Simplify Food Prep: How to Prep Real Food with Zero Time

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How to prep food with zero time: 3 strategies for making healthy food work without any time!

Prep day is my saving grace and answer to simplifying the often overwhelming world of making food from scratch (AKA: real, healthy food). If you missed our pow-wow last week, I highly recommend going back and reading the post, 20 Healthy Meal Prep Foods to Save Money and Time. I explain what prep day is, how to do it, and twenty foods (including a handy printable) you can start prepping now to save money and time throughout the week.

While I love prep day and make it a priority on my calendar almost every single week, I also live in the real world. A world where birthday parties sometimes take over the weekend, and adding one more to-do on my ever-growing list could send me to the “Mommy lost it” convention.  Yes, I’m admitting that while I strive for a weekly prep day, there are times when a dedicated day to prepping ingredients and meals just does not happen. And that’s 100% okay!

How to prep food with zero time: 3 strategies for making healthy food work without any time!

Real food is about doing our very best and not stressing about the little things that may not get done. Sure, my family may not enjoy homemade muffins or granola on super busy weeks when prepping doesn’t happen, but will we eat well? You bet! I’ve learned three simple strategies to making real, healthy food work when time just does not exist.

How to prep food with zero time: 3 strategies for making healthy food work without any time!

3 Strategies for Making Real Food Work with Zero Time

 

1. Plan Simpler Meals

Prep day allows our family to eat more complicated meals (like lasagna) in half the time. Without a prep day available I know my meal plan for the week must include super easy recipes.


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Tuesday: simplify breakfast

Wednesday: simplify lunch

Thursday: simplify with food prep

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My list of go-to simple meals include: crock-pot black beans (from my book) with rice and avocados, grass-fed burgers with lettuce and tomato, meat or bean quesadillas (on busy weeks I purchase Applegate lunch meat), chicken or steak caesar salad, breakfast foods (pancakes from my homemade mix, scrambled eggs, bacon, breakfast burritos), roasted chicken thighs or legs.

2. Cook Once, Eat Twice

“Cook once, eat twice” simply means doubling a recipe or meal to create two meals.

For example: On Monday I plan to double my recipe for crock-pot black beans. The extra beans will be served with a taco salad (with ground beef) on Wednesday night, and frozen for future use in quesadillas, tacos, or bowls. Reusing ingredients, freezing extras, and doubling recipes are guaranteed ways to prep food without a dedicated block of time. 

3. Prioritize What to Buy vs. Make

Prioritizing what to buy vs. make is an important key to keeping real food doable on a busy schedule. Some foods stay on my “no compromise” list, such as: salad dressings and muffins. Other foods can be sourced with real ingredients from our local market and/or health food store, such as: yogurt, bread, and granola.

If you own the Real Food Planning Challenge, page 92 features a handy “Make vs. Buy” printable. 

How to prep food with zero time: 3 strategies for making healthy food work without any time!

 Prepping for real food with zero time is possible. With a little planning and my three simple strategies, real food can be served even on the busiest of weeks.

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