Meal prepping is a popular trend among individuals and families alike. It is the weekly preparation of meals for the upcoming days. The reasons behind them are plenty, but a few notable ones are that it saves time and money, keeps everything organized, and helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
1. Make a Meal Prep Plan
Customize your meal plan according to your personal tastes and preferences. Have fun and enjoy the process of researching and planning ahead! Choose some of your favorite healthy foods, so that every bite is exactly the way you want it. Although, try to steer away from costly, difficult and tedious recipes. Go simple and be time-efficient. The more you do it, the better you’ll get.
2. Keep it Healthy
Make sure the foods you’re incorporating in your meals are healthy. It is also important to consider each food group and not eat the same thing over and over again. Consider including healthy fats, protein, grains, legumes, and fruits and vegetables in your diet. As you’re shopping, don’t give in to those temptations of buying junk foods. It’ll be worth it in the end.
3. Invest in Good Containers
A great piece of advice is to invest in good, quality containers. Getting the same set of containers lessens the hassle, so you don’t go mismatching different sets of containers. Preferably, you should also get BPA-free, eco-friendly ones that will be beneficial for your safety and environment.
4. Set Aside a Time
As with starting any habit, set aside a time for it. Make it count by making it into a priority. Jotting down a set time for meal planning in your planner and reminders will keep you in check. Continue to do this to keep up with your meal prepping.
5. Make a Detailed Shopping List
A key tip is to make a detailed shopping list of what you’ll need. Try your best to not make it last minute thing. Meal prepping involves quite a few steps such as finding recipes, shopping for ingredients, cooking, prepping and storing. Having an accurate list will help you ultimately be successful. You’ll get the correct ingredients you need and save yourself from another trip to your local grocery store.
6. Prep Before Starting
Before you start making your meals, you should have everything you need ready to go on the counter. For example, if you need a food processor or blender, have it all out. In the culinary and baking world, there’s a French saying called “mise en place”, which means everything in its place. Setting the stage for cooking will definitely make it whole lot easier for you to get started, so that everything is within reach.
7. Stock Up On Meal Prep Staples
As meal prepping can go on for weeks, having the staples always in stock is ideal for a successful meal plan. Staples like vegetable stock, chicken, rice, canned food, oils, or anything you need on a daily basis should always be available.
8. Make it Beautiful
Having a beautiful and appetizing meal will never fail to make the food feel rewarding and delicious. Try your best to make the food look appealing. You can also step it up with a cast iron. A cast iron grill is great for adding that nice touch of amazing flavor and professional appearance on your proteins. Your coworkers would envy your meals as well as your cooking skills.
9. Do it On the Weekends
A great time to do your meal preps is on the weekends. During the weekdays, you probably have a busy work schedule. If you really want to create a recipe for success, do it on the weekends when you might have some more free time at home. If you’re new especially, give yourself a full free day to have at it.
10. Set a Timer
This tip is probably one you haven’t thought of yet. Set a timer when you’re planning to prepare and cook your meals. Honestly, you don’t want to be spending long hours on this. For example, set about 2 hours to have it all done. Remember the whole point of meal prep is to save time and be efficient. So, keep track of time with a handy timer.
11. Learn to Multitask
Cooking big meals all at once is very time-consuming. A helpful tip is to learn to multitask. You can cook vegetables on the stove, have chicken breasts cooking in the oven, and have something in the slow cooker all at the same time.
12. Nutrition Tracker
A nice tip is to have an app that tracks your nutrition and calories. This is a significant factor in creating a healthy lifestyle that’ll help you achieve your fitness or weight goals. Having everything you consume tracked and recorded will be beneficial in getting the results you want. You don’t have to get too in depth with counting calories and drive yourself crazy, but at least know what you’re eating.
13. Slow Cooker
If you don’t have a slow cooker already, you should consider purchasing one. It is a must-have item in the home kitchen and ideal for meal preppers.. As you’ll be busy cooking your every meal, a slow cooker, on the other hand, will cook large portions on its own. It’s absolutely wonderful for big families or special occasions. Additionally, the recipes are endless.
14. Cheat with Ready-made Meals
A great way to cut corners is to buy ready-made meals such as pre-cut frozen vegetables and more. It will save even more time during the cooking process.
15. Get Creative with Recipes
This is one of the fun parts. Be creative with your recipes. Try something new or add an ingredient you never tried before. There are thousands of online resources and recipes that will help you meal plan better.
16. Repurpose Leftovers
What to do with those leftovers? Repurpose them! Everyone has leftovers once in a while. For example, if you have cooked vegetables from the previous day, you can add them into your spaghetti on the next day.
17. Batch Cook
You can try batch cooking. You can cook vegetables, potatoes, and meats in the oven all at the same time to help save you some time.
18. Ask for Help
A great piece of advice is to ask for help. Shoot a email to an expert meal planner or have a friend come over to help you. Some help is better than no help.
19. Spice it Up!
If you got all the staples and food from your grocery list, awesome! However, don’t forget the spices. Spices add flavor as well as health benefits into your food. You definitely don’t want to go without them. Spice it up to keep your meals tasty and new!
20. Be Inspired!
Meal planning has endless possibilities. It is certainly a fun and rewarding task. Stay inspired by bookmarking recipes or browsing how others are maintaining their good habits. This will help you feel motivated and encouraged to keep on going with your goals. No matter what, stay creative and have fun!