How to Meal Prep While Sheltering in Place

June 8, 2020

Welcome to Dining In—a series that takes you into the homes of Thrive Market employees and brand partners to share what cooking in our own kitchens really looks like. Today, we’re introducing you to Justin and Erica Winn, creators of the healthy food and lifestyle blog The Real Simple Good Life. As former accountants who quit corporate jobs to work on their blog full time, the Winns have a passion for making and eating real food. They’re sharing how you can meal prep to make dining in easier and faster.


What does dining in look like for you?

It’s a little crazy right now because we have a three-month-old, Nora. So it usually consists of cooking a quick meal or reheating leftovers and eating separately. We can’t wait until she is old enough to sit at the table for a meal together!

What advice can you give others in a similar scenario?

It’s important to still prioritize healthy meals and cooking at home. Even though we may not be having “family meals” right now, we make it a point to be together and still try to enjoy our cooking and eating time.

How do you make meal-time feel special?

One fun thing we do is ask each other questions from a deck of questions called table topics. It gets us talking about interesting things and helps trigger conversations we wouldn’t normally have!

What’s your go-to meal when you don’t feel particularly motivated?

We do a version of these Taco Bowls almost weekly. We always have ground beef in the freezer and it’s easy to mix up the ingredients and toppings to make your bowl interesting.

How has Thrive Market made Dining In easier?

Thrive Market is perfect for us because we need paleo-friendly ingredients in our pantry and we live a little outside of town. Instead of driving to town or going to three different stores to get everything we need, we just order it from Thrive Market and get it delivered to our door.

Now let’s talk meal prep. How are you and your family meal prepping while sheltering in place?

We prepped a ton of freezer-friendly meals to have on hand when Nora arrived. Now our meal prep consists of planning for the following week, shopping once a week, and making a big casserole or something in the Instant Pot on Sunday for leftovers during the week.

What have been some challenges you’ve faced with meal prep, and how have you overcome them?

Time—it’s always time. But we usually overcome this challenge by planning! It’s very helpful to know what you plan on making each day and make sure you have the ingredients on hand. As we mentioned, we also like to prep one large meal on Sunday to use as leftovers for lunches during the week. Plan your recipes so you have leftovers and don’t have to cook as often!

You can check out our guide for How to Meal Prep here.

What have been your go-to meal prep recipes?

Instant Pot Carnitas – You can use this tasty shredded pork for tacos, bowls, and so much more!

Homemade Keto Chicken Salad – This takes five minutes to make and you can use it for sandwiches, salads, and more.

Loaded Whole30 Breakfast Casserole – Perfect for making on a Sunday and reheating throughout the week!

What pantry staples do you keep on hand to make meal prep easier?

We cook with ghee all the time, so that’s a must. A lot of our recipes use coconut aminos and fish sauce, so we always have those on hand for cooking and prepping. We also typically have all the gluten-free flours for baking.

What are your meal prep secret weapons?

Our Chipotle Aioli is our not-so-secret weapon. We make a batch almost every week and put it on everything. We also always have something going in our Instant Pot or slow cooker. For storage, we prefer Glasslock containers. They snap close and are even oven safe.

This article is related to:

Dining In, Dinner, Healthy Meals

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Lily Comba

Lily Comba has never met a baked good she didn't like. When she's not baking, you'll find her writing, taking a Pilates class, or collaborating with the editorial and social team as a Senior Content Writer at Thrive Market.

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