Meal prep can be a great way to save time and money, and it's also a fantastic way for busy people to make sure they're eating healthy, nutritious meals.
Why do people meal prep? There are many reasons to meal prep, but the most common one is to save time. Meal prepping allows you to cook all of your meals for the week in one day, which means you don't have to cook every day. Meal prepping also saves you money because you can buy ingredients in bulk and make multiple meals out of them.
If you're new to meal prepping, it can feel a little overwhelming. But with the right tips and tricks, it can be easy and even fun! Here are four meal prep tips to set you up for success.
What is Meal Prep?
Meal prepping is the process of preparing meals in advance. This can be done for a few meals or for an entire week's worth of meals. Meal prep typically involves cooking food in bulk, then storing it in containers so that it can be easily reheated and eaten throughout the week.
The benefits of meal prepping include saving time, money, and effort. When meals are pre-made, there is no need to spend time cooking each day. This can be a huge time saver, especially on busy weeknights. Meal prepping can also help to save money, as it allows you to buy ingredients in bulk and make use of leftovers. Finally, meal prepping can help to make eating healthy easier, as it takes the guesswork out of what to cook each day.
Delicious and healthy meals can be created with just a little bit of planning. By taking the time to meal prep each week, you can make healthy eating easier and less expensive. The process of meal prepping can also help you to save time in the kitchen and enjoy more family time or leisure time each week.
The key to successful meal prepping is to use foods that you and/or your family will enjoy and that you regularly have on hand.
Why Do People Meal Prep?
Some people may meal prep initially because they want to lose weight and have healthier options readily available. But there is a multitude of reasons why people choose to meal prep.
Saves Time: Meal prepping can save you a lot of time during the week. If you cook all your meals on Sunday, you will only have to worry about cooking once a week as opposed to every day.
Saves Money: Meal prepping can also save you money. Planning ahead and cooking in bulk can help you avoid those expensive convenience foods and restaurants.
Better Portion Control: Eating meal prep helps you have better control over your portions. This can be helpful if you are trying to lose weight or eat healthier.
Healthier Options: When you meal prep, you can choose healthy ingredients that you might not normally have time to cook with. This way, you can make sure you are getting the nutrients you need.
Support Weight Loss Efforts: Consistency is the key to weight loss. You need to be making healthier choices and stay in a slight calorie deficit consistently in order to lose weight. Meal prep can ensure that you are doing this.
Taste: Some people find that they enjoy home-cooked meals more than they enjoy processed foods. Meal prepping allows you to have more control over the taste of your food.
Whatever your reason is, meal prepping can be a great way to save time and money while eating healthier.
Who May Benefit from Healthy Meal Prep?
If you have a full-time job, a family, or a busy lifestyle, healthy meal prep can be a great way to save time and money while prioritizing your nutrition.
Meal prepping is also a proven strategy to support weight loss efforts (1). Meal planning ahead and cooking in bulk can help you avoid those expensive convenience foods and restaurants.
4 Meal Prep Tips For Success
If you're going to make meal prep a regular habit, there are a few things you should keep in mind to make sure it's successful.
1. Keep Meals Simple
When you've never meal prepped before, it can be tempting to try and make a bunch of complicated recipes all at once. But this is a recipe for disaster (literally).
It's better to start simple and work your way up. Stick to a few basic recipes that you know you'll enjoy eating and that can be easily prepped in advance.
As you get more comfortable with meal prep, you can start to experiment with more complicated recipes.
Consider re-making some of your favorite quick and easy meals, like pasta with sauce or a stir-fry. These meals can often be prepped in advance with just a little bit of extra effort.
You also don't need fancy meal prep containers. If it makes you feel better or motivates you, then go for it but again, keeping it simple and not overcomplicating it is going to set you up for success.
2. Cook Meals You Enjoy Eating
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's worth mentioning because it's so important. The whole point of meal prep is to make your life easier by having food already prepared that you can just grab and go. But if you're not actually enjoying the food you're eating, then what's the point?
Make sure to cook things that you actually want to eat. This will make meal prep a lot more enjoyable and motivating, and it will make it more likely that you'll actually stick to it in the long run.
So avoid bland recipes (unless you're into that), and instead focus on simple recipes that are flavorful and satisfying.
3. Split it Up (Don't Cook Food All at Once)
Meal prep doesn't have to be an all-day affair. In fact, it's often better to split it up into smaller chunks on different days, so you're not spending hours in the kitchen all at once.
Instead of spending your full Sunday in the kitchen cooking for the week, try splitting your meal preps into two or three smaller sessions on different days throughout the week.
The process of meal planning can be as simple as doubling or tripling the recipes you're making for dinner so you have leftovers, aka meal prep for the next few days.
This will make the process a lot less daunting, and it will also help you to avoid getting burnt out. So if you're struggling to find the time to meal prep, try breaking it up into smaller chunks and doing a little bit each day.
4. Leave Behind The All-Or-Nothing Mentality
One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to meal prep is getting too caught up in the details. You don't need to have everything perfect or elaborate recipes in order for it to be healthy.
If you're short on time, don't stress about cooking a bunch of different recipes. Just focus on prepping a few healthy items that you can mix and match throughout the week.
And if you don't have all the ingredients for a recipe, don't be afraid to improvise. The goal is to make meal prep work for you, not the other way around.
Don't worry if you've missed a few days or even a few weeks. You can always get back into it. The most important thing is to not get too discouraged and to keep trying.
Meal Prep Ideas
People are always asking for meal-prep ideas or recipes but the easiest way to get started with meal-prepping is to make recipes you already routinely make.
This will help reduce the stress associated with trying something new, and you won't have to overhaul your grocery shopping and cooking experience.
Most people who cook routinely have 3-4 staple recipes that they make on a regular basis. If you don't already have these, this is key to finding success.
Trying to drill this point home without sounding redundant but do not overcomplicate this. For example, if you regularly make tacos during the week, tacos might not keep super well (tortillas getting soggy and whatnot), but taco bowls or salads will keep well. It's as simple as making extra of your taco fillings to set aside for lunch for the next few days.
Meal Prep Recipes
As mentioned before, it's best to keep it simple when first starting meal prep, but if you get bored or need some inspiration, here are some meal prep recipes that you can try.
Whenever trying out a new recipe, remember that you can make substitutions based on your preferences or what you have on hand.
If Meal Prep is Too Time Consuming...
If meal prep is becoming too time-consuming, consider trying a delicious meal prep service like Trifecta.
Chefs and dietitians will do all the hard work (planning recipes and prepping) for you, so you can focus on more important things.
Meals are portioned perfectly, and healthy meal plans are available for plant-based, gluten-free, and even low-sodium diets. All while being delicious and ready to eat in 2 minutes or less.
So if you're finding that meal prepping is taking up too much of your time and energy, give Trifecta a try! Your life will be a lot easier without sacrificing taste or nutrition.