Tips to meal prep like a boss

In our home, we don't tend to make large amounts of one meal to then eat throughout the week. Instead, we find it more realistic and more enjoyable to prepare a few staple ingredients, so that making meals throughout the week takes less time and less energy. It helps us make more wholesome food choices and decreases the frequency with which we order out. 

1. Onions

We all know the struggle of chopping onions. So instead of chopping it daily, we try to do it just once a week, and with the help of a food processor. 

Action step: batch peel and quarter the onions, and instead of chopping them yourself, put them in a food processor and pulse them until they're coarsely chopped. Then using a little bit of oil in a non-stick pan, cook the onions on high heat until they soften. When they start to stick to the bottom, instead of adding more oil, simply add a little splash of water and stir. This helps to deglaze the pan, which helps to caramelize the onions and prevents them from burning. Repeat this as needed until all the onions are caramelized. This usually takes about 10 minutes. Place the onions in an air-tight container, let them cool, and place them in the fridge. Store them for up to 5 days.

Use these onions in pasta sauces, casseroles, soups, or stir-fries. It saves time peeling, chopping, and cooking throughout the week. 

2. Garlic

Peeling garlic when we're in a rush to make dinner can be a real hassle. 

Action step: advance cut and peel a big batch of garlic. It's a mindless activity we do while we're talking on the phone or watching TV. Once peeled, place the cloves in an airtight container and place it in the fridge. Store them for up to 2 weeks.

Now we have garlic ready to go to chop, mince, or crush into whichever dishes we desire.  

3. Grains & legumes

Whole grains, such as brown rice, are nourishing and fibre-rich alternatives to refined grains, such as white rice. There's room in our lives for both whole grains and refined grains, but we may be drawn to refined grains considering they cook more quickly. 

Action step: aim to soak whole grains and lentils before cooking, ideally for up to 8 hours or overnight. Read our soaking article to learn about the many benefits of soaking before cooking, one of which is the reduced cooking time! It's also helpful if we can rinse the beans or lentils at some point while it's soaking in order to wash away those compounds that can make us gassy. 

Once soaked overnight, we like to cook up the grains and legumes and store in airtight containers in the fridge to enjoy throughout the week. 

4. Hummus

This is a staple food in our home. We have it almost every day, either as a snack with some veggies, in a sandwich for lunch, or as a condiment with dinner.  

Action step: using either canned or cooked chickpeas, make a batch of hummus to store in the fridge. Pack some for lunch or as a snack on the go. It tends to be more wholesome than the store-bought variety, and way more affordable too. 

To learn how to make homemade hummus, check out our collection of PUL hummus recipes for some ideas.

roasted beetroot hummus with crackers
Try our Vibrant Roasted Beetroot Hummus recipe!

5. Veggies

We're more likely to eat veggies if they're readily on hand.  

Action step: for veggies that lose their crispness, such as celery and carrots, place them in a jar. Fill the jar with water so that the veggies are submerged and store this jar in the fridge. This can help to keep the veggies fresh and crisp for slightly longer.

Enjoy these veggies in salads, cooked dishes, or dipped with hummus!

6. Frozen bananas

Frozen bananas are versatile, filling, and oh so delicious. We use them for many things. Smoothies, homemade soft-serve ice cream, and oatmeal for some naturally creamy and sweet goodness.

Action step: peel super ripe bananas. We like to quarter them so that every 4 pieces is equal to 1 banana. Then arrange these pieces on a single layer sheet and place them in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer the pieces to an airtight container or freezer bag, and place them back in the freezer. The first round of freezing helps keep the cut-up banana from sticking together.

Now we have some nicely frozen bananas that are stashed and ready to use! Feel free to also batch freeze any other fruit this way too, such as fresh berries, mangoes, or peaches.

7. Granola

There are so many different ways to make and enjoy granola. For example, a breakfast parfait is a super quick and incredibly delicious way to start the morning. Granola tends to be full of nuts, seeds, and whole grains which is an added bonus to help keep us full throughout the day. Granola can also be enjoyed with plant-based milk, similar to cereal, sprinkle granola overtop of your favourite smoothie bowl, or enjoy it with some yogurt and fresh fruit as a snack. 

Action step: make a batch of granola to keep in the pantry. Here are some of our homemade granola recipes:

granola in a bowl
Enjoy one of our favourites: toasted coconut & almond granola

There you have it, 7 ways to maximize time in the kitchen. We hope that these tips were helpful in helping you meal prep like a boss. Happy cooking!