Cooking under quarantine requires a little extra planning and thought. For those who love schedules and to-do lists, this will spark excitement. For those who wing everything as they go, this might come as a bit of a shock. Below are four steps to meal prepping to ensure you are well fed for the week.
Plan Your Grocery Store Visits
While trying to reduce the amount of time we spend outside the house and surrounded by crowds, it is important to plan out your grocery store trips. Seek to minimize your shopping down to one trip per week. If you normally frequent the store every evening on the way home from work to pick up a few odds and ends for dinner, this will be a transition. It will call for some advanced preparation, which you will find below. It also can help if you buy your products in bulk. No need to pull all of the pasta noodles off the shelf. You will be back next week! But, try to buy enough of each item to last you through the week.
Plan Out Each Meal
One helpful tip for reducing your grocery store trips is to plan out your meals. Think through each meal you will eat this coming week and break it down by ingredient. It sounds much harder than it actually is. Breakfasts can simply include eggs and toast or granola and yogurt. Lunches can spill over from dinner’s leftovers or require you to keep a few extra salad supplies on hand. Usually dinners will require the most effort. Take 20 minutes and think through what exactly you want to make and write down the ingredients you will need for these recipes.
Cook in Bulk
Working remotely may also mean you are home for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you are used to grabbing a meal at the office cafeteria or taking a client out to a restaurant for lunch, you will have to put in a little more planning. If you like having lunches prepared and on hand for you when your stomach starts to growl, cook your meals in bulk. Bake an entire cookie sheet of diced sweet potatoes and veggies. Cook a few extra cups of rice. Throw together an additional portion of salad. Grill double the chicken. That way, you have everything you need waiting for you the next day or the next couple of days.
When you cook in bulk, you do not always need to season your food as fully. You can then change your meals, even though they have the same or similar ingredients, into completely different taste palettes. For example, your rice, chicken, and veggie meal can turn from a thai dish to a salad with a switch of the sauce.
Change it Up
Eating home more can get a little boring if you do not account for it. This new season may need an upswing of creativity in the kitchen to get you through. You can continue with your staple meals, but sprinkle in some fun new recipes that you have been wanting to try. Purchase the ingredients you need at the store (because you planned for the week ahead, right?) and you can put together something new and exciting that will help you stay excited about eating at home.