Advice about Meal Planning (from a pro)…
So many people today think that quick frozen meals, or worse fast food, is the answer. Even if they are eating “healthy” from fast food or frozen meals, they are still not getting all the nutrition they could be getting from whole, organic, quality food. It’s easy to prepare meals in advance and eat whole, nutritious foods, even if you are busy. Here’s some advice about meal planning. Let me show you how I do it and how you can do it too!
Set aside one day a week or every two weeks just for meal prep.
Make a list of the meals you will make for the week and gather the recipes (I actually have a dry erase board in my kitchen that I use to list my meals for the week. I tend to forget if it’s not right in front of me!)
Take the recipes and make a list of all of the ingredients you need. Then go through your kitchen and mark off all of the ingredients you have on hand.
Shop! Take that list to the grocery store and get everything on the list(I try to only get the exact amount that I need. For example if I am making balsamic chicken with provolone cheese I go to the deli and get only 4 slices of cheese. This saves a lot of waste and money).
Cook! Have all of your recipes together when you get home and start cooking all of the meals. I usually make 10 dishes in one day, which comes out to about 30 portions, which will get a single person a month, a couple 2 weeks or a family of 4 a week of meals.
Portion them out the way you will eat them. If you would like to portion them family style in glass Pyrex so that when you come home from work you can just pop them in the oven, or you can portion them in single serve Rubbermaid so that you can just pop them in the microwave or take them along to work with you, it’s up to you.
Once you have portioned everything out and it is completely cooled you need to label and date everything, this step is very important!
You can keep 4 to 5 days worth of meals in the fridge and anything that is not eaten in that time period needs to be frozen. (To freeze you need to cover in plastic wrap under the lids or put the whole container in freezer bags. This step will prevent freezer burn. To defrost you will need to defrost in the refrigerator overnight, then heat as you normally would.)
You can do this every week, every two weeks or even once a month. You will be amazed at how much time and money this saves you!
I am Chef Sacha Quernheim, owner of Red Zucchini Personal Chef Service, St. Louis. I am a personal chef and American Personal & Private Chef Association (APPCA) member in St. Louis. I focus on clean eating. I focus on getting back to basics.
As a personal chef I plans menus, shop and cook for clients in their homes. You might say “I can’t afford that, I’m not a movie star”! But it is a very affordable service that anyone can afford. I work with my clients to make sure they get the best quality food and I stay within the client’s budget. I also work with special diets, diabetic diets, paleo, low carb, clean eating, etc.
I do corporate events, cooking classes and omelet breakfasts. My cooking classes are fun, hands on classes that you are sure to enjoy. I focus on whole, unprocessed foods and love to teach how eating healthy can be fun and easy!