There is nothing easy about making most of your meals from scratch. I don’t care who you are, or how long you’ve been cooking and how much you love it, at the end of the day we all would love to put our feet up and have food delivered to our doorstep or swing through the drive-thru. You can always take that option, but who wants processed garbage full of artificial ingredients linked to diabetes, obesity, heart conditions, and more, when you can provide your family with wholesome, healthy, home cooked meals? And the best part, for me at least, is spending valuable time with my girls by giving them small tasks to help me, and teaching them all about healthy foods and why it’s important to eat them. The worst part — clean up, but thank goodness for dishwashers! :)
Sunday night has become my prep night for the week. If I spend a couple hours Sunday night getting ready for the week, it’s pretty much a given that we will eat clean, healthy meals the rest of the week. Since we were out of town last week, I came home and cleaned out the refrigerator completely before heading to the store. Now it’s safe to show you the inside.
REFRIGERATOR AND PANTRY CLEAN OUT:
Before heading to the store I clean everything out. Check what I have and don’t have and make a list. I don’t do much meal planning, I would love to one day, but for now I have my staple items I pick up and then if I decide to try something new I’ll make another trip to the store later in the week.
PUTTING AWAY GROCERIES:
There are a few things I do to make the rest of the week easier when I’m putting away the groceries. This takes some time to do, but it’ll save you so much time throughout the week! If you clean and slice everything when you first get home you don’t have to constantly clean the cutting board, knives, and colander, and the fresh fruits and vegetables are easier to snack since they are ready to eat!
- Fill the sink with water and distilled white vinegar mixture (about 10 parts water to 1 part vinegar) and rinse all the fruit and vegetables, and rinse everything. Then set it on a towel to dry. I rinse berries in a colander separate since they are so soft. Or you can make the Dr. Oz Produce wash to clean everything.
- Slice and chop anything that needs to be, and place them all in separate bowls so they are easy to grab for snacks, salad, or to throw in the juicer or blender.
- I like to cut celery into about 4″ sticks and place it in some water so it stays crisp
- Breaking down garlic will save to lots of time throughout the week. I love garlic in everything and it’s easier to use when the cloves are separated and cleaned.
COOKING SUNDAY NIGHT FOR THE WEEK:
There are so many things you can make quickly that will help make sure your meals are ready fast! If you spend a couple hours Sunday night, you can get breakfast for the week taken care of, school lunches out of the way, have fresh fruit and vegetables ready to snack on or for smoothies, and have pasta or grilled chicken and vegetables ready to add to any meal! Then wiggle your nose and hope the dishes clean themselves. :)
Here is an example of what I make on Sunday night — quinoa protein bars, hard-boiled eggs, a couple school lunches, mason jar salads, and some overnight oats.
Most of the recipes on this site can be made ahead and frozen. Here are some ideas for you to try:
- Cook a box of pasta or quinoa to place it in a covered container in the refrigerator. Then you could use the pasta later in the week for Pistachio Pesto Pasta or use the quinoa to make Quinoa Protein Bars or Grilled Vegetables and Quinoa.
- Hard-boil some eggs for breakfast, snack, or to use in egg salad sandwiches.
- Grill chicken and vegetables and place them in a covered container to use throughout the week for wraps, pasta, or quesadillas.
- Pancakes are always a staple in my house and they take just minutes to make. I will make a double batch Sunday night to use for breakfast, snacks, or dinner. Then if any are leftover after a few days, I will freeze them.
- Muffins are great to have for snack and breakfast on the go! Most muffins can be made in 30 – 40 minutes and use a lot of the same ingredients as pancakes so go ahead and make them at the same time.
- Soups are great to make ahead, and you can always freeze whatever you have leftover so make a double batch!
- Overnight Oats only a few ingredients and take a couple minutes to throw together. I usually make enough for two days — breakfast ready for two days and it only takes me 5 minutes Sunday night? That’s my kind of meal!
- Homemade pesto and hummus are two things I’ve starting making recently. I can’t believe I never made before but now that I do I can’t go back to store bought. They take minutes and it’s all done in the food processor! Then I can use them on wraps, pasta, dipping sauces, and salads.
- Homemade granola is another thing I’ve starting making from scratch that is so simple. You can use it as cereal, to top off some yogurt, and it makes a great gift!
- Make a couple days worth of school lunches on Sunday night. It’ll save you so much trouble throughout the week if you take care of two – three days at once!
- Mason jars salads will help you get a healthy lunch that is ready to go and is already packed to take to work for the week. They will stay good for four to five days in the refrigerator and take just a few minutes to make, especially if you took the time to clean and chop off the vegetables.
- Mason Jar Yogurt Parfaits are great for breakfast, or pack them to take with you for lunch.
Hope this helps you eat clean, healthy, and quickly!