Meal prepping sounds great, but it can feel like a long and tedious process. So here are a few quick hacks to make the process more efficient.
Start with your schedule
Treat meal prepping like a scheduled event. Plan out a day and a dedicated chunk of time; otherwise, there’s a good chance you’ll keep putting it off.
Having a schedule allows you to consider what meals to make, their shelf life and what goes on the grocery list. Planning ahead will also give you a chance to prepare extra frozen meals for the weeks that are just too busy.
Plan your meals ahead of time
Three helpful things to consider when brainstorming meal options:
- Include different food groups. General recommendations include one protein, one starch and two produce options per meal. In a week, this may manifest as two different proteins, two starches and four vegetable dishes.
- Identify what you need for time, equipment and ingredients. Ensure you have the ingredients and other kitchen tools you will need. Don’t forget to estimate how long each dish takes to prepare in order to schedule yourself enough time.
- Choose diverse items. Cooked chicken is just one of many items that can be enjoyed on its own or thrown into various dishes for a protein boost. Bulk preparing and storing staple vegetables like broccoli or carrots is another way to save time, as you can add them to many different meals.
Be strategic about groceries
Once you have some meals in mind, keep an eye on sales and bulk options. Not only can meal prepping save you money by mitigating the temptation to dine out, but it’s also an opportunity to take advantage of grocery sales!
A downside of buying perishable items in bulk is that they’ll go bad before you use them. Building perishables into your meal plan will use up a large amount of product at once and ensure they are not forgotten at the back of your fridge. It also doesn’t hurt to buy bulk non-perishable basics like rice, pasta and canned goods.
Make changes (even small ones)
A quick way to get sick of meal prepping is to get bored with the food, so make sure you are diversifying your meals. It doesn’t need to be massive changes — switching up sauces, spices, and herbs can surprise your tastebuds.
Let’s talk about containers
We all have a drawer full of odd-shaped containers and a large selection of lids that never match up. After all your work in preparing these delicious meals, now is the time to invest in a reliable set of containers and lids! Find the best size for you and ensure the containers seal well, wash easily and are microwave-safe.
Now you’re set to enjoy your tasty efforts all week long!
Looking for other ways to be healthier? Check-in with your body using imaware’s at-home Men’s and Women’s Health & Wellness tests.