Doing ingredient prep before the first day of your new diet is probably the best thing you can do to start off strong. I like it better than prepping full meals, because it opens up more flexibility on a day-to-day basis. And it’s not as time-consuming on the front end, while still saving you time when you fix your meal.
You don’t have to do it all at once; do it over two or three sessions if that works better for you. Do you like company in the kitchen? Invite some. Prefer solitude? Put on your favorite music and tell everyone else to stay outta your way!
(Note: some links on this page go to my food blog, oh, that’s tasty!)
Ingredient prep suggestions:
- Chop enough onions to last you two to three days. If you’re not already adept at dicing an onion, here’s a how-to from SimplyRecipes. Dicing onions would be a good thing to practice and get comfortable with, because this is the first step to just about every savory dish.
- If you’ll be using hamburger: Cook up some hamburger, and/or form it into individual patties; store both in the freezer. THIS IS ESSENTIAL: > Divide the hamburger into one- or two-serving baggies for quicker, easier thawing. Press the raw hamburger out flat so it will thaw even more quickly.
- If you’ll be using cooked chicken, and you didn’t buy it already cooked: Roast some, grill some, or cook some in the crockpot. Again, ESSENTIAL: > Divide the cooked chicken into one- or two-serving baggies for quicker, easier thawing.
- If you’ll be using bacon: Cook a batch in the oven. Yes, you can freeze cooked bacon too. (A great way to hide it from the bacon monster in your house!)
- If there are any spice mixes you want to make, mix those up. (My taco seasoning mix.)
- Hard boil some eggs, if you want to use them in your menus. I’ve found that an Instant Pot makes the easiest to peel eggs. Want to go low-tech? This handy glass egg timer ensures that your eggs are cooked just right, every time!
- Making salads? Make one or two salad dressings. (Links to my sugar-free dressing recipes.)
- Chop parsley and put it in a baggie in your freezer. Squeeze most of the air out. It keeps for weeks, and it’s easy to grab a tablespoon or a handful, as your recipe requires. No more chopping, no thawing needed. Prepare it just like spinach, below.
- Using spinach for smoothies or soups? Yep, you can store that in the freezer too.
- Sweet potatoes don’t have to be served in a dessert-like casserole! They’re great as a side dish, mashed with a little cinnamon and a good amount of butter. For a savory version, use taco seasoning instead of cinnamon. I add them, plain and diced, to scrambled eggs and other skillet dishes. I also love them as a bottom layer for taco meat or any barbequed meat. My two favorite ways to store: Cut them in 1/2″ slices, steam till just done, then stash them in the freezer. Or nuke one or more sweet potatoes, dice them, and keep in the fridge for a few days. Freeze to keep longer.
Find even more food prep tips from others.
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Want more tips on choosing and prepping real food ingredients? Check out this guide book: The Real Food Grocery Guide.