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Meal Planning Tips 101: Prep Day

meal planning tips

Prep Day is 1 day/ week of 1-3 hrs prep time for chopping, marinating, mixing sauces, etc.

How did you do with our first meal planning tip: making your grocery list? We hope our tips helped make this an easier task! Today, we're talking Prep Day.

Prep Day is the cornerstone to the Prep Dish system. All of our meal plans come with a organized grocery list and detailed steps for what we call “Prep Day.” This is time you set aside each week, about 1-3 hours, to prep all of your meals for this week. Imagine your fridge fully stocked with pre-chopped, pre-marinated, ready to eat meals for the *entire* week! Nirvana, right?!

For some, this sounds a little daunting. We get it. Here's some simple steps you can take to set yourself up for Prep Day success.

Step 1: Plan for Prep Day

  • Set aside dedicated time.
    It's just like the gym…if you calendar the time, you are more likely to make it happen.
  • Enlist help.
    I know this sounds funny, but I am serious. Get your whole family involved. It's a great way to spend quality time with your partner and also teach your kids about the food they eat. Plus, they will probably try more varieties of food if they actually help make their meals!

Step 2: Prep for Prep Day

  • Start with clean, organized kitchen to really help minimize Prep Day chaos.
  • Give your fruits and veggies a vinegar bath.
    Wash everything at the very beginning to cut down on total prep time, that way you aren't constantly stopping to wash an item and then going back to the prep station.
  • Set out a trash bowl.
    Also a great time saver when chopping a bunch of items so you aren't running back and forth to the trash can. I sometimes put out 2 trash bowls; one for compost and one for trash/recycle.
  • Have your storage containers ready to go.
  • Take out your favorite chef's knife (no paring knives allowed!), cutting board, and blender/food processor.

Step 3: Let's Get Going!

  • Grab your earbuds or take your speaker out.
    I love using this time to catch up on a favorite podcast or have a kitchen dance party (this is great if you've enlisted help!) and listen to your favorite playlist.
  • Pre-heat the oven to needed temperature so it's ready to go when you are.
  • Layout the items you will need for Prep Day so they are easy to grab.
    If you don't have a ton of space, the dining room table works well. You can also do this in phases – start with all the items that need chopping. Then move to the items that need blending, etc.
  • Start cooking the items that have a longer cook time, such as rice, sweet potatoes, spaghetti/butternut squash, etc.
  • Get chopping, blending, mixing, etc.
    Try to do this in “batches”. I like to get all of my chopping out of the way first and then I move to items that need mixing and baking. Next I attack anything that needs mixing in bowls, such as marinades, spice blends, hamburgers, etc. Then I prep my salad for the week and lastly, I throw together a quick balsamic dressing.

Do you have a favorite podcast or playlist that you listen to during Prep Day? Let me know in the comments below or post a pic of your grocery list on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Find us in all 3 places as @prepdish!


20150217Allison025Prep Dish is a gluten-free & paleo meal planning website. Celebrity personal chef & dietitian Allison Schaaf thoughtfully crafts each plan using her own well-tested recipes.  Each meal plan allows you, the home cook, to spend only 2-3 hours preparing a week’s worth of crave-worthy, gluten-free, healthy meals using seasonal, whole foods (nothing processed!). We aim to save you time while keeping your family’s taste buds happy.

 Along with a weekly menu, you’ll get a printable grocery list and recipes for prep day — just one day of preparation yields scrumptious, good-for-you dishes all week long. Click to start

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