A Beginner’s Guide: The Best Ways to Meal Prep Your Week

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People are busy in their day-to-day lives.  Perhaps, you are too.  Whether you are a mother, a student, a full-time employee, it can be hard to cook all your meals at home every day.  This is where meal preparation can be very helpful.  You can avoid eating junk food or eating out when you prepare or plan your meals ahead of time.

What is Meal Preparation?

Meal preparation can mean different things to different people.  People’s routines, priorities and activities vary.  It is important to find a time in the kitchen to prepare your meals and make it easier for you to eat healthier meals during the entire week.  You could prepare only breakfast, or you could prepare your entire meals for the week.


It may be a little bit of trial and error at first, but you would be able to adjust your lifestyle and preferences to your meal plans.  If you are always in a hurry to get out of the door, your breakfast may consist of foods that you can bring with you.  If you find it difficult to prepare dinner because you work late, you might want to focus on preparing dinners ahead of time.

How to Plan Your Meals

The first thing that you have to do is to invest in quality food containers.  You can get Tupperware or glass containers.  Keep in mind that if you will need to reheat your food, you will want to use containers that are BPA free and microwaveable.  If you are going to prepare food for an entire week, it will be a good idea to invest in containers that are of the same sizes, so you will be able to easily stack them in your fridge.

 

Before starting preparing your meals, the first thing that you need to is to plan ahead.  If you’re new to meal planning, do not overwhelm yourself.  Cooking up a week’s worth of meals can be a tad difficult.  Even the most experienced planners can struggle with that.  Make sure that everything is manageable.  Stick to a few days at a time to get you started.

Planning a meal is important.  There is no use shopping and chucking random things in your cart.  In order to prepare meals properly, you need to plan them ahead of time.  Organizing a meal for an entire week can be intimidating, so you might want to start with a few days’ worth of meals.

Write down each breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack.  Break the list down into ingredients, so you will know how much you will need to prepare a few days’ worth of meals.  Stick to tested recipes, so you don’t end up cooking food that you don’t like the taste of.  Use recipes that you can prepare in advance and won’t spoil.

How to Prepare Your Meals

There are a lot of ways to prepare your food, but remember to cook meals that suit your needs.  Make sure they’re healthy and delicious.  Taste is a huge thing.  You might like to experiment with flavors, spices, dressings and marinades.  You can add some sauce or spice coatings to your lean meats.  You can jazz up your veggies with lemon and olive oil dressing.  Try to experiment with a variety of food, so you won’t get bored eating the same meals every day.  This can be as simple as switching chicken for fish or chicken for lean beef.

 



How Much Time Should You Give to Preparing Your Meals?

As we’ve mentioned before, you can start with a few days’ meals.  It is up to you to estimate how much time you would like to dedicate to preparing these meals.  You can choose to dedicate a whole day, a whole Sunday perhaps, or you can prepare your meals for a couple of nights.

How much preparation you will do will have to depend on what you are preparing.  If there are meals that you would like to eat fresh, then you could just pack them in the fridge, chop them up in the morning before eating them.  If you are going to prepare complex dishes, you might want to chop up all the vegetables ahead of time, so they will be ready to go when it is time to cook them.

How to Cook Your Meals

The point of preparing meals ahead of time is to make life easier for you during the entire week.  This doesn’t mean you to have to pre-cook all your meals.  It may just mean preparing your food for cooking. For instance, you can marinate your chicken and place them in the freezer.  You can defrost them once you need to cook them.  Here are some meal preparation ideas that can help free up your time:

  • Marinate three kinds of meat using just one pan.  If you are going to prepare chicken, you can get tired of the same flavors.  You can save time by preparing three variations of chicken at once.  Divide a pan using aluminum foil dividers.  You can marinate your chicken in three different flavors – honey mustard, barbecue or Sriracha.
  • Boil eggs in the oven.  Eggs can be your staple snack.  You could usually fit up to 5 eggs in a pot, but if you would like to boil a dozen eggs all at once, you can place them in the oven for about 3 minutes.  Ta-da!  You get a dozen perfectly hard-boiled egg.  Do a small test first to ensure that your oven is not too hot or too cold before you cook an entire pan of eggs.

  • Blend smoothies and freeze them in muffin tins.  Are you always rushing out in the morning?  Save time by buying ingredients in bulk and blending them ahead of time.  You can freeze them in muffin tins.  You can also use our Praticube Large Ice Cube Mold.  This mold is large enough to freeze smoothie ingredients in.  The next time you need a shake, you can just toss a couple of frozen cubes in the blender for a quick smoothie.

  • Spiralize or chop raw vegetables in advance.  Are you too tired after work to prepare dinner?  Cut vegetables ahead of time to save time during busy weeknights.  Zucchini and butternut squash can last in the fridge for at least five days.  Chopped vegetables like onions, carrots and pepper can last a week when refrigerated in a sealed plastic bag.

  • Roast different vegetables with the same cooking time.  Roasting vegetables is a great way to bring out their natural flavors and sweetness.  However, you may not have the time to cook these vegetables.  To prepare large batch of veggies, pair vegetables with the same roasting time and roast them ahead of time.  Fast-cooking vegetables include asparagus, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes.  Slow-roasting vegetables include cauliflower, potatoes, onions, carrots and parsnips.

  • Prepare healthy oatmeal jars ahead of time.  Fiber-rich foods like oatmeal can be prepared ahead of time.  They can keep you satiated until lunchtime.  You can add raspberries, chocolate, banana and other ingredients. You can make different flavor combinations.

  • Prepare egg muffins or frittata in advance.  You could enjoy a frittata or egg muffin every morning without needing to turn on your stove every morning.  You can store them in the fridge for five days, and then microwave them in the morning for breakfast.

  • Skewer meats and enjoy them for the week.  Cook up a batch of meat and skewer them for the rest of the week.  If you are going to use wooden skewer, soak them in water, so they won’t catch fire when you grill them or place them in the oven.

Remember that food preparation can be anything.  You do not need to cook all your meals ahead of time.  You can just chop up onions, peppers and vegetables ahead of time.  Wash fruits and vegetables as they are ready for snacks.  Whatever is going to work for you to save time.


Image Credit:
A Guide to Weekly Food Prepping via thesweetseed.com
Microwavable Plastic Food Container via mrtakeoutbags.com
Chicken Seasoning via dailyburn.com
Roasted Vegetables Recipe via addapinch.com
Overnight Oatmeal via thedomesticgeek.com
Healthy Green Kitchen Mini Greek Frittata via healthygreenkitchen.com
Skewer Meats via simplyscratch.com

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