Here’s my tips to help with your meal prep in 4 simple steps.
Step 1: Check your calendar
How many breakfasts, lunches, and dinners will you need for the upcoming week? Start by figuring out what meals you’ll need to prep for , Knowing exactly when you’ll need meals and when you won’t helps you plan more efficiently and avoid wasting food.
Step 2: Make a menu
Once you know how many meals you’ll need for the week, it’s time to decide what to eat. Here’s what you should keep in mind:
Make your meals nutritionally balanced: Aim for 30 to 40 grams of protein, 15 to 20 grams of fat, and 50 to 60 grams of carbs per meal.
The protein should come primarily from lean options like chicken, turkey, fish, lean beef, eggs, or Greek yogurt. For fat, think good sources like olive oil, canola oil, avocado, and nuts. And try to keep your carbs complex instead of refined. Brown rice, quinoa, vegetables, and whole wheat bread, pasta or sweet potato all work.
Get creative: Prepping a couple of ingredients in bulk is easier than cooking different ones for every night of the week. But eating the same stuff over and over is boring, so think about how you can utilise core ingredients in different ways. For instance, you can cut beef sirloin into cubes to make beef stew, slice it into thin strips for stir-fries or fajitas, or grill it like steak.
Take advantage of leftovers: There’s no rule that says you have to eat something different every day. One easy way to cut down on meal prep is by doubling your dinner recipe and bringing half for lunch the next day.
Keep it simple: You don’t have to cook like you’re on Top Chef. The less complicated your meals are, the easier it’ll be to prep them.
Step 3: Go food shopping
With your meals lined up, it’s time to make a list and head to the shops. Aim to do your big weekly shop on Saturday or early Sunday, so you have time to prep your ingredients before the work week begins. To get in and out as fast as possible, organise your grocery list by section (produce, meat, dairy, etc.). That way, you’re less likely to forget stuff or have to waste time backtracking.
Step 4: Prep and pack your food
It’s worth blocking out time on the weekend to get your ingredients ready, Once the week starts, there’s a greater chance that the prep just won’t happen, Here’s how to do it efficiently.
Prep your ingredients: No matter what’s on the menu, you can always find a way to prep it ahead of time.
Proteins: Steam or roast vegetables in a big batch, bake potatoes or sweet potatoes, and wash and chop raw fruits and vegetables for salads and snacking.
Grains: Simmer a big batch of rice that’ll feed you all week long.
Other components: Make sauces, dressings, or dips, and any other items on your list.
Assemble what you can: Toss hearty grain or bean salads, layer a casserole so you can pop it straight in the oven, and put solid ingredients for individual smoothies in zip-top bags so you can quickly throw them in the blender.
Store smart: Pack food in clear glass or plastic containers so you can access them easily and know exactly how much you have. (Refrigerate cooked ingredients you’ll use within 2 to 3 days; freeze the rest and thaw them later in the week.) Divide single servings of finished dishes into individual containers for easy portion control.
Pack up to-go meals: Things like wraps, sandwiches, and leafy salads can get soggy if they sit in the fridge all week. If you’re having those things for lunch, assemble them the night before.