Good weather, longer days and a more consistent fitness routine keep us all up to date with our meal planning. If you and your friends, family, or partner are all on the same page to destroy your food planning game, why do not you do it together? With a bit of organization, you can create a fun event to spend more time with your loved ones, feel supported in the goals you work for and the best – save time and money on meals for the week!
Monthly Meal Prep Party!
Who is down and is determined for a 2-3 hour meal? Create a group text or Facebook message to set the ideal date and time for everyone. It might be a good idea to create a Google document to share ideas and delegate together.
Location, Location, Location
Who has the most space and most cooking utensils? Imagine, you probably need 2-3 chopping boards and chef's knives, an oven and a large frying pan, a potholder and a large, deep frying pan with sides and a cover. You also need a large pot with a cover for batch pasta, if that's on the menu. Find out if something might be needed with cooking utensils.
Funny stuff first to get you excited about cooking for three hours: Will there be drinks? A prepared fruit plate or some hummus, vegetables, olives and crackers in the store to stay while working? Entertainment: Can everyone agree on a show they can throw on a laptop or an iPad, a podcast marathon or a music playlist? Fun aprons? Whatever you decide, make sure you delegate who does what at the end of the convo, or it will be lost for a long scroll-up that will disappear forever.
Plan 2 dinners, 2 simple meals, 1-2 breakfast menus and 1-2 snacks for 5 working days. These are 5-6 recipes. You Need:
– Stew in the Oven,
– Stew on the Stove,
– A Casserole / Crockpot Meal,
– 2-3 easy to assemble meals (2 lunches, 1 breakfast) and
– 1-2 easy-to-assemble snacks.
You could opt for steel cut oats into a crockpot, so your two dinner meals must be oven gravy and oven roast. Or you can opt for a tofu breakfast for breakfast on the stove, so that your two meals are in the pot and in the oven. If you opt for baked egg omelette breakfast sandwiches, you will need dinner recipes for the crockpot and on the stove. You get the picture.
Simple cold lunches may be salads baked with hummus or tabbouleh and a side of wholegrain pita, or minced chicken from a fully cooked rotisserie and mixed with a low-fat chipotle mayonnaise, avocado dressing, or barbecue sauce. You can make a cold whole wheat pasta salad with fresh vegetables, beans and goat or feta cheese. Take a look at snack box recipes, trail mixes or energy snacks.
Check out Pinterest, Food Network, the New York Times, your favorite blogs, or Buzzfeed Tasty's Food Preparation Video Series for Ideas.
Since you will be sharing the portions, you should make sure that everyone finds recipes that he or she agrees to, or substitutes can easily be made. Put them all together in one place (like the Google Doc mentioned above) to make a simple shopping list.
Shopping List and Purchasing
Plan a budget of $ 50 per person (for 3 meals and 1-2 snacks per workday) at about $ 3.00 per meal – eat that, sweet green!) This is on best left as a one-person job, so nothing is missing and nothing is bought twice. Schedule 30-40 minutes to create the ingredients lists of the recipes and multiply the portions as needed for each recipe. If you are a couple and you make a typical night oat recipe that offers 4 servings, this is 2 acres for each of you. You either have to double the recipe or plan to make 6 servings of another quick breakfast like smoothie packs or yogurt parfaits. Consider using an online service to deliver the right to the party location the previous day. Peapod, Walmart and Amazon Prime Pantry are all grocery delivery services that you can order online. If that's not an option, plan for one of them to do the shopping a day (Venmo is a light-headed way to financially rearrange things after everything is said and done).
Last Piece of Logistics: Food Storage  Ideally all participants go out for 5 working days with breakfast, lunch, dinner and 1-2 snacks from this party. Plan your food storage accordingly and if this could be an additional purchase / delivery accessory for groups. Tupperware, foil wrapping sandwiches, gallons and plastic bags in snack format, etc. Speak it through and decide if it's a group purchase or bring your own. Make sure everyone brings reusable shopping bags to carry everything!
Crank it out!
Set the stage.
Party favors first! Put on music, make snacks, have a drink and chat while everyone unpacks and organizes the shopping. I also recommend opting for a simple meal to order or enjoy the fast of the food trip.
Set the stations.
Plan at least one place to prepare raw fruits / vegetables, one for cold meal assembly and one for serving ready meals in containers. Ideally, there is also a cleanup station that is ready to go and be free of food so everyone can keep things clean. You will see that you have to use tools more than once, so ideally you can quickly walk to the sink to keep things moving at a good pace.
The longest cooking time is built first.
Preheat your oven based on your pan recipe before doing anything. After that, your first priority is to set up the crockpot. Next, get your oven meal prepared and in. Set timer for those, and use their cooking time to pop your oven plate sautés or cooking pasta. One can man the oven while the other puts together snacks and cold lunches.
Do not stop until it's done!
Cleaning counts – make it together and it will take half the time.
Keep it Going
Was food preparation a success for this week? Make sure you let your fellow human beings know – talk about your favorite recipes out of what you did together, what went well, and what you plan to do for the rest of the month. If everyone loved it, you have a monthly party yourself!
Think about starting a calendar or a weekly food journal to track the snacks and recipes you've made. It will be fun to see how much you have achieved together, and it gives you ideas that you can look back to and try again when you need inspiration. You can also consider theme nights or plan to record at least one comfort food recipe or at least one new one that no one has done before. Plan to do something around the holidays when everyone has an event to bring something to or start a new holiday tradition (like vegetarian food preparation to celebrate Earth Day).
Share your videos, recipes and pictures on social media to convince other friends to join you. Building a community around food planning will require a long, difficult process for one person and make it a social event that everyone is looking forward to!