Meal prep can save you time, energy, and frustration! I often hear from busy moms that they just don’t have time to prepare all of the healthy meals required to do a 21DSD or Whole30. To that I usually have two responses:
- You might need to make the time.
- Try doing some “all at once” meal prep, so when you do have a day, or even a couple of hours, you can make a bunch of food to last for days or weeks.
I also have a few time-saving tips, but I’ll save those for another post. This post is all about #2: meal prep.
Today I went to a “Paleo Perfection” freezer meal prep workshop, and prepared 10 meals, each with 4-6 servings. This should get my husband and I through at least a couple of weeks of lunches and dinners on 21DSD. The kid might even be convinced to eat some of the meals. I spent about 30 minutes before the workshop, putting the veggies and meat into the bags, and then about an hour at the workshop (because I was talking more than working), adding the spices and other ingredients. Now I just have to throw this stuff into the slow cooker, oven, or skillet, and dinner is done!
This workshop was through Wildtree, but Tastefully Simple also has paleo recipes (some need tweaking to work for 21DSD and/or Whole30), so if you have a local rep for either one of those, check with them to see if they can do one for you. Of course, if you’re in my neck of the woods, you can check with my local reps! Valerie Rey does Tastefully Simple, and Carol Green (703-638-2280) does Wildtree.
Another meal prep option is using the Once a Month Meals menus. The have a monthly paleo menu, most of which will work fine for both Whole30 and 21DSD. My mother and I did that once in May 2014, and I’m not sure I would do it again. It took the two of us about 8 hours to make everything, and it was exhausting! Why so much longer? Because with OAMM, you’re actually cooking a lot of the meals during your prep day, so all you have to do on “eating day” is defrost it and reheat it. Plus you’re making breakfast, lunch, and dinner, for a total of 15 meals.
If you have some time once a week to do some meal prep, a weekly cook-up can save you a lot of time and energy during the rest of the week. I try to spend a couple of hours over the weekend cooking large batches of my favorite meals, such as the beef and bacon cottage pie from the 21DSD Cookbook, picadillo or pastelon (for Whole30, but not 21DSD), and chili. Then I can eat leftovers for a good chunk of the week, supplemented with some fresh-cooked meals.
The slow cooker can also be your best friend when you’re doing paleo. I use mine at least a couple of times every week, even without doing the freezer meal stuff, and have even been known to run two of them at once. That’s not bad, considering I own three, plus a pressure cooker that can be used as a slow cooker! Many weeks I’ll cook pulled pork or kalua pig, shredded chicken thighs (for chicken salad), and some ropa vieja.
What are your favorite meal prep tips?