Meal Prep

by | Sep 16, 2020 | 0 comments

Do you ever find yourself too busy to eat? Running around with errands or work and you don’t have time to cook?

Meal prepping is a fun and healthy way to be proactive in your life! Meal prepping is when you cook and prepare food in advance; each night for the next day, or even at beginning of the week for the next few days! When you find yourself busy during the day, it can be hard to make time for yourself to eat a healthy filling meal-especially when you get to the point where you’re already starving. When you prep your food in advance you can count on having a yummy, filling and healthful meal ready to eat! Instead of making a grab for the chips, or gravitating toward fast food, you know there’s a homemade meal you love, waiting for you in the fridge. This mindset is especially important on erev Yom Tov. We find ourselves busy in the kitchen, doing last minute ironing, and trying to get the house sparkling before Shkiya…who has time for themselves? Here are some important tips and tricks to help you get started on your meal prepping journey!

      • Make a menu! Step one is to make a list of all the foods you enjoy! (This is a great trick for dinners too, by the way) Instead of getting stuck deciding what to make, you have a list ready to refer to with your own food inspiration! Some good ideas include salads, quinoa or grains, (easy to pair with protein like chicken, meat, salmon or tofu) soups, sandwiches, wraps and of course leftovers! Having food ideas prepared will also help you shop right and have all the ingredients you need on hand.  (Israel shopping tip! Read the package of grains before you purchase, to know if you have to check them for bugs! Often located near the Hechsher)
      • Dedicate a special time for it. This may be the most important step! Although Sunday nights can be hard because Sunday isn’t a day off here in Israel, find a time make it happen. One of the main reasons meal prepping is so helpful, is because we tend to push ourselves to the side when life gets busy, and eating becomes an afterthought. By dedicating a special time for meal planning, you’re bound to end up with healthier and more thought out meals. This way you can grab one on the go no matter how full your day gets. You’re important! Don’t forget to take care of your body and your health. You’ll find yourself to be more alert and less grouchy after a well prepared and filling meal.
      • Make it a whole family activity! Get your spouse involved! Even small children can help out by putting snacks in bags or smearing peanut butter on bread. Each person should decide what’s on their menu and get started! Preparing food can be a bonding activity that’ll help raise awareness of responsibility and the importance of planning in advance. Plus much less work for you!

(Israel Shopping tip! Peanut butter here is much more liquidy then in America. The green container is natural and the red one has added sugars)

      • Use daily meal prep as inspiration for Shabbos and Yom Tov. Once you get into a routine of making your food in advance, you’ll be addicted to the calm feeling of knowing your well prepared. Many people cook and freeze- (although your Israeli freezer may not have infinite space)why not make it a habit? It’s always nice to have backup dinner in the freezer for crazy nights, and Shabbos food you can just pull out for last minute guests.
      • Have the supplies you need on hand. Lunch time can be so much more stressful when you have just finished preparing your salad or pasta, and you have nothing to pack it into! Make sure you have containers handy, useful dressing containers, plastic cutlery and the works. It’s so much easier when you’re able to just grab what you need and go. (Israel shopping tip! Osher Ad is your Israeli Costco. Go there for stocking up in bulk – including lots of containers!)
      • Freeze in portions. One way to do this is simply splitting your raw shnitzel or chicken on the bone, into small different bags as soon as you buy it. This makes for fast defrosting one (or a few) portions at a time. Another way to do this is once your food is already cooked. If you made an extra pan of lasagna, freeze it in portions so you can just grab and go. Your future self will thank you! (Israel shopping tip! Instead of buying already frozen poultry, buy fresh at the counter in many large grocery stores, or at a butcher. This way you can decide if before you freeze it)
      • Utilize leftovers! Whether you’re just packing last night’s chicken and rice into a container, or repurposing that chicken to make some delicious tacos, always utilize your leftovers! If you don’t want to see your leftovers, or have the same meal twice in a row, find a way to repurpose the same food. Sides like rice or quinoa are easy to spice up and use for a new meal. Take your proteins from dinner and cut them up into a salad or sandwich for a good change. Some people are into straight leftovers, and I’m all for it! Why not enjoy your dinner one more time? If I enjoyed it last night, I’ll enjoy it today as well. This avoids food waste and makes for quicker and easier meals.

See what works for you! Not every trick in the book will work for every family! Notice you end up leaving your yogurts behind? Don’t enjoy next-day soup? Switch it up! You got to know yourself and keep improving what you got. Good luck!

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