Meal prep doesn’t have to taste like leftovers, use this simple 3-step strategy to make meal prep that tastes good.
Meal Prep is known for a lot of things.
Meal prep can help you meet your health and fitness goals by taking the thought out of what you eat.
Meal prep can also help save your sanity in the kitchen by simplifiying your dinners.
But what about meal prep that tastes good?
When I start teaching people about meal prep one of their biggest hang-ups is wondering if there is such a thing as meal prep that tastes good.
They wonder, won’t my food taste weird after a week in the fridge?
Won’t I get tired of eating the same thing all the time?
Or I can’t stand leftovers, isn’t meal prep basically glorified leftovers
To be honest, the way a lot of people meal prep, basically IS glorified leftovers, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Three simple steps to meal prep that tastes good
The key to making meal prep taste delicious, fancy, and even gourmet is to plan your meal prep strategically and combine meal prepped foods with fresh foods and storebought foods for the ultimate simple but fresh meal plan.
To illustrate this idea, we’ll use my Valentine’s Day Menu since that’s a meal you probably want to be a little more gourmet.
If you want to cook right along with me, I’ve put together a FREE ebook with all of the recipes I use for a fun family homemade pasta night using meal prep strategies to make it do-able with small kids. It even includes a cute printable menu you can print as a place-setting for an extra touch and to let everyone know what to expect for the evening.
Get my FREE Valentine’s Day Menu and recipe guide
FREE Valentine's Day Menu Plan (with FREE Printable decorative menu!)
This fun homemade pasta menu is totally do-able. With make-ahead instructions for most of the components, you'll be able to focus most of your attention to the task of rolling out the pasta with your kids (or spouse) and enjoying a fun interactive experience that everyone's sure to remember!
For Valentine’s Day I like to bust out my pasta machine for probably the only time I’ll use it in a year. If you want to cook along with me, you’ll definitely want one of your own (unless you’ve got super strong arms and are great with a rolling pin). They aren’t too expensive, and I enjoy having one even though I don’t use it often because of how fun it is for the kids to make their own pasta.
For the rest of the menu, I’ll make a white and red sauce for variety, some roasted broccoli to round out the meal, some crusty bread as an appetizer, and molten chocolate lava cake and ice cream for dessert.
My mouth’s watering just thinking about it.
To strategize my meal prep, I ask myself the following three questions about the menu I’ve planned
Step 1: What parts of this meal can I meal prep or purchase premade without affecting quality?
In this case, I know that the meat sauce can be made a day or two in advance without affecting the quality. In fact, thing like tomato based sauces often taste even better the next day because the flavors have more time to come together.
I like to make my own bread , but in this case since it’s not the star of the show and I’m already going to be letting my kiddos get messy in the kitchen with the pasta I’m going to buy bread from my local bakery that will taste delicious.
I’m also buying my ice cream, again, making ice cream is fun but in this case I want to focus my energy on other things and storebought ice cream is still delish.
Step 2: What parts of this meal can I make partially in advance without affecting quality?
This is the step that takes the most practice. A lot of things can be done partially in advance, but it can take a little trial and error to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
I’ll give help you out with this menu though.
Pasta dough can be made a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
The batter for the molten chocolate lava cakes can also be made a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
I don’t want to cook my veggies in advance (I almost never cook veggies in advance)…but I can either buy pre-chopped broccoli or chop it in advance.
Step 3: What parts of this meal will taste best made entirely fresh?
Some things just shouldn’t be meal prepped if you like enjoying your food. Alfredo sauce could be made in advance, but will taste so much better fresh and it’s quick and easy to make so we’ll make that entirely the day of.
We’ll also roll out and boil the pasta the day of so it’s super fresh.
When you prioritize your menu and take strategic shortcuts, your every day and holiday meals will come together quickly and easily. In this case, most of our energy will be put toward rolling out and cooking pasta. We will also reheat the red sauce, make the white sauce, roast the already cut-up broccoli, cut the bread, and bake the molten lava cakes.
It sounds like a lot, but it’s so much more manageable when parts are done in advance, and you’ll be shocked at how quickly it all comes together.
Want to try this menu out for yourself? Sign up for email updates and get all the recipes for this menu straight to your inbox and try out this meal prep strategy for yourself!
I’d love to know, what’s one thing you could do today to make tomorrow’s dinner easier WITHOUT compromising the quality of your food? Tell me in the comments below, soon you’ll be a #mealprepaddict when you see how simple your meal times can become with just a little preparation.
Remember, if you want to make this very own menu yourself, get your email plan now!