Imagine this: it is 8 pm and you’re just walking in the door. You are so hungry, but you know there are no leftovers in the fridge. Perhaps you scrummage around your pantry in the hopes of finding something quick to make. When you don’t find anything, you decide to call for takeout. Even if you finally have leftovers from your last-minute delivery meal, you can’t find any storage container with a matching lid.

Sound familiar? When you are juggling multiple jobs, after-school activities, or running a household, meals can easily become an afterthought. Even as a single adult, I often find it hard to fit in cooking while I am juggling multiple jobs. Meal prepping and keeping an organized kitchen has been a game-changer for me. No more ordering takeout or cooking last-minute meals! I manage to prep a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner before every busy workweek. Not only does this save me the stress and time, but it also saves me money!

For the new year, why not start getting organized in your kitchen and plan out healthy meals? Grab a glass of wine and get started! The following are tips for streamlining your kitchen organization and meal prepping for success. 

Tip #1: Organize your recipes.

wine glass, recipe book, recipe planning, organizing recipes

The first step in meal prepping is to organize your recipes that are on rotation. If I try a recipe that I really enjoy, and can see myself making more than once, I will print it out and place it in my recipe binder. My binder is organized by tabs for quick reference and easy organization. Some of my tabs include pasta, chicken, vegan, and slow cooker. When organizing your own recipe binder, choose tabs that make sense to you and your diet goals! 

Tip #2: Shop by recipe and plan out your meals. 

meal planning, notes, meal notes, meal prepping, ingredients, grocery list

The next step in meal prepping is to shop by the recipes you will be following during the week. When preparing to go grocery shopping, I first select recipes from my binder that I want to use for meal prep that week. I then cross-check the ingredients I need by looking through my fridge and pantry. This way, I am not purchasing something I already have! I will then make a list of all the missing ingredients to go grocery shopping for. 

For jam-packed weeks, I like to outline my meals by using a planner. This helps me to stay organized on nights I am free to cook, as well as how many meals I need to portion out for leftovers during the week. My 1THRIVE command center (pictured above) is the perfect tool for this, as I tend to misplace my notepad list as the week goes on. 

Tip #3: Upgrade your storage game. 

Storage space, shelf, spice rack, tupper ware storage, tupperware storage

Confession: my cabinets used to be a mess. Tupperware was strewn everywhere, and I could never find the spice that I wanted. A few simple purchases such as this drawer organizer elevated my kitchen organization and made meal prepping much easier. I also recommend this spice rack for pantry organization. Baskets also help in keeping storage lids in one place– no more digging around the cabinet to find a matching set!

Tip #4: Chop, portion, and freeze.

lemon, cutting, portioning, freezing, tupperware, planning meals

Ever wonder what the real secret to meal prepping is? Here’s a hint… you will need those storage containers you just organized! Meal prepping becomes easy when your storage game is perfected. Once I have finished cooking a meal, I will portion the leftovers into grab-and-go containers. For leftovers I am eating the week of, I will divide the remainders into glass storage containers, as they are easier to heat up quickly in the microwave. Leftovers I am saving are transferred into plastic Tupperware containers and stored in the freezer. 

Need more meal prep inspiration? Heatlhline has 23 more tips for kick-starting your meal prep habit. 

I hope these tips help you in organizing for a healthy new year– no takeout allowed!

About the Author

Danielle Pierce is a first-grade teacher, adjunct writing professor, and copywriter. She began as an intern for Decocrated during summer 2021. Danielle is an avid equestrian, and when she is not prepping for her classes or writing blogs for Decocrated, you can probably find her at the barn.