Meal Prep.

Just the thought of it makes you cringe right?  I know because honestly, it does me too at times. We’re busy so we need to meal prep, but…wait for it….we can’t meal prep because we’re so busy. AmmIRight?

Oh the cycle.  So what do we do?  Nothing.  Yep.  Absolutely nothing.   It’s either too complicated, we don’t have time or we just don’t know where to start.

Y’all get me?  No more worries my friend, busy mama and working woman.  I’m right there with you and I’m going to help you.  #allthefeels

Simple meal prep is more about saving leftovers, cooking extra, multi-tasking and having healthy, quick food options on hand.  Coach Sam

While yes, planning ahead and being prepared is crucial to your success, it doesn’t have to be complicated.  For some, meal prepping may be setting aside a couple (or more) hours on a off day to cook up several meals and food varieties for the week, but for me, I found that I didn’t even have the time to do that and had to find a way that worked for me.  So that’s what I’m sharing with you today: simple meal prep hacks that are pretty do-able for my life so I know they’ll make your life easier too.

Easy Meal Prep Hacks for Busy Women Over 40

The first thing I want you to do is as you’re thinking of meal prep, I want you to simply start thinking about thinking ahead.  Just thinking about the words “meal prep” can send us into a full blown panic attack so I want you to let go of any ideas of how you think meal prep should be done.  Let it go…let it go…cue the music.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m totally not saying that everyone else’s ideas on how to meal prep are wrong, I’m just saying that you need to find something that works for you.  I mean seriously, we’re talking about YOU here! What works for YOU and will help YOU!  Not only your success but your stress level depends on it!

So now, anytime you’re cooking for one meal, just think ahead and plan towards the next meal or couple of meals, not 10.  Get it?  Think ahead to what you’re going to snack on and so on … Feeling less stressed yet?!

Before I give you my hacks, we’re gonna assume that you’ve made your grocery list so you’ll know (or at least have an idea) of what meals you’re going to have available for the week. Humor me okay? K. Also, keep certain staples on hand at all times if you need to throw something together at the last minute.

Here’s what I typically buy at the grocery store…

Salads fixings (I always have salad ingredients handy and will throw everything into one ziplock bag if I necessary as I’m running out the door).
Romaine lettuce, spinach and spring mix.
Sweet Potatoes
Wild Rice or Brown Rice
Rolled Oats
Fruit usually blueberries, strawberries and golden apples (sometimes bananas depending on my mood).  Frozen fruit in the freezer to add to a protein shake.
Fresh vegetables include green beans, asparagus, Brussel’s Sprouts, zucchini, squash, cherry tomatoes and carrots.
Peppers (I love colors)
Onions (yellow and red)
Lemons and Limes
Organic, Cage-Free Eggs
Almond or Coconut Milk
Peanut Butter
Organic Chicken Broth
Tuna Packs
Almond Butter Packs
Meats include chicken, pork, turkey, beef strips (for stir fry or rice bowls).

Ready for your meal hacks?  It’s easier than you think!

Buy extra so you can cook extra and multi-task.  Even if it’s just you and your spouse, don’t just buy and cook for one meal for the two of you, but buy the larger pack {of meat for example} and cook extra.  In other words heat the oven/stove top once but cook for more than one meal.

Here are some examples:

  • If you roast a whole chicken, don’t just cook one, but cook two – one for now and one for later (let it cool and pull the meat off the bone to save for salads, quesadillas, etc. later).
  • While the oven is already hot, roast a pan of fresh vegetables on the second rack.
  • Again, while the oven in still hot, add not just two sweet potatoes, but cook several.

With this idea, you’re already cooking, so just cook extra.  You can even take this multi-tasking idea further and have other items cooking on the stovetop while that’s in the oven – rice, quinoa, boil eggs, etc.

Keep your meats thawed and ready to cook. While this may sound like a true meal prep hack, trust me it works.  Don’t put all of your meat in the freezer like I used to do. Too many times I’d forget to thaw anything, then I was really stuck….and hungry.  IF you have meat already thawed in the fridge it’ll at least be easier to start dinner if you don’t have anything prepared.

Bonus:  Use a quick cooker like an Instant Pot!  I use it 2-4 times a week for complete meals ready to eat within an hour.

Save leftovers.  Oh my gracious another biggie!  Save everything!  Even if it’s just two spears of asparagus or a half of potato., consider how you can use your leftovers in another meal.  I’ve been known to add a couple of spears of asparagus or sliced two leftover Brussel’s Sprouts in my egg omelet the next morning for breakfast….or combine with other veggies in Egg Muffins.  Hola!

Buy pre chopped veggies and precooked meat.  Listen, there’s no shame in buying precut veggies and meat.  Again, this is about you, so you do you, k?  If buying chopped onions or the bag of green beans or broccoli mix helps you then by all means do it!  Buying a whole pre-roasted chicken from the grocery deli has certainly saved me many times!  Bear in mind that buying chopped items will be a bit more expensive it’s totally worth it sometimes!

Keep a Snack Go-Bag.  Remember the days of being pregnant when you finally made it to the ninth month and you were hospital-ready with your go-bag?  It’s the same idea!  Anyone who knows me knows I have food with me at all times!  Keep a separate, cute tote bag for nothing but snacks or a small, insulated lunch box with an ice pack so you can keep boiled, eggs, string cheese or Greek yogurt.  Keeping snacks with you is a major game changer!

Related Post:  Your Most Essential Kitchen Tool + Easy Meal Planning Tips

Let go of how you think meal prep should be done (i.e. how everyone on your Facebook feed is doing it) and make it work for you.

Don’t make it too complicated.

Just think ahead to your next meal instead of the complete week’s worth of meals.  Seriously, many times I’m an in the moment kinda gal so I’m doing good to have my lunch ready for the next day, ya know?

Keep some staples handy, keep salad stuff handy, buy precooked stuff if you need to and let the stress go.

You’ve got this.

Let me know if this helps!  What are your favorite, easy meal prep hacks?

Do you need want to want to know exactly how you can implement these tips into your every day life so you can start seeing results? Learn more about my Meal Planning Made Easy Video Series, where you can learn fat burning and  practical meal planning strategies so you can eat healthier, stay consistent, and boost your weight loss goals without spending hours in the kitchen.






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