Meal prep can sound daunting. It conjures mental images of cooking mountains of food and sorting through stacks of Tupperware. Most importantly, it requires time – which something we’re all short of.
But if you want to save yourself hours a week from cooking and running to the grocery store to pick up those last-minute items you forgot, dining out, or skipping meals (only then to eat snacks on the go!), then follow some of these easy tips to making meal prep an enjoyable and easy activity.
Create a set of go-to healthy recipes:
Having a set of go-to recipes that you love can make meal planning much easier, especially on the weeks you’re feeling uninspired. The key is to not let the process exhaust you, otherwise it’ll be too easy to fall off the bandwagon!
Invest in the right containers:
This may seem trivial, but the right containers make meal prep significantly easier. Look out for containers that are the right size, have various sections and are freezer / microwave friendly. Also, consider buying containers that come in a set. There’s nothing more frustrating than spending five minutes digging around for the right lid to that one bento box! Pro tip: Use clear containers that showcase your beautifully colourful meals, so you’ll see them and look forward to them all week.
Use frozen foods:
Frozen veggies are not only cheaper and just as nutritious, they also are usually prepped for you – that means all the hard work of washing and cutting is taken care of for you. In the case of firmer vegetables like broccoli and carrots, they’ve usually also been pre-blanched, which shortens cooking time. Some brands even make packs that can be microwave-steamed in the bag, saving you serious time! This simplifies clean-up as well.
Just pick 1:
You don’t need to meal prep every single dish for the week ahead — just pick one meal you find the most challenging. For example, if it’s difficult to get up early every morning to prepare breakfast, use your time to put together a week’s worth of overnight oats. Find it hard to make time for lunch? Toss your greens and veggies into individual containers and prepare some homemade salad dressing that you can drizzle on top when you’re on the go. The key is to start small!
Assemble your meals later, rather than all at once:
Preparing ingredients to assemble meals during the week takes the most time. So I recommend setting 1 day aside each week to prep and cook your main meal components, such as quinoa, hard-boiled eggs, and greens and proteins, to then assemble later on. This allows you to be creative on the spot if you free like free styling it!
Enjoy your new found freedom!
After planning and preparing all your meals for the week, you’re left with more free time and less decision making. You don’t need to think about what you’ll go out to purchase for lunch, because its already been taken care of. Use your new mental energy for other things you care about—be it taking care of yourself and your health, your relationships, your passions or anything else.