Meal prepping simply means preparing and portioning your meals ahead, all at once.
You can prep your breakfast, your lunch or your dinner. That means you can have your homemade meals ready for the entire week: from packed lunches to take to work, to dinners ready when you get back home.
WHY MEAL PREP?
Planning your meals in advance helps you to eat healthily and saves you an impressive amount of time and money. It’s efficient, convenient and reduces the temptation to eat outside or grab expensive or unhealthy takeaways.
- It saves time. So much time.
- It gives better control of the budget.
- It helps to eat healthy homemade meals every day.
- It avoids expensive takeaway and processed food.
- It saves stress, especially after a long day.
- It reduces the time spent in grocery stores.
HOW TO MEAL PREP?
First of all, make a plan. If your goal is saving money, decide your weekly budget first. If your goal is losing weight or eating healthy food, decide what kind of meals to go for. Whatever your goal is, you need a plan.
- Decide your budget first (if budget matters)
- Decide what you would like to eat
- Pick the recipes you would like to cook
- Put together a list based on those recipes
- Go shopping
- Maximize your time by cooking multiple meals at the same time.
- Portion and store your meals
HOW TO START?
If you haven’t meal prepped before, start gradually. Pick up one or two easy recipes and plan out only 3 days of meals. Less is more.
Don’t prep too many meals at the beginning. If you cook 7 days worth of food keep in mind your meals won’t last more than 3 days in the fridge. Make sure the rest of your meals are freezable and freeze them as soon as possible. The Federal Food Safety website also has a helpful chart to tell you how long your foods are going to keep.
Food poisoning is not part of your plan!
- Don’t over prep
- Keep it simple
- Get your containers ready (glass or BPA free plastic containers)
- Make sure how to store your meals
WHAT TO MEAL PREP?
Chose food that keeps well in the fridge like cooked meat, roasted and raw vegetables, beans, cheese, nuts and whole fruits. Avoid fresh berries, cut fruits, sliced avocado and crunchy crackers as they usually don’t do well kept in the fridge for a length of time.
- Cooked or raw vegetables
- Cooked grains (pasta, oat, rice, barley, couscous, spelt, quinoa, noodles…)
- Cooked beans (chickpeas, lentils… any cooked beans)
- Cooked meat
- Eggs (hard boiled or baked)
- Whole fruit (grapes, apples, pears…)
- Sauce, dressing and dips (keep them in separate containers)
WHO CAN MEAL PREP?
Everyone. I’ve been meal prepping for 4 years now. I started when I decided that healthy food and saving time and money were among my main goals. And I have been doing this for a family of 3 since then.
I usually cook about 2-3 different meals, twice per week. Plus, I cook an extra last-minute soup at dinner time every day, which is not part of my meal prep routine, but it helps to add variety to our meals with a minimum effort.
Basically, you can meal prep for yourself and for your family. It’s not only about the portions and the pretty containers, but it’s mainly about the method: planning your meals in advance and cook only once or twice per week.
You can easily plan weekly meals for the entire family and cook large batches of vegetables, meat, soups and grains ahead. And there’s no need for you to buy hundreds of single portion containers, just store your family meals in large containers and split into portions when it’s mealtime. Done.
Ready to give it a go?
Here some easy vegetarian recipes ready in 30 minutes or less:
Roasted winter vegetable salad and frittata meal prep
Mushroom couscous meal prep