How To Successfully Meal Prep
Chances are the pandemic has left you with a bit more time on your hands, but with maybe a little less expendable cash. By now, you’ve possibly heard about how many have sworn by meal prep and how it has saved people time and money – if you haven’t considered meal prepping before, maybe this is the time.
Meal Prep: The Basics
What it boils down to is batch cooking or ingredient prepping. Dedicating a portion of your time every week, usually at the beginning of the week, to prepare your meals or ingredients, or both, in advance. Save time, save money, and most of all reduce your food waste.
The one concern most people have with meal prepping is that they’re scared that they will get bored with their meals throughout the week and just end up ordering in. This can be avoided if you prep ingredients along with prepping meals with the week. By simply preparing different ingredients, you’ll have different options throughout the week if you choose to cook something different.
Meal Prep Tips
We’ve come up with a list of helpful meal prep tips to help you start off. That way you’re not spending your whole Sunday in the kitchen cooking up a storm for the upcoming week, but using your time efficiently and making sure you’re cooking nutritiously. Make this “chore” a fun habit.
Go With The Best Containers Available
You’ll always need reusable containers to store your pre-cut ingredients and pre-made food, make sure it’s a good one. A smartly designed container, with compartments and sections, will make it easier to make sure everything has its place. It will also make it easier to transport your lunch if you are working away from home. Consider investing in some glass containers, it’s better for the environment after all.
Meal Prep While Entertaining Yourself
Don’t think of it as a chore, think of meal prepping as an opportunity to listen to that podcast or audiobook that you’ve been meaning to get around to for a while. Or turn on that playlist you like and dance along while you’re cutting up those veggies. You can even bring your laptop into the kitchen and turn on Netflix and start rewatching Friends or whatever show your heart desires. No need to meal prep in silence!
Prep Simple Ingredients
The idea of prepping for the week can be intimidating to some so it’s best to keep things simple. Cook and prep things you like, but keep it basic. Pre-cook a big pot of quinoa, pasta or rice, pre-cut your proteins, whether that’s meat or tofu, wash your greens, chop your herbs, make your sauces – that way you can mix and match your basics throughout the week. Grab a bunch of ingredients and throw them in the blender for low-maintenance soups, you’ve got a lot of ways to keep things easy, it’s just the way you go about it.
You don’t have to think of recipes when you’re ingredient prepping but it sure helps if you know you’re going to be cooking in the week instead of just eating your meal-prepped food. Cook with ingredients that can be used in multiple ways, if you’re big on eating chicken, cut up your chicken in different sizes and pre-cook it in ways that could go on top of pasta, in a sandwich, or on a salad. Another idea would be to pre-cut and wash your broccoli so that it’s easy to throw in a frittata, stir fry or even alongside some chicken. It’s all about thinking of different ways to use the same food so you’ll bever get bored.
Snacks! Snacks! Snacks!
Look, we all get a little snacky but it can be hard to go for healthier snack options if it’s not already pre-cut or washed. Avoid reaching for that bag of chips by making sure you pre-cut some cucumber, carrots, red peppers that way you have a vessel to dip in some hummus, homemade or store-bought. Pre-cut some rosa tomatoes so you have something to throw on top of your avo on toast, throw some grapes or blueberries in the freezer for a delicious and nutritious sweet snack. It’s all in the way you prep.
Switch it up! Maybe you and your family decide that you want to cook only Asian-themed food that week or Mexican food, prep ingredients that could easily be thrown into those dishes. The same can be said if you decide to do one-week vegan or vegetarian, there are loads of ingredients that can be used more than once throughout the week keeping meal-prepping fun and exciting.
We’ve talked about how there is a way to grocery shop in a smart, efficient way so make sure to check out that article here. Just keep in mind when you are trying to meal prep for the week it might be best to get items that have a longer shelf-life. Potatoes can go a long way, aloo gobi, stuffed potatoes, potato bake, a side dish to your proteins, you name it.
Take Strategic Shortcuts
If you know you’re going to be eating a lot of veggies throughout the week, cut them up and toss them in a pan and roast them all together. Saves up so much time and now you’ve got a wider variety of options for the week. However, if you’re someone who’s not that into cutting up everything or is constantly short on time, don’t hesitate to buy those pre-cut veggies at the store, that cooked rotisserie chicken or those packs of rice that only needs to be put in the microwave for 90 seconds. It’s an easier way to meal prep that might cost a bit more but it’s still definitely cheaper than ordering takeaway every night of the week.
If you’re making a conscious effort to reduce your food waste, make sure to check out our guide on how to get the most out of your food scraps here.
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