5 Meal Prep Hacks You Can Use This Week
Preparing your meals ahead of time is a great way to save time and money while also eating healthy. But most people get frustrated by the process and eventually give up. If you want meal prepping to become something you do – not just a fad – there are some things you need to do.
Try These Meal Prep Hacks
Food is something we all need to survive. But while you like eating, you probably aren’t crazy about all of the work that sometimes goes into preparing or finding food.
Meal prepping might sound like something an overzealous mom does, but it actually yields numerous benefits. With meal prepping, you can save money, lose weight, reduce waste, save time, improve health, and give your body the nutrition it needs. It’s something worth aspiring towards – and something you can make happen!
Here are a few helpful hacks to make meal prepping less intimidating and more practical in your life:
- Make a Detailed Shopping List
Successful meal prepping starts by developing a detailed shopping list of every ingredient you’ll need. This allows you to return home and cook without having to make a bunch of runs back and forth to the store.
- Prepare Meals in Bulk
Trying to meal prep every morning or every night isn’t going to work. It’s much more efficient to carve out three or four hours on a Sunday afternoon to make all of your meals for the week (or at least get most of the prep done). Cooking in bulk is easier, cheaper, and faster. (You only bring out the supplies once, wash dishes once, etc.)
- Be Smart With Portions
When it comes to dividing the food you’ve prepared into individual meals for the week, make sure you’re smart with portions. Not only do you want to avoid putting in too much food (leads to waste), but you also need to portion out different foods for proper nutritional balance.
As a general rule of thumb, you want roughly one-quarter of your container to be filled with protein, one-quarter with starchy veggies or whole grains, and the final half with non-starchy veggies (like salad greens).
“You can also use your hand as a reference,” Fresh n’ Lean suggests. “If using meat, fish or poultry for protein, a good portion would be around the size of your palm. For grains or starchy vegetables, aim for a portion the size of your fist. Non-starchy vegetables and leafy greens tend to be packed with vitamins and minerals but low in total calories. Feel free to fill the rest of your container with as much as you’d like.”
- Invest in Good Containers
Speaking of containers, you need to invest in some good food storage solutions. The right ones will make all the difference in your approach, but it can be hard to zero in on “the best” product.
“With literally thousands on the market, choosing which containers to buy can be overwhelming,” Christopher Snow writes for USAToday. “Glass is heavier and more expensive, but you can cook with it. Plastic is lighter and stacks more efficiently, but can’t go in an oven and sometimes adds an odd taste to food. Where’s a buyer to begin?”
The best thing you can do is read online reviews, buy a few different kinds, and see what you like. Buy more of the ones you like and develop a system for cleaning, storing, and using.
- Buy Versatile Ingredients
Meal prepping in bulk is all about efficiency. Instead of buying obscure ingredients that you can only use on a single dish, make a habit out of purchasing versatile foods that can be used in a variety of ways. Some of the most versatile foods/ingredients to have on hand include eggs, rice, bananas, beans, garlic, onions, rolled oats, frozen vegetables, peanut butter, and all-purpose flour.
Get Ready to Meal Prep
Meal prepping can be fun, fulfilling, and rewarding if you let it. But to get the most out of meal prepping, you have to come up with a specific plan and strategic approach.
Hopefully this article has given you some ideas to mull over and implement in your own efforts. Good luck!