- Susannah Money-Schenk
Do you even Meal Prep?!
Meal prep can seem like a lot of effort but is it really that hard? It doesn't have to take all Sunday and it doesn't have to be boring either!
So, what are the benefits? Where do you start? What foods are easy to prep?
The Benefits of Food Prep
Prepping our food as a multitude of benefits for our diets, lifestyles and stress levels!
It will save time - no more getting home late and having to cook food from scratch. No more rushing out on your lunch break to make it to the local cafe or shop to buy something. Imagine extra time in the evenings and a child out relaxing lunch hour?!
Save Money - Its no secret that grabbing food on the go is more expensive than preparing food at home. Take pre boiled eggs for example. Buy two at a petrol station and it may cost for £3. Thats more than the average box of 12! You can boil eggs at home and all you have to do when out is peel them! Same for carrot sticks and humous. You can probably buy a tub of humus and a bag of carrots for the same price as a pre packaged carrot and humus pack - well you could atlas get the carrots...!
It prevents food waste - by planning ahead the meals you are going to make you can cut down the waste left to fester in your fridge. No more mouldy broccoli in the veg drawer or chicken thats chucked as its out of date. This not only saves hate but will add to saving you money!
It keeps you using fresh food - Instead of reaching for ready meals or bog standard pasta and sauce you could be reaching for nutritious meals made by you with fresh, nutritious ingredients.
It can make meal times more exciting - as you get better at meal prep you can start to explore different recipes. You can also start to prep more than one dish so you have more variety.
It helps with portion control - when planning what meals you are going to prepare take note of how many each recipe should feed. This will lead you to understanding how much you should be eating instead of guessing and likely overeating.
It will help you stick to your chosen diet plan - the key is in the preparation. Knowing what you should or shouldn't be eating you can prep you meals to fit the criteria for you. Whether its to lose weight or gain weight by prepping our meals it can help us achieve our goals
Grocery shopping becomes easier - again the key to this is in the planning. No more wandering the aisles aimlessly grabbing things you fancy. You will have a plan and a list to keep you on the straight and narrow and again saving you money.
It will make gaining will power easier - There is something very rewarding about sticking to your meal prep plan. Seeing less waste, more results and having more time to do things you love will help to keep you on the straight and narrow!
It will reduce stress - Yep! All the above will contribute towards an easier life. An edit all starts with an afternoon of cooking! Not even an afternoon - it may only take a few hours!
Where to start!
Start with one meal, 2-3 days and recipes that you know
Pick the meal that you want to food prep for
Determine how many days you want to prep for
Take into account obstacles such as work lunches or early starts
Think of a recipe that you know and food you love
Ready your containers! Glass storage containers are best but BPA free plastic tupperware is fine. Mason jars are a popular choice for salads and breakfasts such as over night oats.
Clear your freezer - batch cooing meals that can be frozen gives you back ups for when fresh food is just not happening!
Decide which day you are going to shop. I usually shop at a weekend so I can prep on a Sunday afternoon for the rest of the week
Decide which meals you are going to make. Aim for simple meals that only involve one pot or at the most two stove tops and the oven.
Shop with a list and stick to it!
Boiled Eggs - cook a load up and keep in the fridge
Overnight oats - mix oats with milk, fruit, protein powder (optional), almond butter and honey. Stick in the fridge and enjoy in the morning!
Parfaits to go - layer yoghurt and fruit in a kilner jar. Add oats if you want more carbs or honey to taste!
Smoothie packs - chuck frozen fruit into sandwich bags. Whack into a blender in the morning and chuck in a flask to go and enjoy at your leisure!
Kilner jar pasta salads - layer pasta, veg, salad in a jar and refrigerate. Add dressing as you are about to eat, shake up and enjoy!
Chicken, rice and veg - for the super health literally cook up a pack of chicken breasts, a broccoli and some rice. Divide into containers and enjoy hot or cold - just remember to heat it thoroughly!
Soup - chuck it in a microwavable dish and enjoy at your desk! Or pop in the microwave at home and pop in a thermos!
Mince dishes - chilli or bolgonaise are super easy to make in bulk. Also super easy to disguise veggies in! All you need to do is cook up some rice, pasta or a jacket spud!
Chicken and veg boxes work well for dinner too
As do soups!
I cook large chicken tray bakes - super easy, just chicken and whatever veg is in the fridge (tomatoes, fennel, peppers, asparagus, mushrooms) in a baking dish drizzled in oil in the over for 30 mins at 180 degrees. I package up the left over and add a chicken breast and some of the veg to a bowl of spinach. Add dressing, toss and serve for a super yummy salad full of flavour!
So all you need now is a nice new shiny note pad! Start writing down which meals you love, which means you can cook in bulk, which days you can prep for and a shopping list!
If you want to start small just start with planning your 10 a day. Plan which fruit and veg you will eat each day so you reach your goal of 10 servings!