Nothing beats packing your own lunch to work. The advantages are many. You save money and possibly eat healthier. And of course, all your colleagues get to envy you as they say “You’re so disciplined you actually pack your lunch all the time”. While some of them really mean it, others are probably thinking “Oh goodness does this person have a life? Spends all weekend cooking”. Well, the good news is you don’t need to spend all weekend cooking and you can still have your homemade goodness for lunch!
I love a homemade lunch. A couple of months ago, I didn’t get around to meal prepping, and I was so hungry during lunchtime. The sandwiches at the office cafe didn’t quite appeal to me so I settled for shortbread biscuit and a cup of tea. Oh dear! First off, the shortbread wasn’t the original McVities shortbread. I’m convinced that’s the best shortbread ever. Secondly, just think of all the calories in that meal – especially as I was still so hungry. So, each week, I try as much as possible to meal prep. Hopefully these tips below should help your weekly meal prepping and you become a pro as well in no time!
If you’d rather buy your lunch everyday, then it’s okay to stop the reading at this point. Ok, please continue reading maybe we will change your mind or if not get to the end so you can do a good deed and share on social media for those who’ll love to meal prep.
In secondary school, every week we had a new quote / inspirational message on the notice board. By far, one of the most popular ones was something along the lines of “He who fails to plan, plans to fail”. Decide what day of the week is meal prep day. For most people, it’s Saturday or Sunday. You also have to devote two to three hours. You also need to think about the meals you’ll be cooking. Some people are happy to eat the same meal
Cooking can be pretty intense. But having the right gadgets and appliances make it a whole lot lighter! First off, I recommend a food processor. With that, you spend less time chopping, grating and generally prepping. Other necessary appliances are Steamers, Fryers and Grills. That way you can literally be cooking different things all at the same time!
Not to make appliances jealous, but these are pretty much as important. It’s necessary to have a few pots of different sizes.
You’re essentially trying to be efficient. Initially, when I purchased beef from my butchers I’ll go home and spend ages trying to slice it for stir fry or chop it as desired. I later realised the butchers could cut it how you wanted: chopped, minced, stripes. I also used to spend ages taking the skin off chicken (personal preference), but they could also do this for me as well. It might be worth checking out how much prep you can cut off while still in the market or stores, and if you have to pay a little extra for already prepped items, it’s probably worth it.
Don’t roll your eyes. I’m not asking you to cook for an army. I’m simply saying rather than grill just two mackerel fish to be used up in just one week, why not grill 5. The grilling time is essentially the same, and that way you can have extra for subsequent weeks.
Some foods take a full hour or two or three to prepare. You don’t want your meal plan to include three different kinds of such meals! If you have such a time-consuming meal, you definitely need to include others that essentially take no less than 30 mins to prepare. And this is where sauces and stir-frys come in! They’re such a huge lifesaver. Beef and veg stir fry. Chicken coconut sauce. Prawn and Shrimps. Bolognese sauce. Fish in tomato sauce. These essentially take less than 30 mins to prep and can be eaten with a variety of sides: Rice, Potatoes, Plantains, Beans.
I’m such an advocate for help in the kitchen. Particularly if you’re cooking for a family and not just yourself. And more particularly if you have to wash up as well. Most people find cooking itself not to be the problem – but the washing up. So if there’s anyone that can assist, be sure to ask!
2.5 to 3 hours down, and your kitchen smells heavenly (we hope!). You’re tempted to wipe your hands on the napkin, grab a drink and fall into the couch. Just one more thing to do I promise – serve the food in the bowls and put them away in the fridge. It’s really important! You don’t want to be rushing off to work (I assume everyone is always rushing off like me) and have to wait to serve your food. You simply want to open the fridge, grab one of the five bowls and head out!
Instagram is the ultimate inspiration. You see people who actually make meal prep so easy and you get the best ideas and tips for food combinations. All photos in this post are from @foodace who inspires me and nails meal prepping all the time!! Thank you for permission to use your photos. Remember, why you shouldn’t use people’s photos (even those on Google) without their permission?
Bonus Tip: If you’re overly efficient, you can also prep your fruits, drinks, juices and smoothies. I haven’t got around to doing that yet, but maybe soon.
Are you a fan of meal prepped lunches. Or is it one of those things you only admire from afar but actually never get around to doing? Or you just prefer to buy your lunch? What tips have I missed? Share your secrets.
Don’t forget to share this post if you think people’ll find it useful.
Ps: I’m one of those people who think everybody should be a Nigerian food enthusiast!! Can’t wait till our food takes over the world.
ppS: Don’t forget to include your veggies in your meal prep. I often forget and end up often buying a pack of ready-to-eat carrots.
Read too: Tough One? Books vs Shoes and Four Lessons from Joy – The Movie about a Mop.
PreciousJuly 1, 2016 at 08:35
McVities shortbread is simply the best!I love this post so much because food planning really helps. I don’t go to an office everyday but I find that planning my meals weekly keep me sane. I hate waking up and having a migraine just by thinking so much of what I will cook for the day. These tips are so on point, Kachee!Happy new month!www.preciouscore.com
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 1, 2016 at 08:41
Thank you Precious! You’re so amazing. But I think you love cooking so much you prob don’t have any issues. But planning always helps! Thanks for your constant encouragement. I can’t wait to meet you in person!! ❤️
Lohla's MelangeJuly 1, 2016 at 11:01
I use a time table I switch up every other week for hubby and Lil man. Though I don’t prep my meals before hand, I make them in the morning before they leave for work and school. Except its beans or some type of sauce that would take more than 30mins and would require my presence in the kitchen, then I cook the day before so I can just microwave and toss in their lunch bag. I’m all for meal planning, it saves a lot of stress and time.
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 8, 2016 at 03:13
Having a time table which you switch up is so key!. Saves a lot of time and stress indeed. xx
Chinelo OkoliJuly 1, 2016 at 16:34
Thanks Kachi for these tips.Yeah meal prep is so important, particularly, if you are trying to eat healthy. I have a colleague who asked me recently: do u bring your lunch from home everyday? i was like: yeah, on most days. his face was just like ‘adobelievit’ lol. For me, the lack of constant power in Nigeria really frustrates any meal prep. I don’t cook in large batches these days,because i have wasted so much food in the past, and wasting food is a sin to me. These days, i prep my lunch the night before, that’s if i’m not too exhausted. Guess what my fruit obsession is?
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 11, 2016 at 08:42
Lmao @ adonbeliveit… Gosh the lack of constant power is Nigeria is definitely a hindrance! Ndo nwanne. We hope it gets better!
LaoluJuly 1, 2016 at 18:01
Love this idea, please can you share some of your recipes for your packed lunches?
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 14, 2016 at 19:29
Hi Laolu! Sorry for the late response. Hahahaa. I just stalk food bloggers for their recipes! They are a lot on Instragram if you’re in there. Foodace, 9jaFoodie. Check them out.
Berry DakaraJuly 2, 2016 at 17:20
You know I’m all over #7!!! 30 minutes or less please!Berry Dakara Blog
Berry DakaraJuly 2, 2016 at 17:22
Oh, and this may not quite be meal prepping but to cut down calories, when I buy cereal, I put them in small zip-lock bags. A serving of cereal is just 1 cup, so that way, I don’t overeat. So I open up the box, pick up a bag and I’m good to go!
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 5, 2016 at 09:41
That cereal idea makes so much sense!! I actually just take the whole cornflakes carton with me and it never stops. I keep adding more into my bowl of milk. Lol. And yes yes to 30 minute meals. Ain’t nobody got too much time.
AmakamediaJuly 4, 2016 at 15:32
Thanks for the tips, KacheeTee. They are spot on!Happy New month!
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 5, 2016 at 09:39
Happy New month to you too hun! You’re welcome!
RshanphonsiJuly 4, 2016 at 17:39
Thank you for the tips, very helpfull.www.rshanphonsi.com
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 5, 2016 at 09:38
You’re welcome! Glad it was helpful.
LadyJJuly 5, 2016 at 15:49
Thanks Kachee. This is an inspiration to cook more – I would start with dinner maybe I ten graduate to packing lunch 🙂
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 8, 2016 at 03:12
KIKELOMO OMOTALADEJuly 8, 2016 at 11:21
How do you eat so much broccoli though?Meal prep helps save me alot of cash but can also be tiring….sighCooking is way easier than cutting/slicing/grating/washing/cleaning up but if i can’t get an extra hand I just do it………..dishing in bowls as soon as the food is done is also very good.
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 11, 2016 at 08:41
I can’t even stand Broccoli exept it’s in a smoothie. The photos aren’t mine.Meal prep can indeed be tiring but it saves some time and money!
Esosa AsaborJuly 12, 2016 at 18:37
Why am I just seeing this?! Sending the link to my sister asap! I should move to her house and start this… Id look all superwoman-like till she reads it here herself! This is really thorough and its such a healthy lifestyle! Love this!
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 13, 2016 at 11:20
Thanks Esosa. Lol @ superwoman!!
peggie jumaJuly 19, 2016 at 09:36
such a nice idea, didn’t know i needed this until this post came throughhttp://memyselfandmoda.word…
Kachee || KacheeTee.comJuly 19, 2016 at 09:42
Glad it was helpful! xX
XOseAugust 20, 2016 at 10:57
This is a great idea! I prep for smoothies but I need to prep for the entire day. This post is so helpful!xoSEhttp://www.sashaelizabeth.com/
Kachee || KacheeTee.comAugust 20, 2016 at 11:25
Glad you found it helpful! Xx
AB x MeeMeeAugust 26, 2016 at 07:59
Thanks for the tips. All great, if I can figure out how to make the time.I am doing the Whole30 in September and so, food prep is the only way I’ll survive it.We aren’t allowed to eat inside the office, and there’s no microwave so this is why I don’t pack my own lunch.Putting food in a flask is an option, but then I’d have to wake up early to cook or heat up something I made the night before, which is hard because most nights, I just pass out after traffic has dealt with me.
ISA ProfessionalSeptember 17, 2016 at 04:06
We’ve been meaning to try meal prep for a while and these tips are giving us the inspiration we need to make it happen! Thanks for sharing!ISA Professional
KeziahMarch 9, 2017 at 14:17