Sanity Saving Pre-Meal Prep

by Jodi Costa
Saturday, August 13, 2016

Anytime we go to a restaurant that has a salad bar, my entire family states that if all these ingredients were just sitting in the refrigerator, washed & chopped, they would make salads all the time. Truth is, I have an aversion to making salads for dinner sometimes. Pull everything out of the refrigerator, wash, chop, etc. I know it’s silly to complain since all of this is super simple. 

But, I have found a more efficient way! And I can’t wait to share it with you. But the part I’m most excited to share with you is the end result!

When I go to the produce market or grocery store, thinking of added work when I get home tires me. But I took a look deeper and thought about this …. 

  1. When I come home from the store with produce, it’s already out. Why put it away before washing it. 
  2. Washing and chopping produce all at once is far more efficient than waiting until the moment you need it. Every night I would pull out what I need, wash, chop, make a mess on the counter only to put it back and repeat the next night. 
  3. If produce was sitting in the refrigerator all ready for me to grab and use, would it actually save time every night? 

So, I took my own challenge. Once I got home from the store with produce, I set the timer then began.



First, I filled my left sink with homemade produce wash. In the right, clean water.

Second, I prepared my assembly line. Unbundled, unwrapped, untied all the produce and started rotating the items first in the wash, then in the clear water and finally to a beach towel on the other side of the sink.

Thirdly, I grabbed items that needed chopping, dicing or slicing. I placed them all in separate containers in the refrigerator.

Stop the clock! 13 minutes. Seriously.

Now for the comparison. 

Monday evening, start the clock! I pulled out a head of romaine, 2 carrots, 1 cucumber and a tomato off the counter.

First, I filled my left sink with homemade produce wash and in the right, clean water.

Next, I prepared them by unbundling the romaine from the white wire tie. Dunked the lettuce, cucumber and tomato in the produce wash, then the clear water and finally to a beach towel on the other side of the sink.

Lastly, I chopped the lettuce, cucumber and tomato. I peeled and chopped the carrot and threw it all in a bowl and the salad was done!

Stop the clock! 11 minutes. Yep!

13 minutes to prepare a 5 meals worth of produce OR
11 minutes per night.
I just saved myself 42 minutes over 5 nights.

What are some meal prepping tips you love?

If you're not convinced you should at least TRY this method, let me share what else I found when I don't utilize this smart pre-meal prep step. 


This morning is Saturday! I love Saturday. Sometimes we're on the run and just make a smoothie for breakfast. Other mornings, like today, we're in PJ's at least until noon! Mega-relax and catch-up day. This calls for a Saturday-worthy breakfast feast! 

I go to grab my produce to begin my breakfast skillet, and find tomatoes unwashed. Ok. I'll wash them and chop them. Onions, no problem. I don't pre-chop them usually. Jalepeno, red pepper. Not washed yet. Ok. Add to the tomatoes. Spinach was already washed and prepped. Cilantro for the top? Cilantro? Cilantro!! Ugh. It's still in the bag I purchased it in. Tied up and all exterior leaves are dark and wilty. Crud.

My breakfast skillet has just now taken longer to make because of my lack of prep last week after my shopping trip. AND, my cilantro is practically unusable. 

I sifted through the gooey mess of icky cilantro leaves and uncovered a small amount of usable green ones. It was gross! 

Yes, we had breakfast. Yes, it was delicious. BUT, I wasted 75% of the cilantro I purchased. Not to mention the 7 minutes or so hunting for usable herbs. It took 3 minutes on washing produce that should have already been ready to use. So there is a total of 10 minutes and ruined herbs because of my lack of prep. I know better than this!! 

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