5 Tips to Master Meal Prep
There are many tools out there to stay on track with your healthy eating habits. Looking up recipes, following specific meal plans, food tracking, and meal prepping are just a few examples of these.
Of all of the above-mentioned, meal prepping is a great way to make sure you are ready for the week and all of your meals will be in line with your health goals. It helps to safeguard you from those long days at work when you might snack out of boredom. It also frees up your evenings so you have more time for the things that matter.
There are many ways to approach meal prepping so that it best suits your needs and your lifestyle. Here are our 5 tips to master meal prepping!
Pick Your Meal Prep day(s)
Benjamin Franklin said “ failing to plan is planning to fail” and this is very true when it comes to meal prepping. If you don’t plan a day, or days, to meal prep, then it won’t be nearly as effective.
The fact is, meal prep takes time. So you need to pick a day or two where you can set aside the time to prepare all of the food you will be enjoying that week.
Most people typically pick a day on the weekend for this, but if that doesn’t fit your schedule, then pick a different day! The whole point of meal prepping is to make your day-to-day easier.
Don’t be afraid to prep more than once a week
Menu fatigue is a real thing for some people and that can make prepping the same meal for the whole week sound like a horrible idea. If you know that you will get bored of your meals after a few days, then pick a second day of the week to prep a new batch of meals.
Having more than 1 day in the week also means that each meal prep time is cut down slightly. So if you only have an hour of 2 of free time, splitting up your meal prep days can be an effective way to work it into your schedule.
The Meals don’t have to be 100% put together
Most people understand meal prep as fully preparing the meals so that all you have to do is stick it in the microwave at work, or add the salad dressing.
But there is another way to meal prep that is somewhat inspired by the restaurant industry. If you like to cook your meals fresh, and you have a little more time at home in the evenings, then preparing large batches of individual ingredients may be a better option for you.
Everyone knows someone who prepares a large quantity of pasta sauce and then freezes it for later. You can apply this to all kinds of meals. Simply prepare the individual parts of the recipe, and then tuck them in a container to be used later.
This also allows for more creativity and options with your meals throughout the week as you can mix and match different ingredients on different days to have many different meals.
Get the Right Containers
Having the right containers for your meal prep is essential. If you know you are going to be prepping a lot of soups, you don’t want a square container with a loose seal because your lunchbag will be covered in the soup before you get to work.
Glass containers are the ideal choice for meals that are going to be reheated or will have an oily dressing or sauce on them. Microwaving plastic containers can release harmful chemicals into your food, so using glass will make sure you are only consuming the food you prepared.
Oily dressings and sauces will also soak into plastic containers. From an efficiency standpoint this is a nightmare because when you go home to clean your containers, you’ll be at the sink for a long time trying to scrub out the oily residue.
The whole point of meal prepping is to save you time, so just invest in the good glass containers.
Invest in Meal Prepping Power Tools
If you were doing a home reno, you could get the job done with a simple screwdriver, but it might take you forever. Completing the same project with a power tool like a drill would get the same job done much faster.
There are power tools for meal prepping as well. The crock pot and the pressure cooker are incredibly helpful tools when you are trying to prep a lot of food.
Crock pots, or slow cookers, are a one of the simplest ways to prepare delicious food. For most slow cooker recipes you just put all of the ingredients in the pot and then let it cook for 6-10 hours. When it is done, you have a very tasty meal that is full of flavour.
If you haven’t yet, try preparing meat on the bone in a crockpot. It will come out juicy, full of whatever flavour you cooked it in, and it will literally fall right off the bone.
The pressure cooker is the opposite of the slow cooker. It uses the pressure from steam in a contained vessel to cook your food at incredible speeds. Although the food is not sitting and soaking up flavour as it does in the slow cooker, meals prepared in this power tool are still just as juicy and flavourful.
Each power tool has its benefits for different lifestyles. If you just want to throw the ingredients in a pot, let it sit and get other errands done, then the slow cooker is a great tool for you.
If you are more likely to be setting aside time in your day to prep, but don’t want to wait a long time for your food to cook, then the pressure cooker is the better option for you.
Meal prep takes a little bit of time, effort, and thought to achieve but with these 5 tips, we truly believe that anyone can become a master meal prepper!