc.
Such awesome inspiration, I really need to get into this habit for sure!
Truly inspirational! Exactly what I needed to kick my year off right! Your a ⭐️⭐️! Happy healthy New Years!!!
I always feel better about the work week if I have my lunches already made. I’ve been on a big kale Caesar salad kick…I make it with nonfat Greek yogurt and almost zero olive oil and toss in a can of cannelini beans for extra protein. It lasts forever. But today I made your Greek salad..delicious! Reminds me tabouli.
Great prepping!! Do your cut veggies stay fresh in the 8×8 glass dish and for appx how many days? Trying to come up with something that will keep them fresh too!
They’ll last dry for a few days, but they can last much longer if you store them submerged in water (even ice water, if you have a cold enough fridge). My grandparents always had an old gallon ice cream container with ice water and cut carrots, cauliflower and celery in it in their fridge for snacking!
Great blog! I shared it in my Facebook group that I run — I think it’s going to help a lot of the viewers out!
Gorgeous pictures and fantastic meal ideas! I’m prepping to do this tomorrow (Sunday) to help have a better week food wise this coming week and this was a huge boon to my planning phase. Thank you!
Awesome post thank you so much for motivating me,
this is brilliant! Thank you so much for sharing ♥
great info here! what containers do you use to store the smoothies? are those reused water bottles?
They are reused kombucha bottles. :)
Store-bought kombucha or home-made?
Store-bought. But we make our own, too. :)
this sound, fantastic….
Love these ideas! Just wondering, how long do the smoothies usually keep? This is an awesome idea!
They’ll last a good 2-3 days without issue. :)
Smoothie receipe Please!!
I love doing food prep! This all looks so delicious too.
This is great! I was wondering what your food budget is like? I have been cooking more clean and my budget has gone up. Can you do this on a budget?
Our grocery budget is $500 per month. And YES, you can do this on a budget. In fact, I think it’s better for a budget, because you are cooking in bulk and avoiding eating out!
Hi. I just found your site and love it! How many people do you feed on 500 a month? Also, do you keep count of calories? Thanks.
Hi! That’s no longer our food budget because my job is now recipe development, so groceries are a business expense. But before that, $500 was for two people eating mostly whole foods and organic. And no, I don’t track calories. :)
Oh my!! Just stumbled across you on interest! This is all so awesome. I just had to change the way I eat, no more white flour for me anymore, and have been looking for some ideas. Just found them! Thank you:)
This is so helpful – thank you! I just started working with a nutritionist and know this approach will really help me to improve my eating habits!
Are you prepping for two people? You and your husband?
Yes! Our little one doesn’t eat enough to require prepped food yet. :)
Do you have a recipe for the cherry-chocolate smoothies? Thanks!
This looks really lovely & beautiful! Love the braided bread :)
Thank you so much.
Do you know how you can inspire people around whole world? Yes! You inspired me here in Brasil to use this food organization. our no-time-life prejudice our diet directly! thanks for the willingness to share your routine with everyone! I hope to continue using your knowledge fot the health of my family!!! Thanks again!!!
You are my hero, great post. I just do the salad jars, but I’m getting great ideas from you:)
I have to say that after reading this, I, for the first time, feel like I can do this type of meal prep. I usually read these things and say “it’s too hard to figure out.” Or “I still don’t know where/how to start.”
This is seriously the first time I feel ready to do it! And I have read many…and popular ones!
Hi , I want to know when you make the box of raw vegetables for a period of 5 days is this – they stay fresh ? if so at what temperature
What kind of containers do you use for food storage?
Wow! This is really impressive. I am going to have to start doing something like this. Usually I just eat at vegan restaurants like these ones http://www.thebrookeeper.com/food/5-awesome-vegan-eateries-you-must-try/ whenever I am lazy! Keep it up!
Do your smoothies stay good in the fridge being already blended up? I’ve wanted to prep smoothies before but get worries and put them a few days later and being separated.
They do separate, but a quick shake and they are as good as new! :)
LOVE THIS! Thank you for inspiring me with new meal prep ideas! Especially salad in a jar and cookies :)
I love these ideas!! I also have to say that my sis and I are always saying ‘yeeeesh’ to eachother!! LOL I love that it was in your text! Bumped up your credibility for me! ;)
Thank you! I have been looking for a good post about how to keep healthy meals handy, for the week. This is very helpful!
Hey… First time reading your blog. Great ideas! Curious if you would share your granola recipe. Been trying some and haven’t fallen in love yet. Do you make into bars?
Going to do some prep this week!
I buy my fruit and vegetables and chop them into manageable sizes then into ziplock bags and into the freezer. I’ve had a Sleeve Gastrectomy (stomach surgery) 27th November 2014, so I need to concentrate on getting protein in first then anything else is a bonus. Only able to eat approx 150ml of anything, so a typical meal consists of frozen portion of fish plus whatever rainbow assortment of veg I can do.
I love this! I must give this a try! The salad in a jar idea is genius! X
How do you keep carrot fresh? No matter what i do it always goes soft and bendy
If you keep ’em in a bath of cold water (and change it out every few days), they stay nice and crisp.
You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I in finding this matter to be really one thing which I believe I would by no means understand. It seems too complicated and extremely extensive for me. I’m taking a look forward for your next publish, I’ll attempt to get the grasp of it!
I love food prepping. My kitchen is my laboratory. My favorite things to prep for the week is fruit, vegetables, beans, stir fry, chili, vegetables soup, turkey breakfast sausage, biscuits, chicken, ground chicken or ground turkey. I can go on and on. Plan to start a food prepping business. If you know anyone who lives in the Atlanta area I’d be glad to assist them with food prepping and cleaning service.
Hello, this is fantastic! Is there a shopping list that goes with these recipes? I may have over looked it on the blog.
LOVE these tips! So healthy and convenient for during the week! On August 12th we actually want to share your article on our website for our readers to see how simple meal planing can be! Check it out!
Yout tips are practical and great! We always recomend to our clients to make sure that they you have to plan healthy, it’s not an accident. Excellent job!
Wow, very inspiring!!
Looks delish!! Can you share your recipe for granola bars?
Thanks for this post it is so helpful!
Hey Cassie! I came across this link on a recent Buzzfeed listicle and I absolutely love this! I’m striving to eat more balanced meals but often just don’t have the energy beyond cooking what’s within reach (and it’s normally not the best foods for me). I was going to experiment with grocery shopping and meal planning on the weekend and scheduling times to cook throughout the week, but as someone who works really well on momentum, I love this method!
I recently moved from my hometown of LA to Southern Indiana (so a bit of an inverse of your story as well as a mirror to it currently), and will be moving to Louisville soon, where I hope to implement techniques like yours in my house once I gain more control over the kitchen and pantry. So glad to meet and learn from someone so close by!
Welcome to Kentuckiana! :) Shoot me an email anytime you want to talk about stuff in the area. I love meeting new friends!
Hi there! Love that you shared this! I too prep almost all my food for the week to stay healthy and on track! I never really thought about posting what I do on my blog either but I think you may have inspired me to re-think it! Thank you!
Do the smoothies actually last well all week? Do you have a recipe for those?
Sure do! Just don’t add any thickening mix-ins (like flax or chia) and skip the greens (spinach, kale). They’ll seperate a bit, but a good shake solves the issue! The recipe is here: http://runningwithtongs.com/2012/07/12/guest-recipe-choco-cherry-chia-smoothie/
Love your blog…this post…and your recipes!! Quick question…on the second picture of your food displayed you have what looks like a black bean salad…but it’s not listed. And is there a recipe listed somewhere? Thank you
It’s just cooked brown rice mixed with a can of black beans and pico de gallo! Easy and mega delicious. :)
In the second picture at the bottom, is that a pan of granola bars? If so, would you be willing to share that recipe?!
Sure thing, it’s this recipe: http://www.fannetasticfood.com/recipes/no-bake-peanut-butter-granola-bars/
Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is wonderful and the ideas are fabulous!! I would like to do a sight with photo’s and recipes like yours, but you are just perfect!!! Thank you for sharing!!
What I love the most about this: You showed the dirty dishes you accumulated and didn’t gloss over it. This gives me no misconceptions about it and although it may seem more daunting to some, I thought, “I’ve had more dishes just trying to prepare a dinner party for eight, and that was one meal!” Thank you for sharing your experience here. :)
Is that what you posted is for a week and for two of you? Looks little !! Or it’s enough? Can you please give us ideas always on what to prep. I find this so confusing !!!? how to decide!
Love your post so much. It’s really very useful)
Thank you! Write more!)
i have no words! WoW!
your my new favourite person!
Everything looks delicious & I love how easy it is to eat healthy food all week.when you do this! I linked to this on my blog, too. Thanks for sharing your awesome meal prep!
Wow! Thank you for posting this. It encouraged me to blog about my meal prep. For breakfast (oatmeal jars, farina, veggie omelette); 3 roasted/grilled/broiled/baked fish or chicken; 3 starches (rice/quinoa/sweet potatoes); 3 veggies (baby spinach, tuscan kale, 3 other veggies); snack (green fruit smoothie, fruit, granola); extra protein (crockpot beans, lentils, whey protein). I usually keep my veggies and carbs on the simple side (chicken base, sea salt, peppercorn medley) just in case I want to use them for a salad toppers, in soups, or a side dish for any ethnic dish. I usually season my meats for a selected ethnic theme (cuban, italian, hispanic, caribbean, american, etc). I usually make at least one ethnic dish each week so I have something exciting to look forward to.
I mix and match to minimize boredom.
Most of the food I cook is portioned out in 1 cup servings, placed in plastic storage containers and frozen. This way, if I do not get a chance to eat something, I can eat it the next week.
Do you have menus that I can put together for my meal prep?
Hello love this post just a quick question .. Do the overnight oats stay fresh all week ? … Ohh also do you have the recipe for the granola bars ? Ta
From my experience, the oats themselves stay fresh but if you’re adding fruit, I would do it on the day of eating, otherwise it starts to taste funky after a couple of day.s
Great Post! Everyone is genetically built a little different. I have found eating for my body type has really improved my macronutrient caloric intake. Also, I have found by using the handful method and by using pre-measured meal prep container like http://macrostacks.com versus measuring spoons and cups I am more consistent with proper nutrition for my body type.
Thanks for the post!!
Thank you very much for the post. This is he first time I saw your site and I’ll sure come back. I’m a beginner in meal planning so the posts like yours help me a lot. Thank you.
Thanks for this post it’s so helpful and informative! By the way I really enjoy your post name change and all.
Hi! I’m just beginning to food prep for my partner and I but am confused about the correct way to start, we just moved into a new house and got a costco membership! We have gone over your recipes and LOVE all of them. But here’s the real question: we need to make a beginning shopping list, what needs to be on that list? Can you make a “must-have” fridge and pantry list? so we can slowly build our stores! Thank you so much!
Thank you for all these ideas. What size are the mason jars that you used for the salads?
We usually use pint jars!
Great information! I agree that weekend prep is a huge factor in my family eatting heathy, staying on budget, and saving time. I develop our weekly menu and grocery shop on Saturdays and then complete the food prep on Sundays. I prepare three week evening meals and snacks. Each night I blend the smoothies for breakfast while cleaning up the evening meal food. Since I work from home, I just throw together the left over ingredients from the prepped meals and create something for my lunches.
Silly question but what do you eat on the black bean burgers? If anything? no bun I am assuming? Thanks!
Not a silly question! I eat them on a whole wheat bun, usually with avocado, sprouts, and tomatoes. Sometimes I crumble them onto salads. :)
Hi There, im so glad i found your blog, love all your great ideas about preparing for the week, definitely going to try this . thank you
As for me, during the week I try to eat all foods containing vitamins, including fruits, vegetables, cereals, fish and meat. The only thing I don’t like is cooking food:) Thanks for sharing!
This looks amazing. Do you have a grocery list for all of these items?
How do the salad in the jars keep fresh for 3-4 days?
Stack them in the right order, and the lettuce stays nice and crunchy. More info here: https://wholefully.com/salad-in-a-jar-101/
This is absolutely magnificent, scrumptious, delicious and healthy food! I found your post from Pinterest Cassie! Thx for sharing!
I love your website and have learned so much.
I definitely do meal prep days. To make it easier, I’ve typed up a list on a Word document of food prep tasks that I do on a regular basis. As I plan meals, I circle or highlight the tasks I need to do on meal prep days. (Obviously, I don’t do ALL of the tasks listed, just the ones I need for whatever meals I’ve planned.) Here’s the list:
OPEN CANNED GOODS &/OR RINSE & DRAIN CANNED BEANS
• Canned Pineapple Chunks
• Black Beans
• Pinto Beans or Navy or Cannellini Beans
ROAST, BOIL, STEAM, OR BLANCH VEGETABLES
• Sweet Potatoes
• Sweet Peppers
• Sugar Snaps
• Green Beans
PREPARE FRUITS, VEGETABLES & HERBS
• Separate Cauliflower Florets
• Trim Asparagus, Celery, Carrots, Radishes & Store Upright In Water
• Trim Scallions & Store Upright In Water
• Trim Parsley & Cilantro, Store Upright In Water Covered With A Plastic Bag
• Rinse & Prepare Grapes For Snacking
• Make Zucchini Noodles
• Destem Mushrooms, Rinse And Let Dry On A Towel, Then Store In A Paper Bag In Crisper
PREPARE WHOLE GRAINS &/OR DRY BEANS/LEGUMES (STORE IN FRIDGE OR FREEZER)
• Brown Rice
• Whole-Wheat Pasta
• Chickpeas, Navy Beans, Pinto Beans, Lentils
PREPARE MAKE-AHEAD BREAKFASTS/SNACKS
• Overnight Mason Jar Oats
• Make Baked Oatmeal and Store in Fridge or Freezer
• Portion Out Smoked Salmon
• Hard Cook Eggs
• Measure Out Smoothie Ingredients Into A Blender Pitcher & Chill In Fridge
• Trim Carrots, Celery , Peppers, Cauliflower, And Radishes And Store In Glass Jars Filled With Water
• Portion Out Hummus, Baba Ghanouj, Cottage Cheese Or Yogurt Dip
• Cook Ground Turkey, Sausage Or Beef
• Cook Chicken Breasts
• Roast A Whole Chicken
• Roast Salmon Fillet
• Press & Marinate Tofu OR Steam Tempeh
• Drain & Flake Canned Tuna Or Salmon
• Break Eggs Into A Bowl & Scramble
• Hard-Cook Eggs
• Cook Edamame
• Cook Bacon Then Freeze Meat & Grease
• Trim and Cut Chicken Breasts into Portions
• Place Lunch Meats and Sliced Cheese in Glass Containers
PREPARE SALAD INGREDIENTS
• Rinse & Spin Lettuces & Spinach
• Chop Carrots, Cucumber, Peppers
• Halve Cherry Tomatoes
• Make Vinaigrette Or Dressing
PREPARE VEGETABLE BROTH &/OR CHICKEN STOCK
SHRED &/OR CRUMBLE CHEESES
• Feta &/Or Blue Cheese
• Cheddar &/Or Gruyere
PREPARE HERB/SPICE MIXES &/OR DRY MIXES FOR BAKING
PREPARE WHOLE-GRAIN MUFFINS OR BREAD OR TREAT
• Slice Whole-Grain English Muffins In Half In Advance
• Bake Muffins, Bread Or Other Treat For Lunches
PREPARE GRANOLA &/OR ROASTED NUTS/SEEDS
CUT BUTTER INTO ½-TABLESPOON SLICES
POP POPCORN & STORE FOR SNACKING
THAW FREEZER FOODS/MEALS
SLICE ENGLISH MUFFINS
PUT OLIVES IN A SHALLOW GLASS BOWL WITH A LID
MAKE A SLOW-COOKER SOUP OR SLOW-COOKER MAIN DISH
MAKE CHOCOLATE HUMMUS OR ARTICHOKE-BASIL SPREAD OR CINNAMON YOGURT DIP
MAKE ONE-BOWL BLUEBERRY ALMOND BREAKFAST COOKIES
MAKE GARLIC & HERB TOFU & CASHEW SPREAD
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