This article is part of our #MyMealPrep series, where Whole30 Certified Coaches and other Whole30 community members and creatives share their favorite methods, systems, tips and hacks for staying organized in the kitchen while prepping their Whole30 meals.
Hi Whole30’ers! I’m Ashley, a Whole30 Certified Coach, Clinical Pharmacist, Natural Health Educator, wife and mom of two. You can connect with me at my website or on Instagram. Today, I’m sharing my meal prep method, which I’ve fine tuned over the last eight years. I hope these five tips will make your Whole30 a little bit easier!
The Magic of Whole30 Meal Prep
I started meal prepping during a particularly busy season of life. I was in pharmacy school and my husband worked nights, so having meals already prepared was incredibly helpful. Instead of walking into the kitchen and wondering what Whole30 compliant food I could throw together, I had a solid plan that kept me on track.
The method that works best for me is to dedicate one afternoon each week to doing all of my prep work, so that when mealtimes roll around, I can get everything on the table in a few minutes, tops. Here is how I tackle my meal prep afternoons, broken down into five Whole30 meal prep tips!
Tip One: Clean Your Kitchen
Before you start prepping any food, clean your space. Empty the dishwasher, clear the sink of dishes, and clear the counters of clutter. For extra credit, queue up a good podcast or radio station to create a positive and fun environment.
Tip Two: Maximize Your Time and Workspace
Get the most out of your time in the kitchen by setting up multiple stations. I like to have one recipe in my slow cooker or Instant Pot; another simmering on the stove; and a third recipe in the oven … all at one time!
Get out the gadgets, tools and ingredients you’ll need. I suggest you work on the slow cooker meal first, since it will take the longest to cook. Then move onto the oven recipe, and finally, the stove-top recipe.
Here’s some suggestions of dishes that I like to make at each of my stations:
Slow Cooker or Instant Pot
- Shredded protein for salads (such as chicken salad) or to add to prepared veggies to make a quick “ingredient meal”
- Compliant soups, stews or chili
- BBQ chicken or pork
- Chicken or pork + veggie curry
- Pot roast with veggies
- Anything from The Whole30 Slow Cooker
- Egg muffins (bacon or prosciutto, eggs, veggies)
- Roasted veggies (for salads, as a side, with eggs for breakfast)
- Bacon for Cobb salads, taco salads, or mixed in with veggies
- Baked or roasted sweet potatoes
- Roasted whole butternut squash to make soup
- Hard boiled eggs
- Cauliflower rice
- One pot meals like stir-fry, chili, soup or stew (find the recipe for my favorite stir-fry here)
- Sauteed veggies for egg scrambles or salads
- Diced sweet potato, apple, red onion for egg scrambles
- Shepherd’s pie (see my Instagram Whole30 highlight for a compliant version @ashleyhcribbliving)
Once you have your dishes cooking, spend the rest of your time wisely. Wash, chop and prepare any raw vegetables, salad mixes and other produce you need for the week. Make spice blends, salad dressings, mayo or other sauces. As each dish finishes cooking, portion them out into containers as needed so that you can easily take them to work or on the go.
Tip Three: Clean As You Go
After your prep work is done and you have a dish cooking at a station, clean up each station and wash and dry your dishes or load your dishwasher. This way, you won’t end up with a disaster area in your kitchen at the end of your prep! I like to clean up one station at a time; otherwise the kitchen ends up feeling chaotic.
Tip Four: Create a Spreadsheet
A good spreadsheet is key to keeping your Whole30 meal prep organized! This is helpful if you share cooking duties with a partner or during seasons of life where you need extra help. It’s also helpful when I’m feeling food boredom.
I use Google Sheets to keep a list of:
- My favorite recipes
- Links to websites where the recipe is found, or the name of the cookbook and page number where it can be found
- Special ingredients needed
- Notes about the recipe such as substitutions or ingredients that need to be omitted
- Notes for freezing or doubling the recipe
Tip Five: Make double batches to freeze for the future
If you’re feeling like earning a little extra credit, make double batches of dishes that freeze well like chili, soups, shepherd’s pie or egg muffins. Put them in the freezer for extra-crazy weeks. I’ve created this freezer meal resource for my Whole30 Coaching clients that you may find helpful. This habit has saved my family many times!
Hope you found these tips helpful … Happy meal prepping!
Dr. Ashley Cribb is a Clinical Pharmacist who specializes in functional and holistic medical practices, helping people change their lives through creating sustainable, healthy habits. She has experience in multiple clinical settings, including inpatient hospital care, pediatrics, compounding and community pharmacy, and has a passion for empowering individuals with the knowledge to take charge of their health.
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