I have been meal prepping for a little over a year now. I love it so much! I would highly suggest meal prep for anyone having trouble sticking to a fat loss or healthy eating lifestyle. Meal prep takes a lot of the pressure of choosing healthier options off and saves so much time. There have been a ton of ups and downs on my journey. I’ve learned so much from week to week and even day to day. I’ve learned how to keep my taste buds engaged. How to get a working system to get prep done quickly and easily. And simple ways to save money. If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know I can’t keep valuable knowledge to myself, so here are my 6 tips to help you become a meal prep master.
1. Have Containers
This may seem basic, but don’t overlook this tip. You don’t want to do all of that hard work only to find you don’t have enough containers to store all of that food properly. If you’re on a budget, try the $1 store or even your local Asian market. Some Asian markets carry the same plastic containers you see being sold for a premium simply because they are labeled as “meal prep containers.” If you want something more eco-friendly, try ordering some glass containers from Amazon. There are a ton of different types for reasonable prices.
It helps a lot to have containers that stack well. When you’re finished cooking, you’re going to have a fridge full of food. Stackable containers lower the risk of something falling out of the refrigerator and make it easier to move things around. I also suggest airtight lids. This will help keep your hard work fresher longer.
2. Know Your Style
There are a few different ways to approach meal prep. What style is best comes down to your own preference. Can you eat the same pre-set meals all week? Do you have time to meal prep multiple times a week? Do you get lazy when it comes to counting calories? Do you even count calories, or do you eat intuitively?
I like to prep once a week on Sunday with pre-set meals. This makes it easy to track my calorie intake, and I only have time to prep on Sundays. If you have more time, you can make your meals every 3 days. If you like to switch things up often, try to bulk prep a handful of ingredients. Then mix and match as you go.
3. Plan Before You Shop
Don’t go waltzing into the supermarket without a game plan. This is a recipe for unbalanced, rushed meals. I have a system for planning. On Thursdays, I plan all of my meals then make a list for everything I need to buy. I make sure to check my kitchen so that I’m not buying the ingredients I already have. Next on Fridays or Saturdays, I do the shopping. Since I have my shopping list all figured out, I know what stores I need to hit. This saves a lot of time so that I can enjoy my weekend.
Having a game plan allows you to track any sales and adjust your meals to fit what’s on sale. This is an excellent way to same money. A list also helps you lower food waste since you won’t be buying items you don’t need. The cooking process will go smoothly as your list helped you purchase everything you need.
4. Keep It Simple
Let’s be honest. Even if you enjoy cooking, not too many people enjoy slaving away in the kitchen for hours at a time. Add the stress of trying to figure out complicated recipes to the mix, and you’ll see why someone would quit meal prepping. Meal prep is meant to make your life easier. Please don’t think that I’m saying not to try new recipes. Just don’t overload yourself with three time-consuming recipes in one week.
I like to keep things simple by sticking to whole foods. One carb, a vegetable, and a protein source. For example, a lunch meal would be roasted sweet potatoes, string beans, and chicken. All of this can be thrown onto a baking sheet then into the oven. I also love my multi-cooker. Once again, just dump in a carb, veggie, and protein then use the slow or pressure cooking options. Yes. Meal prep can be easy and stress-free if you let it.
5. Utilize Spices
Okay. You have your ingredients on the baking sheet or in the multi-cooker. What next? Seasonings. You’re going to be eating this food every day for a week. It would help a lot if you made the meal taste good. You can take the same chicken and make it different depending on the spices. One afternoon you can have Mexican style chicken and Greek the next. The change in flavor will help keep you interested in your meals and to stay on track.
6. Clean As You Go
My last tip is to clean as you go. Even if you keep things simple, meal prep takes time and work. The last thing you’ll want to deal with is a sink full of dirty dishes. I start my meal prep with a sink of fresh dishwater. As I prep, I keep an eye on the sink. If it’s getting full, I like to empty the sink then get back to cooking. This way, I’ll feel awesome after I finish cooking instead of stressing over all of my pots being in the sink and not on the rack.
And those are my 6 tips to help you become a meal prep master. Remember meal prep is meant to make your health journey easier. Don’t stress yourself out by overthinking and overcomplicating things. If you enjoyed my tips, be sure to leave a like and share this post with a friend. Also, share any of your tips in the comments below. I’d love to hear ideas!