Meal prep is quite simply preparing your meals (or at least some portion of them) ahead of time. It is one of the best ways to not only save time, but to make healthier choices as well. In a busy world it is nearly impossible to cook healthy meals every night, but preparing meals ahead means that you’ll be less likely to resort to “convenience” foods when you are strapped for time. Meal prepping takes some trial and error before you find a system that works well for you, but there are some tips that can make it easier to get started. The first thing to remember is to start small so that you don’t get overwhelmed and give up. Start by planning meals just a day or two in advance and as you gain experience you can expand your horizons.
The first item on your list of needs when starting meal prep should be a set of high quality storage containers; whether glass or plastic. Bear in mind that if you will be reheating your food in them, they should be oven or microwave safe. Make sure that your containers will be easily stackable so your refrigerator doesn’t become crowded when you prep for a few days ahead.
Have a Detailed Meal Plan
When prepping your meals, having a detailed meal plan makes it easier. Going to the grocery store and just randomly picking things that you think you might want will end in wasted foods and a failed plan. While everyone changes their mind about what they want for dinner once in a while, if you sit down before hand and plan your meals it won’t happen nearly as often. If you’re prepping only dinners, write a plan and then break it down into a grocery list to follow.
Plan your Prep Time
How much time you take to prep your meals is up to you. Some choose to do a little each night and others take several hours on a day off to prep everything. However you do it, stick to your schedule. If one schedule doesn’t work out, alter it until it works well for your situation. As with anything, practice will make you more efficient and you’ll find your own short cuts to save time and effort. It is very important to find a schedule that works well for you so that prepping doesn’t become a dreaded chore that you end up abandoning.
Every person is different and meal prepping isn’t for everyone. If you are trying to maintain a healthy diet and are on the go however, it can raise your chances of success significantly. Think about how many times you’ve grabbed a less than healthy snack just because you didn’t have anything on hand when you were in a hurry. Meal prepping is one way to make sure you have healthy choices on hand at all times.