We are all familiar with the saying ìthose who fail to plan only plan to fail.î This seems a tad harsh but when it comes to planning your meals it is also very true. Most of us lead pretty busy lives in this modern era; in between the many pressing concerns of the day getting a hot, healthy and home cooked meal on the table can be almost impossible.
But this is where meal prep can be your biggest ally; by preparing your meals before hand you lessen the chances of relying on junk food or ìconvenienceî foods when you are caught hungry in a tight schedule.
Meal Prep -Saving Time, Money and Health
So what does successful meal prep look like? It looks very different depending on the personal needs of those preparing and eating the meals, this makes personalizing your meal prep routine to match the specific needs you are addressing the essential point of meal prep; you want to save yourself time and still provide substantial nutrition during your busy week.
Choosing to make a week supply of breakfasts, lunches or dinners (even snacks) on the weekend frees up valuable time in your weekly schedule. The meal you find yourself rushing through, compensating for or skipping altogether is the one in need of prep. If you are grabbing a snack bars for lunch or picking up drive through on the way to work food prep can save you time, money and good health.
How to Prep your Meals
Begin by getting a good collection of food storage containers – Tupperware or glass containers are both good just be sure you have a snug lid for each one. Remember that you will be regularly reheating your food and you want the type that will not release toxins or melt when heated in a microwave or oven, the BPA free variety is recommended.
Storage space in your fridge is also an important consideration because you will have several days worth of food and you want containers that stack nicely without collapsing when you open the door.
Meal Prep Plan
Because diets and tastes are so different and it is always smartest to start by prepping a few meals at a time at first, this will help you to get used to the process of storing, labeling and reheating. But this should all be coming from a set plan, you need to know what you are going to be making, how long it will last in the fridge and when you plan to eat it. Prepped meals that go uneaten are a major hole in your wallet.
The point of preparing your meals is not to cook everything in one day but to limit the amount of time and cooking operations required daily. This could mean marinating your chicken thighs and freezing them then taking them out to cook during the week. Veggies can be cleaned, washed and blanched and are ready to steam in a few minutes. Sauces, soups and even oatmeal can also be prepared ahead of time.
Cooking your carbohydrates like whole grain pasta, rice or quinoa is best done right before meal time. This goes to emphasize the need of accurate planning when preparing meals ahead of time.
Remember that a little prep goes along way in saving you time, start small and try to base your plans around the foods you already enjoy and you will be pleasantly surprised with the results. Happy Cooking!