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We know we should eat better. But that takeout salad is pretty expensive, and it’s not very filling. And who has time to make dinner at the end of a long day?

We’re here to help you hack your kitchen. Using the popular #SundayPrep technique, it’s possible to eat better while saving time and spending less. Here’s how it works.

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The Goals of #SundayPrep

Should you choose to accept your mission, we challenge you to prepare a week’s worth of meals on Sunday. With meal-sized portions of food stacked in your freezer and refrigerator, you’ll be ready to deal with a busy week without stressing about what to eat. It does take some preparation and forward thinking, but the rewards are worth it.

The time savings of preparing your meals in bulk are significant. They’re even greater if you cook in bulk just once a month instead of weekly. Here is the run-down on the monthly time savings. You’ll save 7 hours grocery shopping by doing one big trip rather than many small trips. You’ll save 8.5 hours on prep work like chopping, peeling and preheating. You’ll save approximately 4.5 hours of cooking time, depending on the recipes you choose. And you’ll save 10.5 hours on kitchen cleanup. So in total, that adds up to 30.5 hours of saved time. That’s like having a whole extra day each month!

Compared to eating out, home cooking is a well-documented solution for a healthier diet. According to a report on public health and nutrition compiled by Johns Hopkins University, cooking at home can save you 959 calories, 21 grams of fat, and 112 grams of sugar in just one week. Compounded over an entire year, that would be nearly 50,000 calories you didn’t consume. Consider how much less you’d have to work out if you didn’t eat those calories. Using the generally accepted rate of 100 calories per mile burned while running, that’s 500 miles you don’t have to run.

There are also significant money savings to be had by using your apartment’s kitchen rather than ordering takeout. On average, by making food in bulk, your meals will cost $1.29 per meal. When preparing a regular home-cooked meal, expect to pay $6.41 per meal. It costs an average of $8 per meal for take-out, and eating out costs about $13 per meal. This means that your total savings after one year of cooked weekday meals made in bulk could be between $1,331 and $3,045. That could be extra payments on your student loan (#adulting), or it could be a new laptop and phone (#reality).

In the New York Times, one writer said that her #1 money saving tip was to not eat out unless it’s a social activity. After all of the money saved, she said: “Summer vacation in Scotland was so much better than Chinese takeout ever could be.”

How To Prepare Meals in Bulk

For #SundayPrep, you’ll need to start by making a game plan. Figure out how many meals you need to cook by multiplying the number of meals per day that you’re preparing times the number of days you’re cooking for times the number of people in your household.

Now that you have your total number, create a freezer-friendly meal plan and choose your recipes. Look for ways to mix and match ingredients to add variety. For example, if you make a baked chicken, you can use that ingredient in a few different ways for your week’s meals. There are plenty of freezer-friendly recipes available online, but one of our favorites is this recipe for sweet potato breakfast burritos. So delicious! There’s also a large selection of crock-pot recipes available online that can be inspiration for your menu selections.

After you have your weekly meal plan, make the ultimate grocery list and get your ingredients. When possible, buy in bulk to get lower prices and save time on future trips to the grocery store.

Now it’s time to get started in the kitchen. Prep and cook your proteins, veggies and grains. Multi-task to save time so that while your chicken is baking in the oven, you’re being efficient and chopping your veggies.

Next, divide the food into meal-sized containers and individual snack packs. Think about how convenient frozen dinners are because they’re pre-portioned and ready to go. This is what you are creating for yourself. To save space in your freezer, use ziplock bags to flat-pack. Southern Living has a video on how to portion flat-pack freezer foods and create individually portioned soups.

Next, freeze, refrigerate or store your portioned meals. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t freeze salad veggies, potatoes or cream sauces. Refer to this list from the University of Georgia on foods that don’t freeze well. Now you’re all done preparing your bulk meals.

During the week, it’s best to defrost your frozen foods in the fridge the day before. Never defrost at room temperature, and only thaw in microwave if you plan to eat it right away.

When it’s time to eat, you’ll be glad to never have the hungry feeling when you get back to your apartment at the end of the day and need to figure out dinner. Just place your defrosted meal in a 350-degree oven until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

While it’s easy to wish that we had a cook preparing meals for us each day in our luxury apartment, for the time being, it’s possible to DIY by preparing meals in advance.



About :

Amber is the Director of Content Marketing for ForRent.com and has been with the company since April 2007. In her role, Amber strategizes, executes and optimizes a content and social media plans across multiple channels and platforms. This includes blogs, social networks, video sharing sites, and other conversational media. She spends a great deal of time building relationships with consumers, social media influencers, and bloggers to generate awareness of the ForRent.com brands. In her free time, Amber loves running, #hashtags, and DIY projects.

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