The words “meal prep” sounds daunting and time consuming. It’s not how most people want to spend their Sunday afternoons. It doesn’t have to be like that. Start small with mapping out your meal plan. There’s a positive to meal prep. It’s a great way to eat healthy, save money and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Start small. If you’re new to meal prep make realistic goals with how you plan on preparing your food. Start with 2-3 days of meal preparation and see how successful you were.
Keep your meals simple. As you build your meal map, look for dishes that are simple and store well in the fridge & freezer. Nail down a system for recipes that work and collecting new recipes.
Map out your meals. You probably have your week planned out, now its time to plan your meals. Take a few minutes to figure out what the week ahead looks like and you’ll find out exactly how many meals you need to prepare.
Things to ask yourself: when will I be working? When do I plan on working out? Do I have any plans where I’ll be eating out? What’s my social calendar look like?
Storage containers. It’s all about the containers you keep everything in. Mason jars are a personal favorite. They come in all shapes and sizes, they’re dishwasher safe, air-tight, sturdy, they work great for salads, soup, oats, smoothies etc.
Make a detailed shopping list. Set yourself up with success and organize your groceries based on your weekly menu. Try to keep you list in order of where you’ll find it in the grocery store - produce, protein, grains. It’ll help make your trip to the store quick and efficient.
Stock up on meal prep staples. In your freezer and pantry stock up on your weekly staples. If you’re using a lot of quinoa, grains, oats buy those in bulk so you’re all set for a few weeks. If you’ve got a little extra freezer space stock up on frozen fruits and veggies. They’re usually cheaper and already cut, making great additions to your upcoming meals and smoothies.
Set a timer. When you’re busting a move in the kitchen getting prepared for the next couple of days, set a timer to have everything prepared within 2 hrs. You don’t want to waste your entire day chopping and prepping meals. Meal preps is supposed to save you time and money.
Experiment with flavor. To prevent boredom and keep things fresh, experiment with spices, condiments and dressings. Food tastes better with flavor.
Use your slow cooker. Slow cookers will save you so much time! They allow you to leave food unattended while you’re at school, work or play. They enhance flavor, soften meats and if you make a stew, soup or chili you can enjoy the left overs for a couple days and freeze some of it for later.
Enjoy the extra freedom. Overall you will save time, money, energy and more. It’s a great way to help hit your health and nutrition goals.