In today’s time where most people have a hectic lifestyle, healthy eating can often fall by the wayside. After all, juggling between home and work responsibilities and cooking healthy treats is seldom easy. But one handy approach to help you get through all that and yet make delish, homemade food is meal prep.
It is a simple way to prepare whole meals ahead of time so you can relish healthy and homemade food every day. And while it may seem like a lot at first, meal prep is quite easy and doesn’t require any complicated planning or tools.
One of the greatest benefits of meal prep is that it helps to save a lot of time. Having pre-prepared meals after a long working day can not only boost your nutrition but also promote healthy living. You will no longer need to opt for unhealthy options such as takeout dinners, especially when you are exhausted.
There are various ways to meal prep. And thankfully, most of them do not involve spending the entire Sunday afternoon cooking food for the week ahead. In this post, we will look at some easy and effective principles of meal prepping for a beginner. So let’s get started.
Easy Steps to Healthy Meal Prep
Select Your Meal Prep Method
To kick start your journey of healthy living, you need to first decide the best prep method that precisely serves your needs. Some of the most popular ways to meal-prep include:
- Make-ahead meals: These are fully-cooked meals that are prepared in advance and only reheated at the time of consumption. This is great for dinnertime meals.
- Batch cooking: In this, large lots of a particular recipe are prepared and then split into individual portions and frozen to be consumed over the next few weeks. This is a good option for lunch and dinner.
- Individually divided meals: This is a good method for those who prefer quick grab-and-go meals. You can prepare fresh meals, portion them for one person, and refrigerate so they can be consumed over the next few days.
- Ready-to-cook ingredients: This method involves prepping the ingredients required for specific meals in advance to cut down on cooking time.
All these meal prep methods can be mixed and matched to best serve your needs. You can start by selecting any one method and then gradually experiment with the others to find out what works best for you.
Decide About Storage
Before you get on to start cooking your meal, you need to decide how you are going to keep everything properly stored and well-organized. The storage container you choose for your meal prep can make all the difference between a delicious and a mediocre meal.
It is best to opt for high-quality and airtight containers or freezer-safe containers for read-to-cook ingredients. The BPA-free microwave containers are both convenient as well as promote healthy living. It is advisable to carefully invest in the right containers as you will be using them for a long time.
Lastly, it is good to use stackable and similarly shaped containers as they help to optimize space in the refrigerator. Look for leak-proof, compartmentalized containers for optimal storage.
Have a Plan in Mind
It is best to decide a day and time when you will be prepping the meals. This makes meal prep and healthy eating a routine. Typically, most working people decide Sunday as their day for the prep.
Similarly, you can choose one day for grocery shopping in a week. This will help to make the whole process a lot easier. Just make sure to pick up specific times and stick to them to simplify the decision-making process and free up your mental space for other things.
Choose The Right Combination of Recipes
If you have any specific healthy eating goals in mind, you must choose the right combination of recipes. It is advisable to choose recipes that require different cooking methods. Having many recipes that require the same appliance for cooking, the microwave, for instance, can increase your time in the kitchen.
A great way is to stick to one oven/microwave meal and a maximum of two stovetop meals. Apart from that, you can add meals that don’t require cooking, such as salads or sandwiches.
These are some simple tips for healthy meal prep. Following them can help you to promote healthy living and stay on top of your shape.