Mindful Meal Prepping
You’re probably looking at the title of this post wondering if you have accidentally clicked on a Pinterest link. I can assure you that you have not. Let’s face it: Sometimes, adulting is so hard and energy sucking! Between the workin, sleeping, chores and parenting, etc, who has time to do much else, let alone cook a meal? I sometimes struggle with this particular task also. Especially with some recipes that require prep work. I don’t have the energy or desire at the end of a long work day to prep and cook dinner. And if I’m being really honest, sometimes I don’t want to even go to the grocery store to begin with. Thinking about another task at the end of my day can sometimes be overwhelming and feel daunting. Take-out is always an option, but it’s usually not the most financially sound and/or healthiest option for me and my crew. Since I have difficulties in this area, and I know others who do as well, here a few strategies and tips I have begun using to help me, especially on my longest day:
Prepping ahead of time
I set aside 30-60 minutes every Friday or Saturday and chop, slice, and dice all of my vegetables for the week. That way, when it is time to cook, everything is already prepped and all I have to do is pull out the container from the fridge. If I am making a chili in the crock pot, I also go ahead and brown the meat ahead of time since ground meat can keep 3-4 days in the fridge with no issues. (Of note, I know it is sometimes difficult to find the time for such a task, but I promise it is well worth it.)
Using a crockpot or instapot
How easy is it to dump everything into one appliance and then come home to a full cooked meal? I LOVE using my crockpot, especially in the fall when soups and chilis are made 2-3 times a week! Nothing is better than putting all the ingredients in before leaving for work and school and then coming home to dinner already made. Talk about hashtag winning!
Buying already prepped ingredients
The grocery store has a section of already sliced and diced veggies! I have seen everything from onions to peppers to zucchini to pico de gallo and guacamole! I’ve even seen bits of chicken already cut up for meals like fajitas! If prepping ahead of time seems daunting, pick up a package of already prepped ingredients so that you don’t even have to worry about doing this task yourself and finding the time to do it.
Having 1-2 “easy” meals to cook during the week
To be honest, I usually have something like tacos, spaghetti and/or fajitas in my weekly rotation. Why? Because those meals take almost no time to cook. Brown the meat, boil pasta, and/or sauté veggies for 3-5 minutes? Yes, please. This also helps me to balance crockpot and stove top meals. Plus, it helps that I can buy toppings and ingredients already prepared, which saves me time and energy (that I usually don’t have)!
When I go grocery shopping, I already have in mind what meals I’m making for the week. This takes the guesswork out of what I’m having for dinner each night when my brain is ready to go into “mush mode” and I don’t have the capacity to think deeply about various things. I have already bought the ingredients the week of and have already prepared and browned some of the things needed ahead of time.
Meal Kit delivery services
There are several different types of meal kit delivery services these days where you can pick what meals you want for dinner and buy the meal kits with already prepared ingredients included. You don’t even have to go grocery shopping if you already have certain “staples” in your pantry! I, personally, have not used any of these services, but I’ve heard positive things from various people.
Of course, these aren’t all perfect solutions but they can be helpful. If thinking about and/or cooking dinner at the end of your day seems like an overwhelming task, please do what is best for you– take out, meal kits, meal prep, napping. No judgments from this corner!
If you or someone you know is struggling with motivation overall and feels that therapy could be a helpful tool, please consider connecting with us!