Meal prepping is all about getting your food prepped in advance so that you have less cooking to do when you actually need the meals most. It’s a great concept right?
But doing all that prep takes time.
So I want to show you seven of my favourite foods that you can use for faster meal prep.
Getting all of that chopping and mincing out of the way in advance can literally change your life on weeknights when time is precious and food is needed quickly.
Now, some of these items may not be available just yet at your local grocery store but I want to give a huge shout out to President’s Choice (who are not sponsoring this post in way) for the fact that they carry many of these items.
I’ll bet someone in that company is a fellow food prepping, busy mom who understands our needs!
My favourite frozen veggies
1. Frozen Veggies
Frozen veggies are economical. But even more importantly, they are often more nutritious than their fresh veggie counterparts from the supermarket.
The reason for this is that these veggies are frozen sooner after being harvested which means that they retain more nutrients than veggies that have had to travel across the world in their fresh state, to sit on a truck and then wait in the produce section, before reaching our dinner plates.
And most importantly, frozen veggies are prepped ready to be cooked. They can be thrown into a pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper or roasted and topped with a little goat’s cheese or they can be added directly to soups and stews with no washing, peeling or chopping!
2. Cauliflower Rice
When you are maximizing the amount of nutrients you get from your food want to be eating lots of vegetables.
Compare the nutrients in rice with those in vegetables and the veggies are going to come out on top every time so a simple substitution is to use grated cauliflower instead of rice.
Now, don’t get me wrong, cutting up a head of cauliflower and putting the florets into the food processor is not really difficult work but it is messy…the cauliflower seems to get on everything when you try to wash your dishes. And don’t even get me started on trying to do this with a hand grater!
So finding these bags of prepared cauliflower pearls (aka rice) was definitely a win because I know it will save many heads of cauliflower from going to waste in well meaning peoples’ fridges.
3. Frozen Avocado
Did you even know that avocado could be frozen? Yes!
In fact, it freezes so well that you can take it out, defrost it and create a guacamole that is so fresh and creamy you would never know it had been frozen.
And honestly, the price point for a 400g bag is similar to what I would pay for a bag of five avocados that I would still have to peel myself and the amount of guacamole was possibly even more than I would get from all of the fresh ones!
So frozen avocado it is with the exception of days when I am prepping guacamole to freeze (which now you know you is possible)! In that case, I buy fresh avocados.
4. Frozen Butternut Squash Cubes
This one is a huge time saver.
Yes, it is a frozen vegetable and could have been left in that category.
But if you have ever peeled a butternut squash, you know that having it peeled, seeded and cubed, ready to throw on a cookie sheet for roasting or into directly into your soup or stew, is priceless. So it gets it’s own category.
5. Peeled Garlic
I guess it depends on how much garlic you use but if you find you don’t use a lot, I recommend you use more:-).
Garlic is known for its antifungal properties in the human body as well as its usefulness is supporting the immune system. Plus, it tastes fantastic and can bring a dish to the next level.
If a recipe calls for two garlic cloves, I use four. You just can’t get enough garlic.
So this peeled garlic comes in handy because most of the work is done for you. I can just take it out of the bag and chop it. And the only ingredient is garlic!
At such a low price point, although I do not condone wasting food, I am ok if I do not get though the whole bag.
6. Raw Peeled Shrimp (when it is on sale)
Shrimp is not cheap. I get that. And buying “Easy Peel Raw Shrimp” is less expensive but when it comes to meal prep for four, peeling up to 80 individual shrimp is just not a great way to spend your time.
Shrimp makes such a great meal prep option because all you need to do is make whatever sauce or marinade you plan to cook it in and once it is cool, add it to the frozen shrimp and put it right back in the freezer (in a sealed bag or container).
And then, when you want to enjoy the shrimp, you just defrost it and throw in a pan with a little olive oil or butter until it is cooked through. Better yet, pair it with cauliflower rice!
I’m telling you, there may be nothing easier than meal prepping shrimp.
So every now and then your grocery store will put the peeled raw shrimp on sale and that is a time to grab a bunch of bags. We use two bags per meal, which is about two pounds for a family of four.
7. Bagged Salad
And finally, bagged salad.
You want about three quarters of your plate to be covered in vegetables and one of the easiest ways to do that is by having a salad with every meal.
And although salad can be very easy to put together, that whole washing the lettuce part and cutting up the veggies task usually leads to everything just rotting in my fridge because I don’t do it.
So I generally like to meal prep one salad and then buy a bagged salad to tide me over once the first salad is eaten…(and as a side note…sometimes I just go through two bags of salad instead of making any myself)!
We all know that meal prep can be a big task if you make it that way and the bigger your meal prep, the bigger the payoff in the week ahead but if you keep your out eye out for hacks like these, you can make a big meal prep day go even faster.
What are some of your favourite foods for faster meal prep? Please comment below.
For more simple By Design recipes why not pick up your copy of the Eat By Design Cookbook. I’ve created it in the form of a 28-day meal plan (plus grocery lists!) so you don’t need to think about what’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner for the next month. Or you can grab the first 7 days FREE by clicking here.