Let’s start with the basics. What is Meal Prep? Don’t worry, it’s not prepping for an upcoming world apocalypse. Different sort of preppers! Let me explain. There is a growing number of people out there that prepare their meals, for the whole week ahead. This could be due to time constraints, having to eat a very specific diet due to health or because they are trying to lose weight.
Whatever their reasons, on a Sunday, they will gather everything they need together. Cook a big batch of food. And portion it out into containers or bento boxes for the week. Personally, I would go with bento boxes as they give you more combination choices.
Now some people do all their meals this way. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Others use a combination or do just one meal. The thing is, you have to do what works for you.
Benefits of Meal Prep
The first benefit is a bit of a no brainer. Being able to buy your ingredients in bulk will translate to a cost saving. Meat on sale? Bulk buy it! Giant container of beans, grab it! It also reduces the chances of you impulse buying food, because you know you already have meals at home. So if you are on a tight budget, this could be a really attractive option for you.
Time. Yep, time. Rather than spending an hour a day at the stove, cooking and then having to clean up everything you used to prepare your meal, you do it all on in one day. Freeing up more time during the week for you to work out, read a book, catch up on work. You get the drift.
Meal prepping helps you to stick to your goals. It might be that you are trying to lose weight. Or you could be trying to bulk up with a high protein diet. Whatever your goals, meal prep can help. Because you already know exactly what you are going to eat during the week. Which, if you use an app like MyFitnessPal to track your calories, you know down to your protein, carbs and fat macro split. Now all you need to do is stick to your goals and eat the food you prepared.
All of the above leads to the last benefit. Meal prepping reduces stress. You already know what you’re going to eat this week. The calories are logged. The money is already spent. Now you can spend the week focussing on the important parts of your life.
How Do I Meal Prep?
Let’s first address the concern most people have when talking about meal prepping. Time. Yes, you will have to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday getting all this ready. But the thing is, we are all busy. It falls upon you to allocate your time as you see fit. This is maybe a couple of hours, once a week. And from that you gain time during the week ahead.
So let’s dive into the method.
First off, you need to find recipes. We all need a little inspiration, so here you go:
First off, head on over to Reddit and check out MealPrepSunday. Seriously, this will give you about a bajillion ideas to implement. And you can talk to the people who made the recipes, find out how they did it, any problems they had. It’s a really friendly community and a great way to get into meal prepping. And because there are over 200,000 people subscribed there, something new is always just around the corner.
Next we have a brilliant website: Budget Bytes. Here you will find some amazing recipes that can easily be bulk cooked and used throughout the week. The recipes are clear, well labelled and give you a complete walk-through.
Lastly, here are some great Youtuber’s for meal prepping.
First we have Mind Over Munch, run by the lovely Alyssia Sheikh.
And next we have Fit Couple Cooks. These two have great ideas. They are a little on the nose for my taste, the quintessential Youtubers but if you can ignore that, the food is great.
So you have your recipe, bought all the ingredients and it’s Sunday. You’re raring to go.
Get everything you need together for the meals you are going to make. Make sure you have mixed seasonings, measured oils, weighed butter etc and that everything is cut and ready to cook.
We do this because cooking in a batch can be difficult, so we need to make it as easy as possible, especially for the first time you try it! Before you start, I would suggest you use MyFitnessPal to divide everything into equal portions and work out your caloric intake, but this step is not essential.
Cook everything off and portion it all out into your chosen containers. You should end up with something like the picture below.
Don’t put the lids on until everything is cooled. Once everything is ready to be stored, put everything into the fridge. Some people like to freeze anything they won’t be eating over the next 3 days. But I find this unnecessary. As long as you don’t go over 5 days, everything should be fine. Obviously though, use your own judgement here.
And your done! Congratulations! The week ahead is your own. Let me know how you got on in the comments and if you enjoyed this article, don’t forget to share it!