New Year, New Habits: Food Prep

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Food prep doesn't have to be difficult. I believe in using what I have. My goal for the past few years has been to cook most of the food we eat. This brand new year, we went on vacation, and coming back home wasn't bad. We knew we wanted to eat most of our meals at home so we stopped at the grocery store on the way back home. I had everything we needed to have a successful cooking week. 

How do I food prep, practically?

1. I start with a menu - The step prior to that is to find out what we already have. It turns out we already had a lot of meat, fish, veggies, and frozen fruit. I proceed to build a menu. I think about our schedule, the foods we all enjoy eating, what's in season, and what's easy to do. When I start with a menu, I have direction. 

2. I write down ingredients I need - Often, when I build a menu, I am missing key ingredients. I write those ingredients down on a list. I enjoy using the list app that comes with most phones. I share the list with my husband in case we go to the store separately. Most of the time, I write things down on paper but eventually, the ingredient list needs to go to my app so I can have it when I need it in the store. 

3. I go to the grocery store - but sometimes, the grocery store comes to me. I use a grocery service app when I'm really busy. The goal is to get groceries. If I have time, I go myself. If not, the groceries come to me. 

4. I prep some of the foods ahead of time - If I can cook a whole chicken and make rice and beans in bulk, I do it. I also try to bake and freeze a few muffins. Preparation makes execution a breeze. 

5. I talk myself into cooking at home - Let' be honest, just because I have a menu and some groceries, it doesn't mean that I am actually going to cook it. I can't tell you how many times I am tempted to get takeout or fast food. I have to talk myself into cooking at home often. I don't know what motivates you but you need to figure out what that is. For me, the time it takes to cook and the health benefits of eating at home are the two things that convince me to stay the course. Find your key motivation and use it often.

6. I repeat steps 1 through 5 over and over again - Cooking is about repetition. Each week, I have to come up with a menu, get groceries and prep the food. I can create shortcuts so the process is not tedious or complex. Repetition is part of the magic. When I'm okay with this rhythm, I can get the results I want. 

I am not trying to compete with the best cooks in the world. I'm not trying to prove I'm better than others. I simply want to cook most of my meals at home because it is better for my family. I want us all to enjoy home-cooked meals prepared with love and care. 

I'm not sure if you have this food prep thing down to a science. I hope these steps will encourage you to give it a try.