Get Organized for the Week Ahead

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The new week starts tomorrow? Are you ready in the kitchen? Take these easy steps to get organized for the week ahead so you can eat well.

Get Organized for the Week Ahead | Good Cheap Eats

With the new week (and month) starting tomorrow, now’s a great time to do a little prep work in the kitchen. In just an hour or two on a Sunday afternoon, you can get organized for the week ahead and set yourself up for success — to eat well without losing your wallet!

Meal planning, prep, and execution doesn’t have to be burdensome or tiresome. You just need a few easy strategies to get you started in the right direction.

Whether you’re looking to get simple, whole foods meals on the table or following a special diet like a Whole 30, that prep work can pay off in big dividends throughout the week, including “hanger management.”

Get Organized for the Week Ahead

1. Tidy up the kitchen.

Have you checked the status of your fridge, freezer, and cupboards? Is it due for a big clean out? While it’s not always the most fun task, it makes a huge difference in your kitchen’s performance.

Dump out what’s old, straighten what’s out of place, and wipe things down. Not only will you know what you have for step 2, but it will also be easier to find all the ingredients when you need them.

2. Plan out your meals.

In your clean sweep, you probably did a mental inventory of what you have on hand. Those ingredients are the building blocks of your meal planning this week. What means can you make with what you have on hand?

Once you’ve jotted those down on your list, check what’s on sale at your favorite shop. Create a comprehensive meal plan and grocery list for all meals of the day for all days of the week. You don’t want to come home with ingredients for the week’s dinners without having stuff on hand for breakfasts.

Get Organized for the Week Ahead | Good Cheap Eats

Even if you don’t have a day-by-day meal plan, have some sense of 21 meals for the week. Put little stars next to the items that you can prep somewhat in advance.

If you’re feeling fancy, let me do the meal planning for you. Check out my current Month of Meals plan here.

3. Hit the store.

On Sundays, I typically choose one store where I can get most of the things I’ll need for the week. That way, I’m not fighting the crowds in multiple locations. Get what you need and get home!

Once home, it should be easy to put things away since you already cleaned the kitchen cupboards and fridge. Do it right away so you don’t have to think about it…. except leave out the items that you can prep ahead right now.

4. Do some fast chopping.

If you’ve planned your meals, you’ll have an idea of what can be prepped ahead of time. (Hint: in my deluxe meal plans, I make this list for you.) By having cheese shredded, onions chopped, and peppers sliced, meals can come together quickly and easily without a lot of hassle or washing of cutting boards.

Get Organized for the Week Ahead | Good Cheap Eats

5. Make some meals.

What can you make ahead of time for packing to school, work, or your table at home? I eat most of my meals at home, but I still love pulling a pre-prepped salad out of the fridge and just sitting down to eat.

These are all great meals to pack ahead:

So, you’re all set! Once you do this for a few weeks, you’ll find that eating at home is easier, cheaper, and tastier. It will make cooking fun and simple!

6. Get more help in the kitchen!

Need more help on the prep side of things. Check out my Month of Meals meal planning series. Each meal plan includes 30 recipes, 4 weeks of meal plans, and all the grocery lists, prep-ahead tips, and instruction that you need to eat well, spend less, and enjoy the good life.

Find this Month’s meal plan at

Get Organized for the Week Ahead | Good Cheap Eats

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  1. Where do you get those salad containers?

  2. You are so right! A little prep on the weekend makes the rest of the week so much easier. This morning I put dough for rolls in the bread machine; Buffalo chicken in the slow cooker; and chicken breasts in the oven. While the machines were doing their work, I washed, sliced, diced and peeled a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables. I have a couple dozen ½ cup plastic food containers. I stock these with prepped fruit and veggies on Sunday for lunchboxes the rest of the week.

  3. Stephanie M. says:

    I saw your salads and thought that we eat a lot of those too and so does our youngest daughter who just moved back home so while I was out in the grocery store today, I picked up six Rubbermaid round salad containers and came home and set up an assembly line. I also hard boiled seven eggs that can additionally be used in the salads. Now I have two salads for hubby, two for daughter, and two for me for during this week. I also cooked two packages of baby portabello mushrooms to be combined during the week with fresh baby spinach that I purchased for white omelets that daughter and I like. I also purchased a small pork loin boneless roast on sale for $1.59/lb. It was 2.31 lbs. and it cost me just $3.67. With this roast, I am going to cook it during the week and slice and freeze the slices in a freezer bag to use for sandwiches since I am trying to limit the amount of deli meat that I buy. I do the same with turkey breasts and eye rounds; meatloaf too. Prep work has saved me so much time in the kitchen. Just about one month ago, I spent all day making a large variety of breakfast foods for the freezer so I would not have to do this in the morning for hubby. I made, pancakes, French toast, breakfast casserole (cut into squares), breakfast bowls, Irish Soda Bread and raisin bran muffins. That was one month ago, and I’m done with the muffins; I have one more breakfast bowl, 2 more breakfast casserole squares. 2 more pancakes, several slices of Irish Soda bread, and two more slices of French Toast. Making all of this took me a whole day in the kitchen but I’m in the second month and hubby’s still eating from that.

    • Heather M says:

      oh my gosh, Stephanie, you’re amazing!! Inspiring for sure!! I need to start doing this for sandwich meat. Also, I owe you an email. Life just moves so quickly!! 🙂

      • Stephanie M. says:

        Hi Heather!! So very happy to hear from you. And I realize how quickly times moves and how busy we all are. I decided to try and limit the amount of cold cuts that I buy. I’m not giving them up completely but I’m trying to make sandwiches out of meat that I make myself. I just started buying the butterball turkey breasts. They’re wrapped in yellow netting and sitting next to all the other turkeys in the meat section. They are “real” meat not processed. I roast one in the oven for about 2 hours, let cool and then slice into thin slices and wrap each slice individually in plastic wrap and put all the wrapped slices in a freezer bag. When I make a sandwich for Paul, I just pull out the amount of slices I need and that’s that. I do the same thing with eye round roast beef and when I make a meatloaf, I make two; one for dinner and leftovers the next day and with the other one, I slice that and freeze and use when I want to. I also bought some thin chicken cutlets which I bread and fry and then make a nice sandwich for Paul with some bacon slices, lettuce, tomato and ranch dressing. All of this adds up to good sandwiches without all the processed meat. But, like you, I need my tuna fish so I always have that on hand. LOL

    • Your lists always sound so yummy!

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