If you’ve been making more meals than ever before, you’re not alone. Meal prep is an easier way to handle the increased volume of home cooked meals. It takes some preparation and scheduling, but ultimately you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to feed your family with these meal prep tips.
What is Meal Prep?
Meal prep if just that: prepping meals. It means you take the time to prepare what you’re going to eat for the week - whether that means just making a list of meals or batch-cooking food.
There are varying degrees of meal prep and you should pick whatever suits your schedule and style. You can make full meals ahead of time to be refrigerated and reheated, you can make large batches of recipes to be frozen for future use or you can simply prepare the ingredients ahead of time and save the cooking for later.
It’s all about making your week a little bit easier, whatever that means for you.
Why Meal Prep?
Meal prep is a good option regardless of being in the middle of a pandemic or not, because this meal strategy saves money, time and effort. It reduces stress around meals, and it ensures a healthier lifestyle as you’re less likely to choose a less healthy option if you already have a meal ready to go. Right now, it also means less temptation to take out meals.
What are the Steps for Meal Prep?
- Start by creating a document of the week with 2-3 meals per day (some people do not meal prep breakfast). Add an extra row for snacks if you want.
- Dinner is typically the more intricate meal of the day, so start by decided what meals you’re going to have for dinner each day of the week. Typically, you’d take into account any events that replace a homemade dinner.
- Fill in any lunch meals that are assumed to be “leftovers” from the dinner meal the night before. Then, fill in the rest of your lunch meals with what you’d like to eat on those days.
- Fill in breakfast and snacks if you’ve opted to include them.
- Now is the time to figure out if you have enough containers to keep all of your hard work fresh and ready-to-go. If not, time to add them to your shopping list.
- With your schedule of meals, you’ll be able to create a very comprehensive grocery list. Shopping online is a good way to make sure you don’t impulse-purchase foods outside of your meal plan list (and follow social distancing rules).
- Once your groceries have arrived, you’ll be able to prep your meals for the week - whether that means simply preparing and measuring the ingredients or cooking the whole meals. Meal prep is a great time to get the kids involved - and they’ll be more likely to try new dishes if they’ve helped make them.
- Make sure to seal everything properly in your containers and label when each meal was prepped so you can make sure to do a first-in-first-out rotation of food if you have extras.
- Enjoy the fruits of your labour! Simple meals throughout the week.
Tips for Meal Prep:
- Start simple! If this sounds intimidating, start with planning one or two meals a week and see how it goes. You might get hooked!
- Avoid picking only a few recipes for the whole week as the lack of variety will lead to boredom and you’re less likely to stick to it.
- Aim to stick to a schedule with both your grocery shopping (and delivery) and your dedicated time to prepping the meals. You can choose to prep everything at once or several times throughout the week, depending on what fits your style.
- It’s good to add variety like oven dishes, stove top meals, slow cookers, and non-cooked items like sandwiches.
- Purchase appropriate storage containers to make sure your food doesn’t spoil, including freezer-safe and leak-proof airtight containers. It’s worth the investment.
- OXO GreenSaver Produce Keepers
- Foodsaver Vacuum Sealing System
- Reusable Stasher Storage Bags
- Ricardo Airtight Food Containers
- 18-Piece Lock & Lock Container Set
- Large Glass Food Container
There are so many benefits to meal prepping for the week, especially if you have a large family to feed with one or two picky eaters. It will significantly reduce stress and make meal time more enjoyable for everyone - including the chef!
Have some simple recipes you want to share? We want to hear them! Tag us on Instagram about your best meal prep recipe.