How Should I Start Meal-Prepping?
Since I’m a beginner to meal-prepping, I am thinking I should start with preparing one meal in bulk. For me, my least favorite meal to prepare is lunch. It feels like an interruption in the flow of my day. Frankly, I feel like I’ve just eaten breakfast and don’t understand why I’m hungry again. I think it would improve my mood (and my relationship with lunch) if I could just open the fridge and have something to eat without the whole process of making lunch. I’ve been eating salads all spring and summer but it’s time for a change.
The Summer of the Tomato
Back in March or April I declared this summer the ‘summer of the tomato’ and planted entirely too many tomato plants. I started some from seed and when that didn’t seem to be enough, I bought more from Lowe’s and the farmer’s market. I didn’t really think they would all survive, but they did and now I have more tomatoes than I know what to do with. As you can see, it’s a tomato jungle here.
This is just one day of tomato picking. There’s no way I can eat them fast enough to keep up!
I’ve done regular lettuce-based salads and when I got tired of those, I switched to pasta salads. After eating salads most every day honestly, I’m about done with salads And if I’m not going to eat that, then I’m going to need to think about lunch. (Don’t worry, no tomatoes are going to waste. As I write this, I have a huge dutch oven pot full of tomato sauce cooling before I put it in mason jars to go in the freezer. I suppose in a way this is a step toward meal-prepping.)
Why Meal Prep?
That’s where meal-prepping comes in. I’ve never tried meal-prepping before but have chopped up vegetables and such in a batch so I didn’t have to for each lunch or dinner. And I guess I did make that huge bowl of pasta salad. Do leftovers count as meal-prepping? Probably not, but my favorite days are when I open the fridge and find some random leftovers.
Today I watched a couple of YouTube videos about meal-prepping as I was eating leftovers. I love the organization and containers but I’m resisting the urge to buy the containers they used because surely I can use some of the ones we already have. My mismatched plastic containers won’t be Pinterest-worthy, but that’s okay. I need to figure out what my needs are before I think about buying any containers. I like the ones with the separated compartments, but maybe I don’t need that?
I think what I need to do is take a look in my pantry to see what we have and what I can make to store in the fridge. In addition to lunches, I am going to have a couple of evenings where I probably won’t be able to spend a lot of time making dinner. I need to have something that we can pop in the microwave.
I know there’s a box of beans and rice mix that I could make with some Impossible Burger. That refrigerates well and the kids both will eat it. I also could make some Pad See Ew because it’s almost better the next day once the sauce has been absorbed by the noodles. We love this recipe: https://woonheng.com/vegan-pad-see-ew/
I’m sure some people might read this and say the most obvious solution is take-out or microwave meals from the store. Take-out is too expensive to do every day and there just aren’t that many frozen meals that are both vegan and gluten-free.
If you meal-prep, what are your favorite vegan meals to make ahead? I need some ideas! Do you have any containers or meal-prepping tools you couldn’t do without?