5 Best Tips for Preparing Your Meals Ahead of Time and the Tools You Need to succeed
Tips for Prepping Your Meals Ahead of Time
Meal prep and planning is a great way to have meals ready ahead of time, know exactly what you are eating each day of the week, and prepare for the busy days when you might not have time to go to the store or cook something from scratch after work.
Without a meal plan, it is easy to make a quick stop at a drive-thru or order in food because nothing in the house is defrosted. A little planning will help you avoid this and lead a healthier lifestyle.
When making a meal plan, I suggest starting with one or two weeks at a time instead of longer periods. But here are a few tips for Planning Your Meals A Month Ahead if you prefer.
Prepping is the most vital part of meal planning. It ensures you have everything in place in your fridge and all that is left to do is warm up the food when it’s time to eat.
Here are a few tips to help you get started…
1. KEEP IT SIMPLE
This can be done by picking one or two meals to eat throughout the week. This makes prepping easier and makes you feel less stressed for the week.
For example, you decide you want to eat steak fajitas and salads for lunch this week. Prep one or two steaks and slice them into strips so you have enough for a couple of meals throughout the week and maybe a little extra to add to your salads if you like.
Your lunch meal plan for the week might look something like this:
MONDAY: Steak fajitas with peppers and onions
TUESDAY: Steak salad
WEDNESDAY: Steak fajitas with peppers and onions
THURSDAY: Steak salad
2. PRE-COOK YOUR MEALS
Pre-cooking saves you a lot of time during the week because you will only have to warm the food when it is time to eat. For instance, cook a huge batch of rice or quinoa and store it in the fridge in portions.
Additionally, you can pre-cut all your vegetables and store them in airtight bags or containers for cooking. It is much easier to make one huge mess in the kitchen instead of several messes throughout the week.
3. PREPARE HEALTHY SNACKS FOR THE WEEK
Always have your healthy snacks prepared for the week. This ensures you have something healthy to munch on in between meals or in the morning as you rush to work or school.
It’s a good idea to prepare snacks that are grab-and-go, such as fresh fruit, cut vegetables with hummus, or nuts and seeds. You could also keep some single-serving containers of yogurt in the fridge for those mornings when you need an energy boost.
4. USE THE BEST APPLIANCES
While none of these are required, these handy tools and appliances really make the meal prep and planning process go much smoother.
If you plan to do a lot of chopping and dicing to prep your meals, particularly with lots of veggies, you need a food processor! This is going to save you so much time. The little extra time and energy it requires to wash this is nothing compared to dicing piles of veggies. Throw them in, turn it on, and voila!
You are probably no stranger to using a blender, but it has many uses aside from just making smoothies and margaritas. Some foods can also be cut up with a blender if you don’t have a food processor, or you need another appliance to run at the same time if you have some help in the kitchen on meal prep day. Think about what it can chop up for your smoothies, and it gives you a good idea of what this thing can do for other meal prep purposes.
Get one or both, and you will have some help in the kitchen for meal prep. They each work in different ways, and for different purposes. The pressure cooker uses water and air to cook foods, while the air fryer works by circulating air, often helped by putting a very small amount of oil on the food.
Both of them work great and cost about the same. But here are some tips for choosing the one that’s best for you:
Use the air fryer for healthier fried foods, like fries and potatoes, “fried” chicken or nuggets, and any type of rolled-up food like taquitos.
Use the pressure cooker for chicken breasts and other meat, hardboiled eggs, and veggies.
Slow cookers are still used frequently, and really help a lot when you are meal prepping. If you want to cook meals ahead of time, you can throw the ingredients in a slow cooker, turn it on, and let it cook while you prep other meals.
You can also prep all of the ingredients ahead of time, then just toss them into the crockpot in the morning that way dinner will be ready when you get home from work.
5. USE THE BEST MEAL PREP CONTAINERS
Choosing your meals is only half of meal planning. The other half is storage. Which containers are perfect for meal planning? That all depends on your needs. Here are a few tips that will help you choose the best container for your meal planning needs.
The first thing to remember, especially with meal containers you are bringing with you to work or other places outside the home, is to choose the highest quality possible. This is going to help them last and keep your food as fresh as possible.
Look for containers that come with airtight, leak-proof lids. These might be glass or plastic containers, depending on your budget and personal preference. Of course, you don’t want it to leak, but being airtight will keep your food fresh, whether it is left out on the counter or on your desk, or you are storing it in the fridge.
Depending on your needs, make sure they are safe for the dishwasher, microwave, and freezer.
There are a lot of benefits to using glass containers. They're easier to clean, their lids are typically snug, and you can microwave them. If you want to make their mealtimes even more convenient, then glass containers are a definite must!
You'll never have to worry about plastic melting in the microwave again or wonder what potential toxic materials are entering your food via the microwave. They can often be healthier for you and last longer but expect to pay a little more if you opt for this choice.
Many people don’t feel comfortable with glass while on the go, but again, it is completely a personal preference.
One of the best tips for using containers to prep and plan your meals is to use those with portions already included. They come in both plastic and glass and contain different compartments, making it easy to separate different parts of your meals and have the bonus of portion control at the same time. Here are some benefits of compartment containers:
Everything is portioned out, which is handy for dieting
It makes it easy to balance your meals in each compartment
You keep your food from mixing together when you don’t want it to
An adequate meal plan will help you prep your meals so you can focus on your health and what goes into your body. Take time to research some fun meals to eat each week and have fun with it!
Before You Go:
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