Meal prep can be an overwhelming task to endure. Trying to cook multiple meals at once while getting the timing right can leave your kitchen in an utter mess. But don’t stress, we are here to give you a rundown on the easiest way to get started with meal prepping, which is an enjoyable, stress-free, seamless process.
The First Step to Meal Prep – Make a Plan!
The most common mistake is that people will walk into the grocery store and not know what they’re buying. This leads to more money being spent than needed, time wasted looking around, and buying too much or too little.
Before you head out, write down a list. Are you meal prepping one meal a day? Or both lunch and dinner? Your next step will be to list every ingredient you need, from oil to seasoning and fresh food. Make a final list of everything that needs to be bought as you will already have some staple ingredients in your kitchen. This process lets you know exactly what needs to be purchased and how much of each—making your time in the store as fast as possible.
TIP – try buying ingredients from the outskirts of the grocery store. This is where you will find all the healthy, nourishing ingredients. The second you walk down the aisles is when less healthy products are found.
PS. For some healthy recipe inspiration, check out our Recipes to Boost Your Mood.
The Second Step – Cook One Meal at a Time
If you’re new to meal prepping, don’t try and cook all your different meals for the week simultaneously. Layout all the ingredients on the bench for one meal prep option and start cooking bulk meals.
While you’re cooking and finishing up, start separating the meals into containers, this will help you during the week. All you have to do is grab a meal prep container from the fridge, and you’re ready to go, rather than putting it all in one big tub and separating it each day. Once one meal prep option is completed, have a quick clean-up and move on to the next.
If some of your meals overlap with ingredients, cook them all at the same time. There is no use going back and forth cooking veggies and meats multiple times; use your time effectively.
Final Step – Use the Freezer
The freezer is your best friend, utilise it to your advantage. If you have meal prepped for the whole week, put some meals in the freezer to avoid going off. Should plans come up and you eat out one night, you aren’t wasting a meal.
If meal prepping meals seems daunting, try only preparing staple ingredients instead. This is an excellent tool to stay on top of your healthy eating while still changing your meal options every night, so you’re not getting bored. For example, meal prep chicken, potato, mince, and other essential veggies that you can use throughout the week. When it comes to cooking dinner, all the hard work is out of the way, and you can boil pasta, cook rice, steam or reheat steamed vegies, chuck a salad mix in a bowl – whatever you feel like you can make.
If that still feels like too much, focus on only prepping veggies. Cutting veggies up can take a long time and be very tedious. Designate one day a week when you prepare all your veggies (don’t need to cook them), put them in a container in the fridge, then once it hits mealtime, you only need to chuck them in a pan or the oven, and they’re ready to cook without all the mess.
Meal prepping can be fun once you get the hang of it, saving money, time and stress throughout the week. It’s an excellent way to stay on top of your healthy eating as most of the time, the last thing you want to do once you get home from work is cook, so you opt for cereal or toast. Thus, this way, all you have to do is pull out your healthy pre-cooked meal from the fridge or freezer, chuck it in the microwave, and you’re ready to go. Happy cooking!