Recently, meal prepping has been the way for all classes of people in preparation for their next meal (stay home or working class). People all over the world have taken to proportioning their pre-made meals for the week. Meal prepping is a tedious and time-consuming enterprise, thus making it almost impossible for people with a fuller schedule to partake in except they practise meal prepping with some advice and tips which give way to efficiency.
Before we delve into the tips on meal prepping, it is necessary to state again that meal prepping is the simple preparation of meals for a later time or availability. In other words, meal prepping usually involves using a period of time to prepare daily meals ahead of time to take the daily task of cooking off your plate. The grade of meal prepping can range from chopping up fresh ingredients for later use in cooking and portioning complete recipes.
Essentially, the point is to make your life easier by allowing you to be one step ahead in at least one area. When you meal prep, you don’t have to worry about coming up with a dinner recipe after work each day because it’s already done.
The major reason why we meal prep is:
- Saves money: planning out your meals for the week can give you an exact grocery list and keep you from buying extra ingredients you won’t use. Meal prepping also allows you to buy ingredients in bulk, saving you money and trips to the grocery store at the end of it.
- Healthy living promotion: when you prep your meals, you can eliminate the temptation of including less healthy foods in your diet while developing better nutritional habits. With meal prepping, you will find it easier to eat clean, curb cravings and develop good nutritional habits.
- Saves time: currently, nobody has the time and resources to cook meals to be consumed every day, it depletes energy and valuable time.
- Reduces waste: meal prepping helps cut down on food waste because you will use all the groceries you buy in your recipes for the week, saving you from throwing away rotten produce.
- Improves portion control: meal prepping gives you the required space to control what you take in as regards your diet.
At its core, meal prepping has three basic steps:
- Plan it out: decide what you want to accomplish during your meal prepping, including what recipes you’ll use, how much food you want to prepare, how much you want to cook and how many portions you want to freeze. Write down what you plan on making and research ways to consolidate your cooking methods, such as chopping ingredients while waiting for water to boil.
- Make a grocery list: make a detailed grocery list before going shopping so you don’t waste time trying to remember what a certain recipe calls for or wandering around getting items you don’t need. Stick to your list and you won’t have to make additional runs to the store for ingredients you forgot or overlooked.
- Start cooking: once you have all the supplies you need, it’s finally time to start prepping. Set out all the ingredients and containers you’ll need, then begin making the meals until you have what you want for the week. Don’t forget to store the meals you won’t get to until later in the week in the freezer so they don’t go rotten.
For a quick meal prepping, you need to:
- Slide into your routine: you should consider your busy schedule and go for a time block you would be free, get in the habit of meal prepping during that time. Also add a little motivation by planning your meal prep time around your favorite show, movie or podcast so meal prepping becomes something to look forward to always.
- Invest in airtight containers: if you’re serious about starting to meal prep, investing in reusable airtight containers will be worth it. Meal prepping requires many containers for portioning out and storing meals for each day of the week. Making a habit of using these containers can also help you with portion control. When shopping for meal prep containers, look for clear containers you can see through so you don’t have to waste time opening every container to figure out what meal is inside.
- Find interesting recipes: deciding on meal prep recipes you’re excited to try will make it a far more enjoyable activity. Although you should pick recipes that interest and inspire you, try to keep it simple to avoid spending time searching for obscure ingredients or trying to learn a new cooking method. You can also modify recipes by skipping or substituting some ingredients to make the recipe more time-efficient or cost-effective. As you try the meals, keep track of any winners and write down your favorite recipes so you can repeat them. Once you develop some signature dishes, you’ll get faster at prepping them because you’ll figure out the quickest techniques and may even memorize the recipe. You’ll also find shortcuts for some instructions to speed up the prep process even more.
- Organise your workspace and start small: this means assembling all the ingredients, measuring utensils, mixing bowls, pots, pans or dishes that a recipe requires before beginning to cook (which is a mindset of focus and self-discipline). After organising your workspace, you take baby steps in the preparation of the meal, this is as a booster to your commitment level. While it’s always more efficient to meal prep for the whole week at a go, meal prepping for a few days at a time until you get the hang of it is a better idea.
- Be smart with your working: save time when meal prepping by using pre-cut produce and precooked meats, this is not cheating. Using a shortcut ingredient is an easy way to pick up some extra time, and the end result is just as delicious. You can also buy pre-made dressings, spice mixes, sauces and meals to eliminate some steps from your meal prep session and save time.
Meal prepping is good if you have problems with finding time to prepare your meal every day. You meal prep a big batch for the week and store the containers of meal for when you would need them in the nearest future.
Enjoy your meal!