Ingredients for Success When Meal Prepping For Two
In college I realized I could survive on about $35 a week of groceries.. if I meal prepped. When this realization hit, I was hooked. I began to prepare my meals and snacks in advance, and I saw monetary and health gains instantaneously. I felt better prepared for my days, I started feeling my mood stabilize and water retention decrease, and there was a little more money in my wallet for the essentials: coffee and gasoline!
As the years went on, though, I got out of the habit of meal prepping so consistently. Eventually, I met an amazing man, we got married and cooking for two became one of my new priorities. While cooking fresh meals on the daily is a joy (and huge privilege), it is not so simple in light of working full time. Naturally, with my past positive meal prep experience, I began to toy with this idea of meal prepping for two. It could not be that much more difficult, right? Just buy more of the same things, cook it up, pack it up, and call it a day! Wrong!
Let's cut to the chase-I gave meal prepping a try early on in our marriage but I lacked an essential element: my husband's buy in. Hello! Kind of a key ingredient (cue corny mom joke drum roll)
So I tried, without his total buy in, giving my best effort to make interesting food in advance. However, Tommy was getting bored with the meals and, me being someone who could literally eat the same thing same time every day no problem, I lost heart. I felt discouraged that I could make anything he would want to eat for lunch and dinner for one week at a time. So I thought about mass meal prepping and freezing which so many fellow bloggers do. I attempted that for a minute and then quickly quit that too!
But, with time and a curious heart comes wisdom. As we grow in our marriage, Tommy and I have started having very loving and brutally honest conversations with each other about all kinds of things, but one issue that plagues us both is the reality of "the overwhelm".
We came to realize we get totally overwhelmed by large projects. We also realized this was inevitably directly correlated to feeling stagnant financially, spiritually, and health wise. They went hand in hand. So what could we do?
The "single, independent, self sufficient woman" in me said "well let's tackle this all at once, outline a routine and friggin' do it!" But this part of me failed to acknowledge the importance of respecting my husband, this part of me fails to honor him in collaborating with him (he usually makes my ideas ten times better anyways!), and all in all, this solution would not help an already overwhelmed, overworked, 40-hour-a-week guy reach any of his goals. So, rather than choose this same path of developing a plan to tackle problems, I opted for a more respectful one and I redirected my energy towards presenting the situation to him and asking him in what way we can improve.
ME: “So we feel stagnant, financially, spiritually, and health wise, if we could pick just one thing to change about our habits, what could we change?”
TOMMY: “Meal prepping. That would probably help a lot.”
Ta-da! Hooray! We've got a great solution. Now we’ve got buy in, now we’re aligned, and little did I know that his solution not only tackled one goal but two (financial and health... I told you his solutions are awesome ;) )!
That same day, in fact at the same moment, we went straight to the grocery store and got the essentials for what we needed that week:
- 4 apples
- 4 pears
- 1lb broccoli
- 2lbs chicken tenderloins
- 1 bag of yukon gold potatoes
- 1 carton of eggs
Things we already had at home and also used:
- 1/2 container Lawry’s Lemon Garlic Marinade
- 2 Yellow Onions
- 2 bags frozen spinach
With this, we were able to prepare a breakfast quiche, snacks, and lunches for all 5 days of the week! To see how we did it, check out this blog post:
To any spouses seeking to meal prep but feeling discouraged about partner's buy in, take heart! Perhaps you can try this present the problem (vs. presenting the solution) approach and see what creative solutions your partner comes up with. You could also try meal prepping (or any new habit for that matter) for yourself and see if your partner catches on. Even if they don't catch on, you're doing something awesome for yourself and your family's budget! Or, you could appeal to the competitive part of you and your spouse and frame meal prepping as a financial game, "let's see how much we can save if we just try this one new habit".
So what were our ingredients for success when Meal Prepping for two?: respecting my husband by presenting a problem and asking his thoughts, collaboration, getting right to it, and, as always, a good attitude.
How have breaking old habits or building new ones in been like for you in your relationship or marriage? Have you had positive experiences and what were those like? What did you find to be helpful? Or have you had negative experiences and what do you wish you had known or done differently? Comment below. I'd love to hear from you!