A while ago I wrote a post over meal prepping and why I wanted to give it a try. Meal prep can feel very daunting when you first start, and even though jumping in with both feet can be quite messy, it was the best way for me to learn how it works and to find my rhythm. To begin with, I started by setting time aside on either Saturday or Sunday to lay out the meals I wanted to make for the week, get my groceries and finally prep my meals. It takes a couple of hours, but for my busy schedule, it works. I love having my food all ready to go for the following day, instead of having to spend time at night making sure I have my breakfast, lunch and snacks for school.
What I want to do today is share some tips that might help you with your own meal prepping. These are things I have learned from plenty of trial and error and I hope they can help you too!
Tip #1 Decide what recipes you want to cook.
I try to make one or two recipes for each meal to keep things interesting. I learned that having the same thing every single day can get old pretty fast! Since I live at home, I prep less dinner recipes because I like to eat with my family when possible. Something I love about meal prepping is that it also gives you the chance to try new recipes and to break out of your comfort zone. I love using Pinterest for inspiration or looking through my Tone It Up Nutrition Plans for recipes I have wanted to try!
Tip # 2 Grocery List
This is probably the most important part of meal prepping- knowing what to buy! I hate buying all my ingredients at the store, going all the way home, getting ready to start cooking and then realizing I forgot a key ingredient for one of my recipes. In order to avoid that, I look at all the ingredients in every recipe I am going to make and write them down (along with how much if the ingredient is really specific) if I know I don’t have them on hand. This reduces the chance of buying unneeded items and will also help cut the cost of your grocery bill as you plan strategically!
*Bonus Tip: don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry! Trust me… You’ll come home with Cookie Butter, Oreos and Chips…*
Tip #3 Plan Your Time
You don’t want to spend an hour prepping some of your meals to then get to a recipe that needs to bake for an hour. That is a waste of your time and will drag your meal prepping time on and on. Instead, lay all of your recipes out and decide which ones can bake/simmer/cool while you work on others. If you decide to include a Crock Pot recipe or some breakfast bars that need to bake for a while in your meal prep, work on those recipes first before moving on to your less time-consuming ones. It will make it a much more enjoyable experience. Just make sure you don’t forget your food in the oven or on the stove! Last week I accidentally burned some quinoa because I got distracted and forgot it was still simmering!
Tip # 4 Storage!
To make things easier for me, I go ahead and put my meals in their respective containers. It cuts down on time in the long run and well… the organization freak in me is very happy when it’s all lined up and ready to go!
Tip #5 Enjoy your food :)
You just spent part of your day preparing all this food and now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Rest, relax and have a good week as you get ready to kick it into high gear for your next round of meal prep! You’ll find your groove after a few tries and soon it will become second nature.
Good luck on your meal prepping!!