A big part of feeling successful in your healthy eating regime is planning and preparing your meals ahead of time -- so you’re not tempted to just stop at the fast food drive-thru on your way home from work! So, why not bring back the tradition of good ‘ol home cookin’ and start eating healthier, more nutrient-dense meals… at home?
You may be thinking that it’s way too time-consuming to cook all of your meals from scratch. However, if you plan in advance AND do at least some of the meal prep ahead of time, healthier home-cooking habits can be established far more easily than you think!
It really doesn’t matter what type of diet you follow either – whether it’s vegan, gluten-free, keto or diabetic-friendly. Nor does the size of your kitchen need to limit you - just a few basic pieces of cooking equipment is all you need to get started. We know you’re busy, busy, busy and time really can feel like a luxury these days. So we’ve chopped, diced and puréed everything you need to know about MEAL PREP, including all the best shortcuts.
What is meal prep?
Meal prep does involve planning ahead – and preparing your meals in advance. Basically, you’re cooking complete or near complete meals in advance so all you have to do is reheat them at meal time. This generally works best for lunch & dinner, but we’ll show you how to do it for breakfast too ;)
However, the prep part can’t really happen until your meal planning is done first. During the meal planning process, you need to decide what meals you’re going to prepare, make a grocery shopping list, and then buy all the ingredients. Then you get to prepping!
Meal prep can offer these benefits:
→ MORE ORGANIZED & SAVES TIME COOKING
By prepping your meals in advance, you’ll only have to cook or reheat your meals when it’s time to eat, giving you more time for other things. Many people do their meal planning and prep on a weekly basis on preset days.
→ REPURPOSE INGREDIENTS & STRETCH YOUR FOOD BUDGET
Prepping for multiple meals (at the same time) with frequently-used ingredients will save you even more time during the week AND can stretch the food budget.
Many “dry staple” ingredients, such as grains, flours, pasta, nuts, seeds & legumes, can be bought in bulk and kept in the pantry to be portioned out for meals as you need them.
→ STAY ON THE HEALTHY LIFESTYLE TRACK & PORTION CONTROLLED
There’s less chance that you’ll veer away from your healthy eating regime since things have already been prepared, allowing you to have healthier meals and snacks at the ready.
Part of prepping food in advance includes storing meals in proper portion sizes, and this can certainly help to prevent overeating. Win!
Meal prep meets “batch cooking” - and other ‘just get started’ tips
Use a calendar to get organized, and pick the day(s) of the week to do your grocery shopping, meal prep and/or batch cooking. Schedule these events just like any other appointment.
Consider your grocery shopping day when you’ve decided on your meal prep day so food doesn’t spoil. Sunday is popular for meal prep because it’s just before the beginning of a new work/school week.
Batch cooking is really just another cooking idea related to meal prep, and at its simplest, it means preparing multiple batches of the same meal, portioning them out, then freezing them for later use over.