Food/Meal Prep is kind of a funny thing. People either love or hate being in the kitchen. When culinary adventures are in your blood they just are, however, when they’re not – “cooking up a storm” just isn’t fun.
Between job commitments and family schedules, the working weeks are crazy! One of the last things most people want to do is plan a dinner table full of fancy, stylish foodie things from scratch.
Anyhow, the point being made here is that while leisurely cooking might not be your thing, you still need to eat and eat well. You don’t have to go all out, to provide meals that your and your family will love.
Meal Planning Made Easy
Believe it or not, iStratus is here to help you relieve some of that chaos felt in the kitchen when you prefer to avoid it like the plague.
What’s the secret? Meal planning. (Ok, so that probably sounds tedious, but it doesn’t have to be).
Taking 5 (or 15) minutes at the beginning of the week to plan out meals is a MASSIVE, timesaver. It always helps reduce the time and energy involved in “dreading” meal prep.
Smart Meal Planning
This isn’t new news… how many of us (*raises a hand, slaps own forehead*) are guilty of wishing we were more efficient meal planners without actually having to plan any meals?
The truth is it only takes five minutes to sit down and type out a recipe list for the week. Using iStratus you can easily start by adding any recipes you know you and the family love to a checklist.
Next, fill in the remaining slots for the week with quick and easy recipes, that you often have staple ingredients stored in the pantry for.
ORGANIZE Those FAVORITE Recipes
Meal planning happens much quicker when using an organized recipe catalog. You’ve probably already guessed by now that iStratus loves to organize, organize and organize.
Easily create Food File Categories for:
- Recipes you want to try.
- Your “Quick and Easy” meals.
- Recipes you have tried and loved including a note with links or references (unless those tried and true favorites are memorized).
When planning, pull up your checklist and choose a few things that stick out.
Shop All At Once
This is the toughest part of meal planning – but it saves time (and money!) in the long term. You might even find it reduces food waste too.
- Plan your weekly meals, noting your grocery list at the same time. Here’s a secret we use.
- Use iStratus to checklist your shopping against your pantry items, and do one shopping trip or better yet use a service like Instacart or Amazon Prime to have your groceries delivered
Multiple visits tend to deviate into unneeded things, so checking and sticking to your list curbs temptation!
Not EVERYTHING has to be Prepared From Scratch
One of the best things about iStratus is that information is stored. You don’t have to keep doing things on repeat or making food from scratch either. WHAT?! How does food prep help your organizational skills?
If you have a grocery store like Wegmans or Whole Foods (love them both)! You can save additional time following your meal plan by using iStratus to:
- Establish a shopping list, linking via copy, ingredients from recipes into notes/a checklist. And –
- If you know the supermarket layout well, pop down the aisle number for the ingredients on your list, it’s a bonus timesaver.
Side note: There is no shame in pre-chopped fresh ingredients or frozen fruits and veggies folks; you’re allowed to cut some corners. (Especially if it means there’s no microwaved Spaghetti-O’s every week).
Join a Foodie Mailing List and Daily Dropbox Meal Ideas
When the repetition starts to get boring it’s time to incorporate new sources of inspiration. Sign up for email updates from chefs and food bloggers. That way, tasty, interesting food ideas are right there on your phone as you’re drinking your morning coffee!
Any recipes that inspire you – copy them directly into your “Daily Dropbox” or your “Recipes to Try” folder. And boom! Meal plans are a one-stop-shop!
Throughout the Week
Using the Slow Cooker on Sundays can be a busy Mom’s friend. A few favorite Slow Cooker recipes are Chicken Cacciatore and Vegetable Curry. Be it a Monday or Wednesday it doesn’t matter, reheat and serve to save time. Favorites stick, simply switch side dishes to avoid boredom.
List Swap-able Staples
9/10 times a mysterious thing happens when you plan in fine detail: There’s change!
We can have the best intentions, the checklists, and the best-stocked fridge on the planet, but sometimes, you just want pizza to arrive. IT’S ALL GOOD.
Build a “cheat day” into your weekly meal plan – use it whenever necessary, there are no rules.