I have noticed a distinct pattern on repeat in my kitchen (well, at least on the weeks when I have my food prep game on point). On Sunday evening, my refrigerator is full to bursting, and slowly but surely, by the time Friday rolls around, things are looking pretty sparse. Of course, this is by design, and really, pretty darn efficient with respect to both grocery budget and time spent cooking. I thought it might be fun to post a real life Week of My Refrigerator Shelves, time lapse style.
We start out strong! Sunday food prep was legit, so Monday morning fridge is STOCKED.
A few details on what’s in here:
PROTEINS : Grilled chicken thighs, assorted grilled sausages, a huge batch of pumpkin chili, and a baked friatta (in the big red dish)
COOKED VEGGIES : Roasted sweet potatoes, roasted kabocha squash wedges, broccoli (par-steamed), fried plantain cubes, blanched asparagus
RAW, PREPPED VEGGIES : Rainbow carrots, brussels, greens (rinsed and layered in paper towels), onions, celery, radishes, etc.
MISC : Rice for husband, shredded cheese for me, assorted fruits and veg not yet prepped, a container of my fav salsa
First thing Tuesday morning is still pretty similar…
but on Wednesday we start to see a difference.
Wednesday afternoon is when I typically restock with any fresh produce we need. And apparently, some iced coffee. (Side note : I was excited about the Mexican Chocolate flavor, but I was a lazy label reader and this one was way too sweet. Couldn’t drink it all.) I also picked up some cabbage (hidden in a drawer), another container of spinach, some sliced ham, and a new brand of grass-fed sausages to try.
By Thursday, most of my prepped food has left the building.
This is intentional to a large degree, since I think 4-5 days is the maximum window I want for consuming prepared food. I admit, I will totally eat things on day 5 if they still smell proper, but after that, even I get a bit wary. So, somewhere between Wednesday and Thursday morning we hit the tipping point, and the shelves are looking lean.
F R I D A Y !
We tend to eat one or two meals out on the weekend (looking at you, brunch), so it’s ideal for me to have just a few lingering items to use up. I also tend to take the weekends to make more “single serving” meals since we don’t rely on leftovers Saturday and Sunday. These meals tend to be things that either don’t reheat well (I LOVE a fish taco, but don’t dig on reheated fish) or “treat” meals that I choose to keep limited so I don’t veer too far off course (like a gluten-free pizza night).
Things I noticed while assembling this post:
Some of the vegetables I stored in the bottom drawers never surfaced. Oops. A few things had decent shelf life, like the parsnips, but that head of lettuce on the right – yeah, somehow I just never took it out of the drawer and used it. So, note for future – buy a little less produce since I know that I do restock mid-week. (I did use the lettuce over the weekend, but had to toss several of the outer leaves.)
When I take the time to fully meal prep on a Sunday, my week goes really smoothly, I don’t get tempted to eat less healthy foods or pick up take-out, and my grocery budget goes much farther. Obviously, I also have a good deal more free time in the mornings (since breakfast and lunch are ready to go) and evenings, so it’s extra worth the planning and prep time if I know I have a busy week ahead.
Although I am not this efficient every week, I do make a point to prep at least one or two things each Sunday (barring special events or travel) to give me a head-start on the week. I always recommend incorporating some type of meal prep into all of my clients’ routines, and each time I hear that the pay-off is worth the effort. Let me know if you have meal prep questions, or successes to share!