A Queensland woman has come up with a meal prepping and planning routine that sees her save an average of $4000 a year on her grocery bill.
Evelyn Paynter has been meal prepping for years and decided to share some of her tips and tricks to help others be more organised in the kitchen.
The 23-year-old says she has even managed to get to a point now where she has zero food waste. So how does she do it?
Evelyn spends one morning prepping and planning food for the whole week, and only cooks dinner four nights a week – one of those nights she will cook bulk meals which she can freeze.
Two nights a week she has meals she has previously frozen, and on the seventh night nan cooks a family dinner.
“Meal prepping this way makes dinner so much less daunting. And I actually quite enjoy cooking,” Evelyn tells Be.
“It also means less clean up time which gives me so much more time to spend with my family every day.”
Evelyn first started meal prepping because she has a connective tissue disorder (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome) and a spinal injury causing her to live with chronic pain.
“Basically, I can barely walk after work let alone prepare and cook a meal,” she tells us.
But her routine has not only saved her stress and pain, it has also saved her money.
“I would say it saves at least $40 a week just on takeaways, and another $40 for the other three night’s worth of food I had bought to cook, but never did,” she told News.com.au.
“We barely throw any food out now compared to when I would have to spend half an hour before grocery shopping to clean out the fridge.”
Now every breakfast, lunch, and snack is prepped and dinners organised. Evelyn says for breakfast she enjoys avocado on toast, muesli or smoothies. And for lunch she makes different salads.
“I make all my salads complete except for the dressing and I wash and slice all the salad food for my husband’s wraps at the same time so he can just chuck it all on and go,” Evelyn tells Be.
When it comes to dinner, she has a healthy mix of comfort food which is easy to freeze, and freshly cooked stir-frys or roasts.
“I found the best meals to freeze are saucy comfort meals like pasta bake or lasagne so i try to avoid things like that on my cooked meals,” she says.
Photos of her fridge tell the story best – it goes from almost completely empty before shopping, except for long-life condiments, to being full of prepped meals in containers, all to be eaten that week.
“If someone wants to meal prep but finds an entire week daunting, start with either just lunches and snacks or just do two or three days’ worth,” Evelyn suggests. “Do whatever suits you and your family best.”
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