Two things have ramped up this second trimester: I am hungry ALL the time and I often don’t have the energy or patience when this happens to do anything about it. Leading, of course, to the hangriness.
One thing I am actually doing differently now to alleviate this problem is my own version of meal-prepping. I was inspired but our two-week trial of Blue Apron and the desire to cut down our grocery budget to take this new approach. Now, you do not have to be pregnant to meal-prep this way. We all know that most of us have full-time commitments and for real, who wants to come home every night after work and spend an hour in their kitchen?? I don’t. I never really have. I have too much else to do, or simply want to spend time with my family, or reading a book.
Prior to the past few weeks I never felt the need to do a meal-prep. We know what we like and about how much we consume every week, so we’d just buy what sounded good and figure out our meals as the week progressed. This led to many nights of us getting home from the gym at 830 pm, still needing to make dinner and often not eating until 930pm– which if you are unaware–is past my bedtime.
So this is what we do now. It has saved us a lot of time, and is seemingly saving us money. But again, it has only been two weeks:
- Take Inventory
Before even considering what meals you want to make, take stock of what you have. We often buy veggies and meat in bulk, so a lot of time, parts of it are getting tossed in the freezer before they expire. I am also known to make large quantities of soups and stews. This means we either eat that soup for every lunch for 6 days, or that I freeze part of it for a quick meal later.
- Based on What You Have, Plan Some Meals
I sit down either Saturday or Sunday, whichever day we are planning to buy groceries, and choose our meals. An example: We bought fresh spinach last week thinking we would eat it. We did not. It needed to be cooked. Thus, I made two meals this week that incorporated spinach and made a veggie soup that I threw in the freezer for another time. No waste and we have a quick meal for later.
For this section, I also consider what our plans are for the week. We usually spend 2 nights at the climbing gym, which means getting home late. On these nights, I try to plan Crockpot meals that I can throw together earlier in the day so we don’t have to cook when we get home. This week, I did a veggie lasagna for our climbing night. I precooked it earlier in the day so we just had to reheat it when we got home. I have also planned previously frozen chili or stew for these nights.
- Buy Groceries. Prep as Much or as Little as You Want
This is where you have to figure out what works for you. Personally, I don’t want to cook all my meals on Sunday, because I don’t want to eat meals that were prepped 4 or 5 days previously. That is just me. If you need to make everything and box it up so it’s ready to eat, go for it. That just isn’t my style. What I do instead, is prep everything that I can, so when the day comes, I just have to put the ingredients together.
As I said, this week I made a veggie lasagna. Normally, this is a rather extensive meal to make. On Sunday, I chopped and cooked the veggies I needed to, sliced up the zucchini and made the dairy-free cheese sauce. I waited until the day of to cook the marinara and meat sauce and put the casserole together. It took me less than 30 minutes on the day of to finish this meal. I also made a coleslaw to get through a couple of meals and made soup to throw in the freezer. It is truly surprising me how much more quickly our meals come together when the prep work is all finished.
- Last Consideration: MAKE EXTRA SERVINGS
I know, some people do not like leftovers, but I strongly urge you to reconsider. Nearly every meal I make will at minimum, feed us lunch the following day. Plus, as I said before, if you make quite a bit more, you can always freeze part of the meal for quick reheating later.
Experiment with some meal-prepping ideas and see what works for you! In addition to what I previously mentioned, meal-prepping will likely help you stay on track with a healthier diet because the food will already be made and you won’t have a reason to eat something easier or faster to prepare!