Pizza’s great and all, but have you heard of meal prepping and its timesaving, healthy benefits? On a weeknight when you’re so tired you can barely lift a finger, meal prepping can be the very thing that saves you from hunger
It’s easy and healthy both for you and your family! Interested in knowing what “meal prepping” is? Read along!
What is Meal Prepping?
So long story short, meal prepping means preparing for meals. It goes hand-in-hand with meal planning as it is a crucial step that makes the planning more efficient. Simple, right? It’s also very simple to do!
There are four types of meal prepping which depend mainly on the prepper’s schedule, taste preference, and dietary needs.
- Full Make-ahead Meals in which you cook a whole meal ahead of time, store it cold, and reheat.
- Batch Cooking / Freezing is perfect for big batches like soups. Cook it, portion, then freeze.
- Meals for One employs the use of food containers for a single serving.
- Ingredient Prep means preparing just the ingredients (chopped vegetables, meat marinade, etc.) in advance and cooking it later in the week.
You can explore these various types of meal prepping until you find the one that works best for you.
Why Meal Prep?
- Meal prepping is timesaving. If you set aside one day in the week for meal prepping, cooking for the rest of the week will be a breeze. Having a full meal pre-cooked or even with just all the ingredients already prepared saves you time from thinking about what to cook next.
- It is also money-saving. Meal prepping encourages one to buy in bulk which is known to be much cheaper in the long run (provided that you know how to properly store food) compared to retail and repeated delivery.
- It reduces waste. Buying in bulk also means less food packaging waste from multiple trips to the grocery and food deliveries. Also, having planned the meals for the week before shopping, it encourages wise purchase. In meal prepping, you only buy what you will need and will actually eat.
- It helps with diet control. Forget impulse, greasy food delivery on a busy weekday. According to fintys.com.au/diet/, the keys to wellbeing are nutrition and a healthy diet. When you prep your meals ahead of time, you also get conscious of your ideal dietary intake and you will have absolute control of the things you eat.
How to Meal Prep?
- Be ready with your food containers.
Whether it’s high-grade stainless or glass storage, make sure you are ready with an armful of food containers. The knowledge of food handling and storage is substantial in meal prepping. Opt for high-quality containers that can prolong freshness, is heat-resistant, and helps your food stay warm or chilled.
Remember that glass would always be a better investment than plastic containers. Besides being an environmental hazard, low-grade plastics can pose serious health risks especially when their chemicals transfer to your food.
- Identify your meal prepping goals.
Consider what you want to achieve by meal prepping. Will you do it to save time? Will you use it as an opportunity to practice a healthier lifestyle? Write down your goals to make them clear.
After that, search and write down the meals you would like to try for about a week. Flesh out all the ingredients you would need for every meal and organize it in such a way that shopping would be easier. For instance, will a tray of eggs be enough for, say, four of your ideal meals?
- Schedule time for meal prep.
You’re the chef so make sure to add your meal prepping time in your planner. Will one day be enough to prepare all your meals for a week? Pick the day you’re not the busiest. Any day will do – it doesn’t have to be Sunday all the time.
Perhaps you think a day isn’t enough, or you would prefer the food to be as fresh as it can be. Maybe designate both Monday and Thursdays for it? Whichever is fine. It’s totally up to your schedule.
- Shop ingredients.
Planning, check. List, check. Time for prepping, set. Now all that’s left is shopping!
Now, hopefully, your list contains meal-prepping friendly ingredients. It is important to plan for meals that will still taste fresh and stay in good condition even after a few days. Also, remember to shop wisely and buy in bulk as much as possible to save more money and bring home less trash. Don’t forget to use eco-friendly items like produce bags when shopping.
After everything is said and done – up to the shopping part, all that’s left is to start prepping. Say goodbye to unsatisfactory meals and say hello to a chill, less-hassle, healthier week!