Meal Prep For Beginners

by - 16:33:00

It's no secret that meal prepping is they key to eating well when you're busy. By having pre-prepared food with you or in the fridge/freezer, you can avoid those trips to the takeout or those dodgy lunchtime meal deals. Not only will your waistline thank you; your wallet will too. All that being said, meal prepping is something of an art form and does require some time and a bit of patience. To help you master it, I thought I'd share a few tips that should help you get it down to a tee.

Take baby steps. If meal prepping or mass cooking/portioning is a new thing to you, don't jump in head first. Instead of planning things out week by week, try taking it 3-4 days at a time. This will be far more manageable at the beginning and then you can work upwards if you'd like. 

Invest in some good quality containers. Tupperware isn't the most exciting thing to buy I know, but you're going to need some. I currently use and swear by the Sistema line but anything that's BPA free and microwaveable should do the job just fine. I have mine in a variety of shapes and sizes so there's a pot for just about every need. Think big bowls for salads and a couple of smaller pots for dressings and the likes. 

Get inspired. This is my favourite part of meal prepping as it basically involves looking at a bunch of recipes and picking only the most delicious for the week to come. At the moment, I'm firmly invested in Joe Wicks' Lean In 15 books; the food's fab and there's nothing too technical either so they're easy to cook. Don't fret if you don't have cookbooks though, the internet has a recipe for anything and everything so have a search and see what takes your fancy. 

Write a list. Once you've decided what you want to eat, make a list of everything you'll need, as well as the quantities (adjusting in accordance with the number of days you're making for). Doing this will make shopping an absolute breeze and it will also make sure you pick up only what you need. In this way, meal prepping is great if you're on a tight budget.  

Find the time. Pre-preparing food is something that should save you time when you're busiest, but you still need to find the time to do it. I like to take a quiet morning to do my prep as the house is generally quiet and I can just get on with what I need to do. Also you don't have to do everything in one go; you can spread the process out and enjoy and hour here or there in the kitchen too. 

Get stuck in. Once you're figured out when and you've got your ingredients; the only thing left to do is cook. While you could definitely pre-cook everything if that's what works best, but I only tend to do this for lunches. At work I'm limited to a microwave and a toaster so if I don't pre-cook at home, I'm fairly limited in terms of what I can make. For breakfasts and dinners I instead like to prep my ingredients. This could involve anything from marinating some meat, chopping vegetables or even making a sauce: basically everything but the cooking. By doing this I get to enjoy my food fresh, without having to do all the prep after a busy day at work. One of the exceptions to this rule however are things like pasta and rice. These can take a while to cook, so you'll find it easier to pre-cook these and then re-heat them once the rest of your dish is ready to be served. 

Enjoy. Meal prepping is supposed to make healthy eating easier. Use the process to learn about and enjoy good food. Try new things; learn new skills and just have fun. I enjoy the process for so many reasons and hopefully you'll find that same joy too. 

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