Food Costs Today are SKY HIGH! I also understand that we can expect an even bigger increase in our food bills in 2022. Feeding a family of four today is EXPENSIVE. I know because I do it. I am certain that many of you reading this also do it. How are we going to keep up with food prices? I am going to fight back by doing more food prep.
Food prep is an excellent way to keep us healthier, but it is also an excellent way to save money. I am all about staying healthy and saving money.
Do I love spending hours in my kitchen? I DO – but I also realize that many of my clients DO NOT. Let’s be realistic. We are busy. We have kids, jobs, hobbies, after-school activities, shopping, groceries, the gym, and an endless string of chores to get done each day. Where can we find the time to create a healthy food prep to save money.
If we can carve out a bit of time from our super busy weeks, we can get food prep done. Look, we need to do groceries anyways … we also need to put those groceries away when we get home. This is the perfect time to put aside a half hour to get a little food prep done. That is all the time you need. I am not asked for hours and hours of your time. So, what can we do with a half-hour?
All your groceries are on the counter, right? See those chicken breasts and thin steaks, and fresh fish filets? Leave those out. We are going to marinate them and get them ready for our meals this week.
See the cauliflower, lettuce, broccoli, red peppers, carrots? Leave those out with the meat, chicken, and fish. We are going to clean and chop these up. They are going to be prepared and ready to go in your fridge. These are the essentials for our healthy dinners/ and lunches.
Does your family eat rice/ quinoa/ barley etc.? If so, grab a pot, and make some rice. It can cook while you are prepping your proteins and veg. I always make a pot of rice, but I do not eat it. My family eats it.
Grab a second pot, we are going to boil some eggs for snacks, and breakfasts.
I hope you grabbed a bag of frozen green beans/ peas. We can use these for some of our meals. We can also use them for a chicken soup we are going to prepare mid-week.
Okay, let’s get to it. The rice is on the stove cooking, and the eggs are boiling. Keep an eye on them, please. When the rice is done, let it cool down, transfer it to a Tupperware, and put it in the fridge. When the eggs are done, allow them to cool, take the shells off, and place them in another Tupperware, ready to go in the fridge.
While your rice and eggs are cooking, get out your sharpest kitchen knife, and your cutting board. Let’s start with the chicken. I like to take my chicken breasts and cut them thinner. This enables me to cook them more quickly. Half the chicken I will cut thinner, the other half I will cut into small cubes to use in stir-fries, soups, etc. If you want to make it even more simple, buy two rotisserie chickens (I can get the 2nd one for ½ price), pull all the meat off of the bones, and chop it up.
If I am using raw chicken during my food prep, I get out the apple cider vinegar or lemons/ limes, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and I marinate my chicken. Put them in a Tupperware, and in the fridge, they go. Clean off your cutting board and your knife.
For the red meat, I do the same. This weekend I bought steaks at Costco. I cut those steaks thinner. I find that 1/ they go further, and 2/ they cook faster. I marinate my steaks with steak seasoning and a dash of low sodium soya sauce or coconut aminos. You do you Boo when it comes to seasoning your meats. Get another Tupperware and put your meat in the fridge.
Fish? I marinate my thin fish filets in lemon, salt, pepper – in the fridge they go for dinner on Monday night. I use my fish on Mondays, my chicken on Tuesdays, and my steaks on Wednesdays. (If I food prep on Sunday).
So now we have our lettuce, red peppers, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Clean your cutting board and start cleaning and chopping. Get your veggies ready to go for the next week.
Clean your counter, your cutting board, and the two pots that you used for the eggs, and rice. Done. Now you can order a pizza! That was a JOKE….
Let’s make a list of some of the dinners we can make in about 15 minutes with the food prep that we have spent 30 minutes on.
- Hard-boiled eggs with a side of red pepper
- Chicken Fried Rice
- Chicken Soup
- Grilled Chicken with cauliflower and a side salad
- Chicken salad
- Chicken stir-fry
- Steak or chicken fajitas
- Grilled fish with broccoli and a side salad
- Baked fish with rice and a side salad
- Steaks with green beans and a side salad
- Steak Salad
- Steak with cauliflower rice
I could go on and on and on and on with different meals/ ideas/ options. This is your weekly basic food prep. This will feed your family until Thursday night because who doesn’t love leftovers for lunches? Why not make extra chicken soup to bring to work? Or make steak sandwiches for your kids for school lunch. Give them a side of carrot sticks/ red peppers in their lunch also.
What about Thursday and Friday? We can pass by and grab a bit of ground beef at the supermarket or thaw it out from our freezers and make a big taco salad for dinner/ lunch the next day with any extra veggies we have hanging around from the shopping on Sunday. It’s a great way to clean out our veggie drawer in the fridge.
Friday night? I do pizza night in my house. I make myself a low-carb version and my kids (grown adults at this point), make their homemade crust.
Weekends? Well, in my house you are pretty much on your own during weekends. I will find something different to eat. This weekend my husband and I went out for dim sung on Saturday and brunch on Sunday. Sometimes I make ceviche, or we get creative and build a paella.
I hope that this helps you to put together some solid ideas for your food prep. If you do this in your house, share some ideas with us. How do you go about it? There isn’t just “my way”. There are so many ways that you can go about food prep.
Let’s save some money while staying healthy. 2022 is going to be rough on the wallet.
About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.
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