This meal prep guide is for you if you live alone or with roommates and rely on takeout more than you'd like; if you're too busy and find yourself going out or picking up a fast snack to-go; or if cooking dinner after a hard day at work or in class seems difficult. To do the perfect meal prep can't be without the help of kitchen knives. Click to visit imarku knives and find your favourite ones at a fantastic price.
What exactly is meal preparation?
Meal prepping entails planning and preparing a week's worth of meals ahead of time so that your food is ready to eat with minimal fuss when you've had a hard day.
Meal preparation takes time and requires a lot of planning. If you've never done it before, it may seem intimidating at first, and you may be unsure where to begin, but it's really not that bad.
If you're ready to get on the meal-prep bandwagon, we've broken down the essentials to help you succeed!
Why should you consider meal preparation?
Meal preparing is an excellent method to simplify your life during the week. You won't be trapped with the same "what should I eat for dinner" quandary every day because meals are scheduled ahead of time. Finding the motivation to cook something after a long day is even more difficult.
It's also easier to eat healthily if you plan your meals ahead of time. If you have a wholesome home-cooked meal waiting for you in the fridge, you're less inclined to order takeout. You know precisely what goes into your food when you prepare it yourself, and you can be confident that it will be delicious and nutritious.
You'll have a weekly game plan and be less likely to waste food if you meal plan. Having a plan for what you're going to make while grocery shopping encourages you to stick to the list and use what you buy, reducing impulse purchases. It not only saves you money on groceries in the long run, but it also means you spend less on takeout and eat better balanced, nutritional meals.
How to Meal Prep (Prepare Meals)
Preparing meals for many days can seem difficult at first, but after you sketch out your essentials, you'll be up and running in no time. Here's how to prepare meals:
1. Plan first.
Take some time to arrange your menu before you begin cooking. Determine how many meals you'll prepare and look for recipes that suit your needs. Typically, people food prep for the week, which includes five breakfasts, lunches, and supper. If tackling so much prep feels overwhelming, start with something manageable, like three dinners each week, two lunches, or just all the breakfasts.
Looking through your saved recipes is a wonderful place to start preparing. Look through your refrigerator to see what you have, consider any dishes you've been yearning, or simply start with what's in season.
While meal planning or prepping, there are two types of recipes that work:
One-pot dishes, such as soups, curries, and stews, that you can prepare all at once and then portion out and freeze. Make a double batch of soup and reheat it twice over the week, for example.
Component-based meals are when veggies, proteins, grains, and dressings are prepped individually and mixed and matched throughout the week. A batch of roasted vegetables, for example, can be used in a quinoa salad for dinner, a taco filling for lunch the next day, and pasta the third day.
Make a well-balanced menu and try out one new recipe every week. You don't need to know what you'll eat for every meal, but having a template is a smart idea. The following is an example menu:
Smoothies and overnight oats for breakfast
Salads, grain bowls, and wraps for lunch
Dinners include stir-fries, pastas, and soups/stews.
You would prepare the following menu for this example:
1. Prepare the fruits for the smoothies by chopping and freezing them.
2. make overnight oats (and add toppings when ready to eat)
3. Chop and store vegetables for quick stir-fries and salads.
4. Roast vegetables in bulk for salads, grain bowls, and wraps/tacos
5. prepare the grains
6. prepare a batch of soup or stew
2. Go Shopping
Make a master grocery list once you've decided on a menu. To make shopping easier, write down all of the ingredients from all of the recipes, then categorize them by category. In one week, try to stick to recipes that use common items to get the most out of all of your ingredients. Choose a shopping day (typically the weekend) and stick to your list! Having a written list with you at the supermarket is usually preferable to trying to recall everything you need.
3. Cook Your Delight
After you've gotten your goods, set aside an hour to 90 minutes on Sundays to cook everything. Make the most of your time in the kitchen by multitasking. Boil your grains (quinoa, rice, millet, etc.) first. Chop your fruits and vegetables while that is being done. Cook your vegetables in the oven while making a soup on the stove. Even something as simple as prepping your salad greens or herbs ahead of time will save you time throughout the week.
4. Pack Your Meal
You've spent so much time planning and cooking, but it'll all be for naught if the food expires due to improper storage. Here are some crucial things to remember when keeping your meal prep.
Select the appropriate containers. It's a good idea to invest in decent glass food storage, which will allow you to easily store the individual components and portion out single servings for simple grab-and-go.
To make smoothie packs, combine all of the ingredients for one serving in a freezer bag.
Allow everything to cool before putting it in the fridge.
If you add sauces or condiments, the rest of the food will become mushy. Instead, store them in jars and combine as needed.
Unless you're preserving something, don't chop foods that brown in advance - apples, bananas, and avocados are best chopped fresh. Dry ingredients, such as seeds, nuts, or any other dry toppings, can also be portioned out.
5. Experiment a little
Even though you may still meal prep by creating four portions of the same food and eating it four times a week, it's a surefire way to bore yourself. Try at least one new recipe per week to avoid getting stuck in a rut while meal prepping. It's a great time to check out recipes you've just bookmarked or screenshotted but never had chance to try out before.
Incorporating diverse flavors into the same foods is also a smart idea.
Making a few different dressings and sauces that can add gobs of flavor is one way to do this. To add variation to the same batch of vegetables, stir-fry it with Asian sauces one night, mix it up in a simple red sauce for pasta the next, and wrap it in a taco the third day.
You can use different spices and garnishes to achieve the same effect. For example, eating overnight oats three times a week may seem monotonous, but it won't be if you zhuzh it up with new toppings each time — try chopped apples and cinnamon one day, bananas and peanut butter the next, and a cooked egg, tahini, and sea salt the third day.
6. Eat with a Smile
You've finished cooking and are ready to dine, but what should you eat first?
It's a good idea to plan your meals ahead of time - eat any animal protein and any cooked greens in the first few days (before they go soggy and limp). It's also a good idea to trust your instincts: if anything smells off, has turned a strange color, or just looks strange, don't eat it.
Notes for a successful meal prep
Don't allow dinner preparation overwhelm you or make you anxious. Begin with something small and doable – even two extra home-cooked meals each week is a fantastic start!
Plan ahead of time. This is the most important phase, and it will determine whether you succeed or fail!
Examine your schedule. Make a list of meetings, events, and meals you'll be attending. Meal planning for a week at a time is preferable to planning for weeks.
If you're just getting started, enlist the help of a friend to meal prep alongside you. With someone else, swapping recipes and figuring out a system is a lot easier.
Prepare your pantry. This is the key to meal prep success, according to seasoned planners. Keep a supply of common components on hand, such as nuts and seeds, oils, cereals, spices, lentils, and so on. Take inventory of your kitchen and pantry before going grocery shopping, and check out any goods you already have. It's also useful for recipe planning: need to use up some lettuce? Prepare a salad. Do you have some apples? Blend it into smoothies or add it to overnight oats. Have a large jar of wild rice sitting around from last week? Make grain bowls with it.
Make a plan, but don't overthink it. Your meal preparation may not always go as planned, life may get in the way, and you may need to order takeout. That's OK. Meal preparation is an ongoing project, and the more you do it, the better you will become.
Meal preparation takes time and effort, but the results are well worth it. You'll feel great by the end of it, and you'll be eating more nutritious, well-balanced meals. You won't have to worry about mealtimes for the rest of the week if you put in a little more effort over the weekend.