How to: Start Meal Prepping
You want to eat healthy and you know there’s many foods out there that just aren’t nutritious for your body. Convenience foods are filled with unnecessary preservatives and extra calories leaving you with little room for more food throughout the day even though you’ll be hungry in a couple hours. You know that foods made at home at the best since you can control what goes in them. You know all these things, but it takes time to prepare meals at home and with a growing family, career obligations and a busy schedule where is that time going to come from? To battle this you can easily pre-make some or all of your foods so that you have items ready to go that are easy to eat so you won’t have to endure another drive-thru any time soon. Here’s how you can easily start to meal prep.
Make a Plan
Well, obviously. But no, really – plan. Find or make a meal planning sheet – either digital or one you can write on – and plan your meals. Plan all of it: breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. By figuring out what you’re going to eat for the week you can figure out what groceries you need to buy and exactly what you need to prepare ahead of time. You can even, if you like, cross reference this plan into your work or family planner so that on days you’re really busy you can see you need to prep for the entire day and not just a couple snacks or one meal. Knowing what is going on in the week to come can really help to ensure you’re preparing the foods you need to eat and you won’t be left hungry hours before you can get home.
Decide your Timeline
No meal prep is the same: some people do it on Sundays, some do it on their day off because they work shiftwork. Some people prep every meal and snack, some only do the ones where they know they won’t be home for a long time. Some people prep for a whole week, others only for a day or two at a time. Whatever works for you, do it. Figure out if you are comfortable with preparing meals and snacks for the whole week. It is common to struggle with questioning if you can know what you’ll want to eat a whole week ahead, but this is part of making the plan: to ensure you aren’t always trying to find a drive-thru you need to have foods prepared. You will also want to figure out when you want to meal prep and keep it consistent. If you plan to do it on a day where you already have a lot going on it’s likely you’ll push it back and then you’ll be without ready to go foods for a few days.
Find Recipes you Like
Some people are ok to eat the exact same thing for breakfast every day of the week, while others don’t even want to look at the same foods twice in one week. You know yourself best, so figure out what you like to eat. Do you like leftovers? Will you always have access to a microwave during the day? Figure out what you want to eat and make it. It is important, though, if you are prepping for the whole week that you find recipes that will stay for the week. If there are ones you love but it’s only good for a couple days, perhaps you can prep the ingredients and make it for a day or two at a time so that you will still be able to enjoy it fully. If you don’t like it, you won’t eat it.
Not actually, but if you normally make three difference recipes for the week try to find ones that use similar ingredients. For example, they all use chicken, or beef, as the meat in the recipe. If you have to buy three different kinds of meat then your grocery bill will go through the roof. By combing ingredients you can also save on space needed in your fridge and cabinets, if that’s an issue for you.
Get the Stuff
You’ll need reusable containers – lots of them. Meal prep requires that you make a lot of foods ahead of time so you’ll need something to store it all in. Make sure you have a variety of sizes and that they are all microwavable in case you want to heat up the food you make.