Does the mere thought of meal prepping make you want to roll your eyes or possibly make you feel overwhelmed? If so, we understand. Although meal prepping is often the top recommendation of most health and fitness experts, that doesn’t mean it’s the easiest thing to commit to. It requires some strategizing, organizing, creativity and a whole lot of planning ahead.
That said, meal prepping does make healthy and nutritious eating from home much easier and more convenient. I mean, who wants to spend 3 hours in the kitchen after a gruesome 8+ hour work day?
Fortunately, it is possible to become a meal prep master, even for the most ambivalent consumers. n our fast-paced lives, finding time to cook healthy meals can often feel like a challenge. In this blog post, we'll guide you through the process of meal prepping and provide tips to make it a seamless part of your routine.
1.Plan Your Meals:
The first step to successful meal prepping is planning. Begin by deciding which meals you want to prep for the week ahead. Consider your dietary preferences, nutritional requirements, and any specific goals you might have, such as weight loss, improving digestion or stabilizing blood sugar levels. Aim for a variety of protein, vegetables, whole grains and fats.
2. Create a Shopping List:
Once you've determined your meals, make a comprehensive shopping list. Take inventory of the ingredients you already have and note down the ones you need to purchase. This step helps you stay organized and ensures you have everything you need for your meal prep session. If you need help deciding on what to add to the list, search the web for mouth-watering recipes or recipes that appeal to your unique taste buds and food preferences. Use these recipes as shopping lists.
3. Choose Your Prep Day:
Select a specific day or time slot for your meal prep. Pick a day you have a few hours free and try to make that consistent week to week. Having a designated meal prep day allows you to focus solely on cooking and avoids the need to rush through the process during the week.
4. Start with Batch Cooking:
Batch cooking forms the core of meal prepping. Prepare large quantities of staple foods such as grains, proteins, and roasted vegetables that can be utilized in multiple meals. For instance, cook a big batch of quinoa, grilled chicken breasts, or roasted sweet potatoes, and portion them out into individual containers for easy grab-and-go meals.
When meal prepping, storage is crucial. Divide your cooked ingredients into individual meal-sized portions. Invest in airtight, BPA-free containers to store your meals safely in the refrigerator or freezer. Label each container with the meal name and date to ensure freshness and easy identification.
6. Mix and Match:
To avoid monotony, mix and match your prepped ingredients creatively. Combine different proteins, grains, and vegetables to create various meals throughout the week. For example, use grilled chicken in a salad, wrap, or stir-fry, or pair quinoa with roasted vegetables or as a side dish. This way, you can enjoy diverse flavors and textures without feeling like you're eating the same thing every day
7. Utilize Freezer-Friendly Meals:
Not all meals need to be stored in the refrigerator. Prepare freezer-friendly meals, such as soups, stews, or casseroles, in larger batches. Portion them out into freezer-safe containers, and you'll have ready-made meals for busy days when you don't have time to cook. Generally if the food has a lot of water in it like cucumbers or lettuce, it won’t freeze well - with the exception of soup. Dense foods, on the other hand, like meat, chicken and grains, freeze pretty well.
8. Stay Organized and Rotate:
Maintain an inventory of your prepped meals to keep track of what you have on hand. Place the meals with the earliest expiration dates in the front of the refrigerator or freezer. This organization helps prevent food waste and ensures you consume your meals before they spoil.
Anyone can be a meal prepping master. It’s a very useful tool for navigating a busy schedule while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you’re still feeling uncertain or overwhelmed, consider scheduling an appointment with one of our dietitians who can help you come up with a personalized plan. Click to learn more!