Meal prep refers to preparing your meals in advance. Some people will prep for 2-3 days and others will prep for the entire week.
Meal prep can help prevent you from making hasty decisions when you’re hungry – like going to the drive thru of a fast food chain.
If you are new to meal prepping, try to start by prepping just your lunches for the week.
Meal prep is also a great way to plan your grocery runs and save you money. If you grocery shop with a list in hand, you are less likely to add unplanned items to your cart.
How Should You Store Your Meals?
Invest in good quality containers for your meal prep. Consider the use of your containers before purchasing. Make sure that the containers you pick up can be frozen, microwaved, or cleaned in the dishwasher. Glass containers are eco friendly, microwave safe, and last much longer than plastic.
These mason jars are great for prepping salads; place the dressing at the bottom to keep the leafy greens from getting soggy.
If you decide to prep longer than 3 days, you may want to consider freezing the rest of your meals. Make sure if you do freeze your meal, that the containers are airtight.
When you defrost your meal, defrost your meal in the refrigerator the night before you plan to eat it.
How to Prepare for a Successful Meal Prep?
Get organized. Having an organized kitchen, refrigerator and pantry will help keep you on track and allow for a smooth planning process. Knowing exactly where all your cooking tools and ingredients are will help you plan out your meals and plan out your grocery list without over/underbuying.
Write things down. Whether you are a pen and paper type person or a digital person, plan out your week’s meal plan in a designated calendar. Decide on what you plan to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and any snacks in between.
Other: almond butter, peanut butter, mixed nuts, dried fruit, protein bars, beef jerky, protein shakes/powder
Keep a variety of spices available. Make sure that the meals you prep are actually tasty and you would enjoy eating. Herbs and spices can make a huge difference during planning.
Always shop your home first. Before you meal plan, go through your kitchen and gather a list of what you have available in your fridge, freezer and pantry. By doing so, you can reduce waste and keep you from buying unnecessary items.
MAKE TIME. Integrate meal planning into your schedule. Set a time block aside during the week to sit down and write out your plan. Create a list of ingredients you need for the week and write that down before you head to the grocery store.
Save the recipes your use in a designated place. If you are getting recipes off the internet, create a bookmarked folder of “meal prep recipes”. If you print out your recipes, designate a folder in your kitchen for those recipes. By doing so, this will save you more time during your next round of meal prepping.