Meal prepping is an incredibly useful tool that can help you save time when done correctly. Whether you’re a busy worker, a student, a parent, or just someone looking to make their weekly meals more convenient, meal prepping is an absolute game changer. By preparing your meals in advance, not only do you save time, but you can also reduce your stress, maintain a healthy diet, and even save some money. While getting started with your meal prep routine can feel a bit overwhelming, we’re here to help! Here are practical tips to make your meal-prepping journey easier, more comfortable, and more enjoyable.
Planning is absolutely essential when it comes to nailing your meal-prepping routine. Before each coming week, you should take some time to decide on your meals, accounting for your schedule, personal health goals, and dietary needs. Important factors to consider include how well certain meals will keep in the fridge and which are easy to reheat. To help make your planning stage easier, create a grocery list - take a look at your planned recipes and make note of everything you’ll need to buy. Taking this proactive approach will help prevent any last-minute stress, impulse buying, and unhealthy food choices.
Invest in Quality Containers
Never underestimate the importance of a high-quality container! If you’re looking to buy some, look for containers that are microwave-safe, reusable, dishwasher-friendly, and BPA-free. Also try to test out the lids - make sure they’re airtight so they’ll ensure your food stays nice and fresh. Glass containers are typically an excellent choice as they don’t absorb smells and don’t leave stains. Lastly, make sure you purchase a variety of sizes that will help you with portion control and allow you to pack different components for your meals.
Cook in Bulk
Because the whole point of meal prepping is to save you extra time, you should definitely be cooking in bulk. Pick a few of your favourite recipes and prepare them in large quantities; some dishes that work great for bulk cooking include a pot of soup, a batch of grilled chicken, or even a casserole. Additionally, grains like rice or quinoa are also perfect for cooking up large batches to be used in various meals throughout the week. But whatever you choose to make, it’s best to pick something that can easily be divided up into portions.
Use Your Freezer Wisely
You can always trust your freezer to be a lifesaver when it comes to meal prepping. For those difficult weeks when you just don’t have time to prep, freezing your meals and reheating them when needed is the perfect solution. You can even consider freezing individual ingredients such as blanched vegetables, grilled meats, or cooked grains. That way you’ll have whatever you need ready with just a microwave close by.
Keep It Simple
Meal prep is meant to make your life easier, not harder! That means choosing recipes that are quick and simple to make, not overly complex. Not only does it make the cooking process quicker, these dishes tend to be easier to store. One example is roasted vegetables, grilled proteins, and cooked grains - it’s a simple and healthy meal, but also incredibly versatile. Using a variety of herbs and spices can help spice up the dish to best suit your taste buds.
Many choose to start meal prepping for convenience, but it’s also great for helping you maintain a balanced diet. One great way meal prep helps with this is how it allows you to portion your meals ahead of time to prevent overeating. Depending on your nutritional needs, portion sizes can vary so it’s up to you to best determine what works for you. Just remember you should try to include a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables in each and every meal.
Consistency is key to successful meal prepping. Set aside a specific day of the week for meal prepping that best fits your schedule. Making it a routine will make the process easier as it slowly becomes a healthy habit. It’s okay not to do meal prep every week if you find yourself too busy, remember the goal here is to make it a consistent part of your lifestyle, not a chore you find stressful or taxing.
By incorporating these seven tips into your meal-prepping routine, you’ll find it much easier to manage it on a day-to-day basis. Once you’ve mastered a routine that works best for you and your schedule, you’ll definitely be amazed by all the time you’ve managed to save!