Meal prepping is a great way to have all your meals ready to go without having to spend hours in the kitchen. You can prepare entire meals or just snacks and side dishes.
This article will teach you more about cooking meals ahead of time, essential meal prep tips for successful meal prep, and more.
And best of all, you can customize your meal plan to fit your own dietary needs. You’ll be on your way to a healthier lifestyle in no time!
What is Meal Prepping?
Meal prepping is the process of preparing meals in advance. Meal prep can be anything from cooking full meals ahead of time to prepping ingredients so they are ready to be cooked or assembled later.
Meal prep can save you a lot of time and effort during the week, especially if you are short on time or are trying to eat healthier.
There are many different ways to meal prep, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. For example, you can start by batch cooking a few recipes over the weekend to have some easy meals ready during the week.
Or, you can cook extra when you make dinner, so you have leftovers for lunch the next day. Meal prep can also involve food shopping and meal planning so that you have all the ingredients you need on hand and know what you will be making ahead of time.
What Do People Meal Prep?
There are many benefits to meal prepping, including:
· Saves time – Meal prepping can save you a lot of time during the week. If you batch cook or make ahead meals, you won’t have to spend time cooking every day. That can be a huge time saver, especially if you are short on time or have a busy schedule.
· Saves money – Meal prepping can also help you save money. For example, you can cook in bulk and freeze extra meals later when you meal prep. That can help you avoid eating out or buying expensive convenience foods.
· Helps you eat healthily – If you are trying to eat healthier, meal prepping can be a great way to ensure you have healthy meals and snacks. You can control the ingredients and make healthy choices when you make your meals.
· Reduces food waste – Meal prepping can help reduce food waste because you can plan and use all of the ingredients you buy. That can save you money and help the environment.
Start With Meal Planning
The first step to successful meal prepping is to have a plan. Consider weekly meal plans to start. You’ll need to decide what you want to make ahead of time and how much you want to make. It’s also helpful to choose some meal prep recipes that you can quickly reheat or eat cold. Once you pick the recipes, it’s time to make a grocery list. That will help you save time and money at the grocery store.
Creating Your Grocery List
When you are creating your grocery list, be sure to include all of the ingredients you will need for your recipes. It’s also helpful to group items together so you can easily find everything you need when you get to the store.
For example, you can combine all ingredients for one recipe or fresh produce. That will make it easier to find everything and help you save time.
If you are meal-prepping for the week, it’s also a good idea to ensure you have enough food. That means having enough food for each meal and snack.
Having some extra food on hand is also essential if you get hungry or want to change your meal plan.
Making a grocery list will help you save time and money at the store. It will also help you make sure you have everything you need to meal prep for the week.
Simple Meal Prepping Hacks
Now that you know the basics of meal prepping, it’s time to learn some simple hacks that will make your life easier. These hacks will help you save time, money, and effort to enjoy your meal prep experience.
1. Use leftovers – Another great way to save time and money is to use leftovers for meal prep. Eating leftovers can be a great way to ensure you have enough food and reduce food waste.
2. Invest in good storage containers – Good storage containers are a must-have for meal prep. You can find high-quality glass and plastic containers at stores like Walmart, Amazon, and Walmart. They will help you keep your food fresh and allow you to transport it easily.
3. Batch cook sheet pan meals – Sheet pan meals are a great option for meal prep because they are easy to make, are a complete meal, and can reheat quickly. Batch cook your sheet pan dinners to make life even easier, so you have meals for the entire week without investing much time.
4. Make overnight oats – Overnight oats are an excellent option for breakfast or a quick snack. They are easy to make ahead of time, and you can store them in a mason jar or other containers.
5. Use your Instant Pot – The Instant Pot is a great way to cook food quickly and easily. You can use it to make whole meals or just simple recipes.
6. Meal prep snacks – Meal prepping doesn’t have to be about the main dishes. You can also meal prep some healthy snacks like energy bars, trail mix, or fruit and veggie cups.
7. Meal prep on the weekends – If you’re short on time during the week, meal prep on the weekends. That will give you more time to cook and prepare meals for the week. Just take a couple of hours on a Saturday morning to prep all your meals, and you are set for the entire week.
8. Use a crockpot – A slow cooker is excellent for making soups, stews, and other slow-cooked meals. You can set them up in the morning and have a delicious meal ready when you get home from work.
9. Double up on recipes – When you find a recipe you like, make extra so you have leftovers for meal prep. That will save you time and effort in the kitchen and might be an easy way to double your meals with half the work.
10. Get your family involved – You don’t have to prepare meals alone. Include every member of the family in the planning and preparation process. That can make dinner preparation more manageable and more enjoyable.
Freezer Cooking Tips
One of the best things about meal prep is that you can cook in bulk and then freeze some of the food for later. That is a great way to save time and money, and it’s also a great way to make sure you always have something healthy to eat. Here are some tips for freezer cooking:
1. Buy a bulk pack of chicken breasts – Chicken breasts are an excellent option for freezer cooking because they are versatile and easy to cook.
2. Cook a big batch of rice, potatoes, or quinoa – Brown rice and quinoa are great staples in the freezer and some of the best whole grains. White and sweet potatoes freeze well after they’ve been cooked and will reheat quickly in the microwave. They can be used as sides or added to soups, stews, and salads.
3. Make a big pot of soup – Soup is another excellent option for freezer cooking. It’s easy to make a big batch and then freeze it in individual servings.
4. Cook a batch of pasta sauce – Pasta sauce is another versatile item used in various meals. Freeze it in small containers to thaw out only what you need.
5. Make a big batch of chili – Chili is another great meal to make in bulk and freeze. It’s perfect for a quick and easy dinner on a busy weeknight.
6. Roast a big batch of vegetables – Roasted vegetables are a great addition to any meal. They can be used as sides or added to salads, soups, and pasta dishes.
7. Bake a batch of muffins or bread – Muffins and bread are great for freezing and thawing out as needed. They’re perfect for a quick breakfast or snack.
8. Make energy bars or granola – Energy bars and granola are great snacks to have on hand. They’re easy to make ahead of time and then grab and go when you’re on the go.
Meal Prepping Checklist (Step By Step Guide)
To start meal prepping, you will need:
- Meal prep 101 plan
- A grocery list
- Food storage containers
- Batch cooking supplies
1. Meal prep 101 plan. Start by planning out what you want to make for the week. Decide if you’ll make all of your meals ahead of time or just a few. Choose easy recipes in the fridge that can be made ahead and last a few days.
2. Make a grocery list. Once you have your meal plan, you must make a grocery list of all the ingredients you need before you start cooking. That will help you save time and ensure you have everything you need.
3. Get food storage containers. You will need food storage containers to store your prepared meals. Choose airtight containers that are freezer-safe and microwave-safe.
4. Batch cook. To save time, you can batch cook your meals. That means cooking a large batch and then dividing it into individual portions. That is a great way to make several meals ahead at once.
5. Labels. Label your food storage containers with the recipe’s name, the date you made it, and how long it will last in the fridge. That will help you track your meals and ensure you eat them before they go bad.
Meal prepping can seem overwhelming, but with a little organization and planning, you can have healthy, delicious meals ready to go in no time.
Start by creating a meal plan and a grocery shopping list, then batch cook your meals so you can save time in the kitchen. Use an airtight container to store your prepared meals, and be sure to label them with the date and recipe name.
That will help you track your food and ensure you eat everything before it goes bad. With a little effort, meal prep 101 guidelines can become an easy part of your weekly routine!