Meal Prep + Grocery Budgeting

Meal Prep. Love it, hate it, love to hate it, all of the above?

Truthfully, I wasn’t a meal prep lover until recently. It’s not that I disliked it; I just didn’t think I had the time and never knew how to prepare veggies without it feeling monotonous and boring throughout the week. And yet there I was, spending at least 30 minutes each meal preparing food and becoming increasingly jealous over everyone’s beautiful meal prep spreads on Instagram (comparison alert, I know, but this one was kinda good!).

Well, I finally decided to give it a try a few weeks ago and I don’t see myself turning back anytime soon. With my weeks becoming increasingly hectic doing two jobs, babysitting part-time, running a blog, and applying to master’s programs, I needed to reorganize my schedule so that I didn’t have to think about what the heck I was going to cook and how long it would take for my next meal.

Meal prep can be as basic or as complicated as you want. It could mean chopping up some raw veggies, organizing your produce that you just stocked up on, prepping some hard-boiled eggs, etc.

For me, the meal prep process is a little extensive (2-3 hours I consider to be extensive, but others may not!), but it’s so worth, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I mean, let’s do the math: 2-3 hours on one Sunday = 14+ meals during the week (I like to make a different brekkie every morning, as you guys can see!)? Not too shabby! Plus, it’s actually a lot of fun when you bring in some jams- I’ve already started on the Christmas music…too soon?

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This week’s meal prep includes: roasted organic turmeric cauli, roasted organic red cabbage, roasted organic turnips + daikon, roasted organic golden beets, roasted organic carrots, organic roasted sun choke, steamed organic Swiss chard, and steamed organic kale. The best part? All of this, and more, cost me only $60 for the week.

Yep, you read that right. 6-0 dollars! And yes, I bought everything organic, including free-range eggs, my favorite dairy-free cream cheese, organic cranberries, and my beloved Eating Evolved midnight dark chocolate.

It’s very easy to go over budget with grocery shopping, especially when buying organic. Here are a few of my key tips for not only shopping within your budget, but also prepping what your hard earned dollars have afforded you!

  1. Get to know your local farmers at your farmer’s markets. This is key! Shopping at a farmer’s market can actually be very cost effective, and when you make friends with the people you’re buying your food from, it can be very beneficial. Plus, it always feels better knowing where your food is coming from and who is actually growing it, directly from the source 😉
  2. Start to familiarize yourself with what’s in season. You’ll start to get the hang of this when you go to the organic stands at farmer’s markets, but in season food will always be less expensive than out of season. It’s also better for our bodies- the food that is in season locally contains the essential vitamins and nutrients that our bodies need to thrive in whichever season it is. I used this site to get started with figuring out what grows when and where!
  3. Write a list. I always try to stick with a list whenever I go shopping. For the fall, I usually choose 1-2 leafy greens, 1-2 starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes, squash), 2-3 other vegetables, 1-2 fruits, eggs, and then I allow myself 1-2 specialty items. This could be your favorite chocolate (ahem, chocoholic), specialty fresh bread, a really good quality nut butter, etc.
  4. Allot yourself 2-3 hours to buy and prepare. I usually give myself a max limit in a farmer’s market (I can spend all day there!) so then I can get home and prep!
  5. Keep the prepping simple. For me, simple is key so that I can spice it up throughout the week! That being said, I’ve learned how to cook to my taste buds. For me, I really like roasted veggies, while others may like steamed, sautéed, or raw. My usual cooking style: sea salt + pepper + turmeric + grass-fed ghee. And I don’t skimp on the ghee! Sometimes I’ll throw in some fresh garlic if I’m feeling fancy, but usually this is how it goes!
  6. Invest in some quality containers. This makes life so much easier, guys! I really love these glass ones (P.S. I’m not an affiliate, I just love them!). Plus glass is better for the environment. Just saying, love your body, but also love your planet!
  7. Put on some tunes or a movie! Meal prepping is a lot more fun when you have a movie going or are jamming out to some music! Lately, I’ve been playing Christmas music because I’m as corny as it gets, but I also sometimes put on an episode of the Office or watch a movie! It makes the time fly by J

I hope this helps in any way! What are your favorite meal prep tips and tricks? I’d love to hear!

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