In this post, I bring you along on a day of meal prepping. Join me in the kitchen on a busy spring day filled with lots of cooking as I prepare homemade meals and snacks for the week ahead.
5:00 am–7:00 am: Quiet Time
A few years ago I gave up using an alarm clock. I wanted to allow my body to get as much sleep as it needs each day. Now that it is spring, I find myself waking up before six on most days.
At 5:00 am it is still dark, and I start my day in peaceful solitude. I update my journal and check my to-do list for the day. Then I read a couple chapters of a non-fiction book and meditate for twenty minutes. By the time I am done, the sun is starting to rise, so I go onto the balcony to enjoy the morning spring sunshine.
7:00 am–8:00 am: Breakfast
My first homemaking task for today is to prepare breakfast. Today we’re having poached eggs with tomatoes on toast, with a cup of lemon tea.
As always, I wash the dishes immediately after breakfast—if I don’t, they’ll sit there for hours. While I am washing the breakfast dishes, I take the chance to wash an old honey jar. I love to collect and reuse pretty glass jars, and this one is a beauty.
8:00 am–8:30 am: Morning Chores
Today is Monday, so I put a load of bedding into the washing machine and vacuum the bed. Then I fold last night’s laundry, which dried on a clothes horse overnight, and put it away. While I am doing this, my husband vacuums the floors. By the end of this half hour, our apartment looks tidy and ready for the day.
9:30 am–10:30 am: Meal Prep Monday
After a break, I get started on my first meal prep task of the day. I like to spend time each Monday preparing food for the week ahead. It’s a wonderful feeling to start the week with a supply of homemade meals. I call this routine Meal Prep Monday.
Today I’m making dumplings. It takes just a few minutes to mix up a colourful filling of beef, carrot, and cabbage. Then I sit down at the dining table with a package of dumpling wrappers, and I begin folding the dumplings.
Folding dumplings is a satisfying task—it’s like making edible origami. After the first few dumplings, I fall into a rhythm and the pile of wrappers begins to dwindle. I end up with 64 dumplings, which equates to eight portions. I set aside 16 dumplings for lunch, and I put the rest into the freezer.
10:30 am–11:30 am: Reset and Rest
I wash and dry the dishes that I used for my dumpling making session, and I wipe down the dining table and kitchen. It doesn’t take long to restore the kitchen to order, and now it’s ready for the next task.
After the kitchen has been reset, I give myself a rest. On busy days like today, I always punctuate my day with rest. When I take regular breaks, I accomplish more, not less, and I feel better while doing it.
11:30 am–12:30 pm: Lunch
It’s time to sample the dumplings. I fry 16 dumplings in a bit of oil until the bottoms are golden, then I add some water and cover the pan. A few minutes later, lunch is ready—six dumplings for me and ten for my husband.
Dumplings make the perfect quick lunch. They cook in minutes, and they contain protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates, so you can eat them alone for a complete meal. I like to serve dumplings with ponzu sauce for dipping, which adds a refreshing tanginess to the meal.
12:30 pm–2:00 pm: Crafting and Reading
After lunch, I spend some time crafting. I’m currently working on a colourful needle-felted parakeet. I have already made the body and wings, and today I work on the face.
After my needle-felting session, I read for half an hour.
Needle-felting and reading are two of my favourite hobbies. If you’d like some inspiration for hobbies that you can do at home, you can read my article about hobbies for homemakers.
2:00 pm–3:30 pm: Afternoon Chores
It’s time for another cleaning session. I have two pairs of slippers that need washing, so I give them a scrub and set them aside to dry. Then I get the freshly washed bedding (which is now dry) and make the bed.
Monday is also bathroom cleaning day, so next I clean the bathroom mirrors, ceiling, walls, and door. Then I clean the sink, the shower, and the toilet.
I use homemade cleaning products to clean my bathroom. For the mirrors, I use a vinegar-based cleaning product. It makes the mirrors sparkle, and it never leaves any streaks. For the other tasks, I use diluted Castile soap, which is a mild yet effective cleaner.
3:30 pm–4:00 pm: Afternoon Tea
The day is going well so far. I notice that I’m starting to feel a little tired, so I brew myself a cup of tea and rest for half an hour.
4:00 pm–5:45 pm: Dinner
For dinner I make a big pot of chicken curry—enough for six portions. There are two secret ingredients that I always add to chicken curry: fresh tomatoes and shallots. The tomatoes add brightness and the shallots add depth.
While the curry is cooking, I make a big batch of coconut rice and slice some cucumber to serve with the curry. Coconut rice is easy to make and it makes the meal a little more special.
I serve two portions of the curry for dinner and put the rest into the fridge.
5:45 pm–6:45 pm: Spring Baking
Onto the final meal prepping task of the day: cake! Since it is spring, I make a carrot cake. This carrot cake will be perfect for morning and afternoon teas throughout the week.
While the carrot cake is baking, I sneak out to the balcony again. The sun is setting and it’s the perfect time to reflect on my day of meal prepping.
Today I added ten homemade meals to my fridge and freezer, and I enjoyed every minute of it. The meal prepping sessions were spread throughout the day, which made the work feel easy and pleasant. And I didn’t need to cook extra meals—I simply cooked jumbo batches of my lunch and dinner.
I feel satisfied with my day of meal prepping, and I look forward to a quiet evening doing a few last chores and spending time with my husband.
Create Your Own Meal Prepping Routine
Meal Prep Monday is my personal meal prepping routine. Preparing a stock of meals at the start of the week makes it easy for me to serve healthy homemade meals throughout the week. Doing my meal prepping on the same day each week makes it easy for me to maintain a habit of meal prepping.
If you want to create a habit of meal prepping, create your own meal prepping routine. Choose a timeslot that suits your schedule, and spend that time making a big batch of a meal that you enjoy. Then repeat this the next week, and again the next week. It will get faster and easier each time.