Updated: Jul 23, 2021
Meal prep can simply be described as preparing meals ahead of time, and storing them in the fridge or freezer. This makes life so much easier when it comes to dieting. It helps me not have to think about what have "available" to eat. Also, there are MANY days where I don't want to come home from work and cook, or even just cook something so I have lunch at work the next day. Meal prep makes this part of my life so much easier, I don't even have to think about it most of the time.
Now, there are a few different ways you can do this. I'll describe the different methods and then tell you which one I use the most. But YOU need to determine which one would best fit your lifestyle.
Buffet style - prep ingredients ahead of time and mix and match to create different combinations.
Ingredient prep/portioning things out - no cooking required! Simply chop, portion things out into freezer safe bags or containers, and cook/make as your need them.
Batch prep - cook a single ingredient ahead and base multiple meals around it.
Reheat meals- fully cooked and portioned meals, ready to go! Just reheat.
My favorite is the reheated meals! They're always ready to go, pre-weighed, fitting my macros perfectly. I'm a full-time working mom, always on the go. You can always find a microwave in a gas station. However, I do use all of them in combination. I know I like my fruit freshly chopped, so I chop it that morning. Also, I love eating breakfast, so I make it from scratch at home (but you don't have to).
What are some benefits of meal prepping?
Save money - you will NOT be waisting ingredients or going out to buy your lunch
Save time - when you make your meals in larger batches, you'll be saving SO much time in the kitchen on a day-to-day basis.
Reduce stress - it becomes one less thing you have think/worry about.
Eat healthier - it's hard to argue w convenience. So if you prep healthy meals, it take willpower out of the equation.
Meal pep containers:
pint size mason jars - great for storing veggies, overnight oats, parfaits, etc.
freezer bags - great for freezer meals
Snapware 2 cup glass storage containers - durable! Freezer, microwave and dishwasher friendly. Great for pre-cooked meals.
6 cup glass storage containers - great for buffet style prepping.
2 ounce cups - great for portioning out sale dressing, nut butters, fruit, snacks, etc.
Four CRUCIAL tips for beginners:
Keep it simple - use similar ingredients in all of your meals. Focus on them so you don't become overwhelmed.
Schedule it - block off some time on your calendar during the week. Make it difficult make excuses.
Use simple recipes - use recipes you already know, and that you like to eat. Make it tasty!
Have fun doing it! - I always crank up the music in the kitchen and have a dance party while prepping. Make some coffee and enjoy your time in the kitchen.