Are you planning to meal prep, but you do not know how to? You are lucky today because we will show you how to ideally do it! Meal prepping is a healthy way to keep track of your nutrient intake. It is also an effective way to stick to your weight loss goals.
Meal prepping is ideal for working individuals as well. You can prepare meals ahead of time, so you can easily grab your food when going to work. For the food to prepare, the choice is yours. Just to guide you to ideal meal prep, here are the steps to follow:
Step 1: Know the Prep Method That Works for You
Identifying the best prep method for you primarily depends on the following:
- Your schedule
- Cooking style
- Meals you prefer to prepare
By evaluating these factors, you can come up with your best prep method. However, there are ways you can try that may work for you:
- Ready-to-cook ingredients – This may work for you best, especially if you are an extremely busy person. You can chop ingredients ahead, so when it’s time to cook the meal, it will be fast.
- Portioned meals – This prep method could be ideal for you if you are on a weight loss diet. You can have full control over the number of calories you will take for each meal. Overnight oats separated in single containers are a great example of this.
- Batch cooking and then freezing – This type of meal prep is when you cook multiple meals in one go. This allows you to portion and arrange them in containers. You can then freeze them for the next days to come.
- Make-ahead meals – This method uses recipes that are quick to prepare but with large servings. You can then reheat them during mealtimes. This is ideal if you do not have much time to prepare meals. Soups are a great example of this.
Step 2: Make a Meal Plan
After choosing your prep method, move on to creating a meal plan. This step may require you to take several minutes to think and plan properly. Make your meal plan simple and organized. As you write your meal plan, consider these factors:
- Choose the foods to prepare – This will need you to think about your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can have oats or green smoothies for your breakfast. Your lunch and dinner can have chicken, lean pork or beef, and then loads of vegetables.
- Write your menu – For this factor, it is best to include recipes you have cooked before. This way, prepping your meals can be quick. Keep your meals simple to save time prepping. Roasted vegetables, chicken recipes, and rice bowls are good meals to start.
- Schedule your preparation – This factor might be overlooked at some point. You might be focusing more on the foods to include in your meal prep. However, it is important to remind yourself that you should think about the time to prepare your meals.
The best time to do it is the same day as you shop for groceries. Cooking five meals in one hour might not be reasonable. Therefore, it is best to prepare the ingredients for your other meals as you cook one meal.
Step 3: Check Your Kitchen and then Shop
Now that you know which meals to prepare, it is time you shop for ingredients. However, before going to the grocery store, check your kitchen first. You should know if you have spices and herbs or whole grains like quinoa and brown rice. These are the common ingredients you might be using. If you do not have enough, include them on your list.
You can also include eggs and sausages, which are common for breakfast. Make sure to check every container in your kitchen for the supplies. It is also important to include food containers as you shop. Your containers will depend on the type of food you will prepare.
Glass containers are popular for prolonging shelf-life. Moreover, their material does not affect the taste of the food. One popular food container you can use is glass jars. They usually come in clear designs, but you can have those with colors.
If you prefer colored ones, you can simply shop online. One brand you can check out is Roetell. They offer high-quality glass jars to give their customers the best experience. They design their products using modern glass-making methods and tools to ensure the best quality. To learn more about their products, check these colored glass jars!
Step 4: Prep Your Meals and Store Them
After doing groceries, you can now proceed to the preparation stage. You need to consider these factors:
Use Prep Time Wisely
The prep time for your meals entirely depends on the recipes you will cook. You should start with meals that take longer to cook. As you preheat your oven, start chopping your ingredients to save time. Make sure to clean your cutting board and other utensils after prepping the meat.
Take Note of the Foods’ Storage Life
Ingredients, for example, have different storage life. Vegetables like peppers and onions can take 2-3 days. Carrots and winter squash can last up to 4 days. Leafy greens can be kept up to 7 days. You should also eat cooked meals within 3-4 days. Make sure to reheat them during mealtime.
Refrigerate Foods Properly
Freeze cooked grains, chilis, and soups as they can last long. You can easily reheat them during mealtimes. Eggs, vegetables, and fruits do not have to be frozen. They can be simply chilled at 40°F or below.
Step 5: Expect That the First Few Weeks Will Not Be Satisfactory
You should not feel disappointed if you are not happy with your first few weeks of meal prepping. You only need more practice to get the right meal prep style for you. Take the first few weeks as an opportunity to explore more ways that could be best for you.
There is no standard way of meal prepping, it only comes down to what works best for you. You can even spend as little as one hour to get everything ready. With our beginner’s guide to meal prep, however, you will have a better understanding of what you need to do. Keep exploring more methods to know which works and which doesn’t. By following our guide above, you will have made your first steps in your healthy eating journey.