Meal prep – or preparing meals in advance – is one of the best ways to eat right every day, while also saving time and money. You make meals ahead of time all at once, then put them in servings for serving or freezing.
It reduces the hassle of cooking at every mealtime, and it cuts down on binge eating or grabbing whatever is most convenient when you’re hungry, rather than eating what’s in your plan.
But to start it might seem like a big time commitment, right? A whole hour in the kitchen? Well, I think you’ll find it’s a great investment. Here’s how to manage the time.
- Choose a day or two each week where you can devote the time and focus. Most people pick Sundays because they’re not working. Some can get it all done at once. Others might want to break it up with, say, a Wednesday. But remember: You don’t have to meal prep for an entire week; it’s up to you!
- Start simple, with just one entrée recipe. Slow cookers are useful. It’s so easy to make chili or soup in a crock pot and then have it to enjoy all week, along with a big salad you can prepare in advance (and dress when you serve).
- Gather recipes and make a shopping list. That way, you’ll be sure to have everything you need in advance.
- Make sure your supplies include storage containers you can put in the microwave and freezer, and materials like tin foil and plastic wrap.
- Make big batches of staples like rice, quinoa and oatmeal. You can use them throughout the week to mix things up.
- Start with lunches and dinners. At home, a healthy breakfast can be quick and easy. But if you’re going to work every day, you don’t want to rely on food courts and cafeteria food. And, after a long day, it’s grand to come home to dinner that’s already done and waiting for you.
- Stock the freezer with meats and veggies, the pantry with nonperishable staples, and your spice drawer with your favorites.
You’ll find it’s really kind of amazing how much time you’ll save each day during the week. And that hour you spent in the kitchen? Totally worth it!