Whether you are busy parent, student, or worker bee, the task of cooking your meals may seem impossible because it may seem like there is just not enough minutes in a day, right? However, you still must eat. So what are the alternatives you opt for? Is it fast food, junk food, or barely eat at all?
We ask these questions because the alternatives pale in comparison to understanding how prepping your meals in advance can save you time, money, and quite possibly your well-being.
How to Meal Prep
What is meal prep anyway? You may have heard of the phrase ‘If It Fits In Your Macros’ (IIFIYM)? Meal prepping is the phenomenon of decreasing time in the kitchen and increasing the probability of achieving a healthy balanced diet.
All meal prep begins and ends with choosing the right meal prep containers. Keep in mind you will be storing, stacking, freezing, and reheating your food; so choosing meal prep containers that are BPA free, microwave and freezer friendly is important.
Also, choosing same size meal prep containers to allow for stacking is essential. Tetris was cool to play as a child, but not cool to play in your fridge. We recommend MacroStacks™ meal prep containers.
Plan & Prep
Before you can prep, you have to plan. If Benjamin Franklin were alive today, he most likely would be the meal prep king by coining the phrase, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” The key to meal prep is keeping it manageable.
Do not overwhelm yourself by trying to meal prep an entire week in the beginning. Instead, start with prepping for one or two days in advance to get the hang of it.
Arguably the next most important task after choosing the right meal prep containers is writing down your meal plan. We have several great recipes and meal plan ideas to get you started.
Begin with breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. Then break each meal down to ingredients. Keep in mind these foods will be stored in your fridge or freezer for a few days. Expect some trial and error in the beginning stages.
As you work out the kinks, incrementally increase the amount of days you prep for.
Different strokes for different folks. There are infinite possibilities to prep your food. The best practice is tailoring your macronutrients to your fit your lifestyle. You might have the mentality of ‘food is just fuel’ and do not really emphasize taste.
Or you may be like most individuals who prefer eating healthy foods that tastes amazing. First thing is first, and that is figuring out what your ‘macro’ numbers are. To find out use our Macro Intake Calculator. Once you figure out your macros then you can start to figure out what your meal plan will be.
Time & Cooking
Meal prep does not need to take an entire day. With a clear plan written down and having the proper tools (meal prep containers) you can spend a few hours or less on meal prep. For example, spend a couple of hours on a Sunday to prep your meals for the upcoming few days; then a couple of hours on Thursday to cover the rest of the week.
Remember the idea of meal prep is to help decrease time in the kitchen, and improve your diet. Marinate chicken, or make turkey burgers and freeze them for when ready.
Make large batches of sauces, vegetables, fruits, nuts, rice, quinoa, pastas, and stack them in your fridge or freeze them for future use.
Work smarter and not harder is the point.
Proper meal prep begins with proper meal prep containers. They do not need to be fancy or expensive to get the results you want. We offer a variety of options to get you on your way to a healthier you.
See our other posts for meal prep recipe ideas under $5.