Not in the habit of planning ahead? That may be a recipe for disaster.
Ever fantasize about how much easier life would be if you didn’t constantly have to find recipes, buy groceries, prep and cook ingredients, and clean up a messy kitchen. Sounds amazing, right?
The solution you’re seeking is simple: meal prep. Instead of going through the grueling daily routine listed above, welcome to the art of planning and preparing some or all of your meals in advance.
The beauty of meal prep is that it can adapt to fit your cooking expertise, lifestyle, and personal dietary needs. And there is no one-size-fits-all approach or ‘right’ way to meal prep.
- The Benefits
Meal prepping is meant to help simplify your routine and lifestyle. It saves you time and money all while helping you stick to a cleaner eating plan. Having meals made ahead of time is extremely helpful to avoid impulsively ordering meals from restaurants or fast-food restaurants and ensures you always have options to fit your dietary needs. Research shows that people who plan their meals have healthier diets, eat more fruits and veggies, and are less likely to be obese.
- What to Prep
Start by making a grocery list so you know exactly what you need. Set aside 1-2 hours of time for your meal prep and keep it simple – Choose no more than 4-6 recipes unless time allows for more. Stock up on functional meal prep containers to make the overall process more organized. And what to prep? Some personal favorites are overnight oats, hard-boiled eggs, trail mix, roasted vegetables, mason jar salads, and one pot meals. It is also a good idea to keep your pantry and freezer stocked with quick go-to items such as frozen brown rice or quinoa, salsa, low-sodium broth, and plain oatmeal just to name a few.
- How to Keep it Interesting
Obviously, you’re going to have a few standbys you rely on every week, but try to incorporate one new recipe each week to keep from getting burnt out on your go-to foods. Add more color to your meal prep with brightly-colored produce like red berries, yellow peppers, dark leafy greens, and purple onions. Even carbs can be colorful – try sweet potatoes, yellow corn, or purple yams instead of the usual grains. And be sure to add a healthy dose of spices to add flavor to your foods. No one wants to eat something bland.