What is Meal Prepping?
Meal prepping is planning out your meals in advance. You get to choose what you want to make for the week and prep them yourself with whatever ingredients you’d like! Think of it as making life easier for you when you need to feed your family. It’s like packaging your lunch for the day: you get to decide what goes in it and you can eat whenever you want without the hassle of cooking.
Typically when you meal prep, you save one day out of the week to prep all of your meals for the following week and you store them in your refrigerator until the day you want it.
Why is Meal Prepping Efficient?
Not only do eat healthier when you meal prep, but you save SO much time and money as well. Depending on what you prep, food can last in the fridge for a long period of time. (And even longer in the freezer). You get to decide which meals you want to make and you have to option to eat healthier. You also save a TON of time not having to cook during the week. Prepped meals can be warmed up and ready within 5 minutes; whereas if you’re cooking, it could take a half an hour to hours before your food is ready. Imagine all of the things you can do in that time!
Here are three steps to effective meal prepping:
1. Make A Plan:
Determine what food you want to make for the week and which day you want to prep your meals. I typically do my meal prepping on Sunday because this is my day I get prepared for the upcoming week. The best techniques I use to meal prep is to: Create a grocery list, stock up on the right containers and determine how much time it’ll take me to prep.
Creating a grocery list: When creating a grocery list, make sure to have the meals for the week included and don’t forget the breakfast and lunch necessities as well. Tip: Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry! Also try to shop for healthier ingredients.
Stock up on the right Containers: Remember the containers are the most important part! You can spend hours meal prepping just to store them in the wrong container and lose all of the food you just bought because it went old. Containers need to be divided so you can have different areas for your food, air tight so your food doesn’t get contaminated and always double check that your containers are freezer safe, microwavable, dishwasher safe and reusable.
Determine time prepping: When you meal prep, time is a huge aspect! You can spend all day meal prepping if you don’t plan your time accordingly. Remember you are planning for a whole week, so when you start prepping you have to realize that’s about 7 days you will be cooking for in one day. The best way to track everything is by writing it all down. Document your meal ideas, your grocery list, and how much time it’ll take to prep it all. Plan your day accordingly.
Shopping is the fun part! As mentioned above, don’t go grocery shopping hungry! You’ll buy a lot of unnecessary products. Your grocery list should not only include all of your meal prepping ingredients, but it should also include your breakfast, lunch and daily snack ingredients as well. This way you don’t have to go back during the week, you can tackle it all at once.
Make sure to stick to your grocery list! Don’t start picking random things! This is how unhealthy decisions are made. Make sure when you’re shopping to stock up on pantry goods that don’t go old for a long time. These will be useful for days you need a quick side dish.
Space your day out so you can have breaks between cooking. Start with just a few meals so you don’t get overwhelmed. When you have done this a few times, you may feel more comfortable tackling all of them at once. Until then, try to space out your day so you do a few meals in the morning and a few at night.
Multitasking is a huge part of meal prepping. You have to be able to use multiple trays and cutting boards to start your meals off right! Cut up all your fruit and veggies, start your oven and you can cook more than one thing at once. The best way I am able to multitask is by setting timers to let me know what is done when.
The length of time you can store your food in the refrigerator depends on what you make, but typically if you freeze your food it can stay fresh up to 3 months. The best advice I can give is to leave the food you plan to eat within the next two days in the fridge and put the rest in the freezer. You can always pull out your food from the freezer and put it in the fridge to thaw it for the next day.
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