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Does this sound familiar? You buy fresh fruits and vegetables at the store with every intention of using them. Fast-forward to a week or so later and…crap. Is that mold? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done this very thing. It’s irritating and wasteful. But I’ve learned (finally!) that the key to not wasting food is a weekly food prep session.
And when it’s the height of the growing season there is so much readily available you’ll want to stock up. I love going to our local farmer’s market on Saturday mornings in the summer to pick up locally grown and organic fruits, veggies, cheeses, spices, and whatever else I can find. It just tastes better.
It doesn’t do me any good if I stick it all in the fridge and forget about it though.
If you’re also hit with the forgetful stick when it comes to what’s in your fridge, here are 7 weekly food prep ideas that will make your life easier!
Weekly Food Prep Ideas
Wash and store greens in an air-tight container
I know this sounds contradictory to what you usually hear but trust me on this one!
Most recommendations say you should store lettuce and other greens in a plastic bag with a paper towel to absorb moisture. Nope! I’ve found that my lettuce and spinach stays fresher for longer in a plastic container lined with a paper towel.
Salad greens seem to be the food item that has the shortest life-span in the fridge but I’ve kept mine in a container for up to 10 days! No more slimy, brown mess! Try these BPA-free containers. They come in different sizes and feature snap-lock lids.
Cut up fruit for easier storage
Ah, fruit. Why do you hate me?
This was maybe the number one thing I was guilty of not using in a timely manner. But after I started cutting it up and storing it in containers I found that didn’t happen anymore.
Pineapple, cantaloupe, peaches, watermelon, mangoes, and strawberries are fruits that can easily be cut up and stored in a plastic container. I’ve also put berries and grapes in containers with success. Bananas can be sliced up and frozen on baking sheets too! Wait until the bananas are good and ripe before freezing though.
Grab your fruit and use them in smoothies, salads or as a snack! It’s so much easier if the fruit is already cut and ready to go. Invest in a tool set for cutting fruit to make the job even faster!
Just like fruit, it’s much easier to use vegetables if they’re cut and ready.
Green peppers, cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, celery sticks, and cucumbers are all great choices to cut up and keep on hand. These vegetables are a fantastic healthy snack. But you can also grab a handful and whip up a quick stir-fry, omelet or salad.
At least for me, if I’m a little peckish in the afternoon I’m happy to grab a handful of green peppers and carrots to munch on. It’s so much better than going for something sweet or processed.
Boil eggs and keep them handy for salads or snacks
If you’re following a keto/low-carb diet or are just trying to eat healthier, eggs are a staple you must have.
Boil up a dozen eggs and store them in an airtight container. This is great if you’re looking for an easy low-carb snack that’s packed with protein or to throw in a salad. I’ll often pack a hard-boiled egg and some almonds for late-afternoon protein boost at work.
Boiling one or two eggs takes time but if you have some ready to go you’re much more likely to use them.
Cook and slice chicken breasts, steak or pork chops
This one can be a real time-saver when you’re looking for something quick to make for dinner.
I don’t like the idea of raw meat or poultry just hanging out in my fridge. It’s much better for me to have a selection of cooked chicken or other meat available for a quick meal or lunch.
Put them in salads, a stir-fry or a casserole for a super quick and healthy dinner. And if you’ve prepped a selection of veggies too you’re practically done!
Make salad or smoothie packets
If your mornings tend to be crazy trying to get everyone out the door for school and work, you can take it one step further and make smoothie or salad packets. Save even more and try these reusable storage bags.
Put all the ingredients for one smoothie in a container or Ziploc bag. Grab it from the fridge and simply throw it in the blender with your liquid of choice.
Ditto for salads. Pack your salad goodies in a mason jar or storage container and all you have to do is grab it and go.
Cut up cheese and store in an airtight container
Cheese is another item you might not have thought about for weekly food prep.
Buy in bulk at places like Costco or Sam’s Club for the lowest cost per ounce. Then cut into cubes and put in a storage container for snacks or salads.
Or shred it so you have it on hand for tacos or fajitas!
RELATED: Freezer Cooking: I Didn’t Know I Could Freeze THAT!
We all need a few time-saving techniques in our lives. Spending an hour or two on a weekly food prep will not only save you time but will save money and reduce food waste.
And you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that you have a well-stocked and prepped fridge so you can handle whatever life throws at you!