40% of food in America is wasted, and most of that is from the residential sector! We tend to watch food wither away before tossing it to the landfill. However, simple lifestyle changes like planning your meals can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Plus, meal prepping reduces time, can help you stay on track by nourishing your body with the right foods, and ensure your busy days don’t mean skipping meals. 

Meal prepping is different for everyone, and there are many ways to incorporate it into your routine. For instance, meal prepping could mean writing down the dinners you plan to cook throughout the week. If you spend 15-20 minutes every Sunday jotting down dinner ideas before your grocery trip, you will be more prepared for your week and waste less. 

Meal prepping could also consist of chopping and preparing your vegetables for the week. This action will encourage you to cook with them later in the week, whether slicing and dicing your carrots or chopping up your bell peppers. You could even saute or roast them to throw in your dishes throughout the week to take them to the next level. After you’re finished cooking them, place them in an airtight container and use them whenever! When you have things prepped, it can ease your mind during the workday and save time at night. 

Meal prepping can make some feel locked in on certain meals. If you know you won’t enjoy eating chicken and rice for the third day in a row… let’s take a different approach! Instead of meal planning for exact dishes, we can meal plan for a flavor profile. This way, you still have control over what you’re eating for dinner/lunch/breakfast. For example, maybe you feel Mexican, so you have black beans, ground beef, tortillas, etc. Throw in some prepped carbs like sweet potatoes, rice, or pasta, and you’ve got a dish! Just ensure you’ve got a balanced plate with carbs, protein, and some vegetables. 

If none of this sounds appealing to you, then you could even test out the NRDC’s Meal Prep Mate to help you better plan meals. Enter how many you’re cooking for, the number of days, and the ingredients that make up your diet. It will prepare a perfectly prepared portion shopping list and suggestions for meals! That sounds easy enough. 

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