Meal prepping is a great way of getting all the food preparation for the week ahead out of the way in one day. You can prep food for every meal so that all you have to do is defrost it and heat it up. Meal prepping helps to make mealtimes less frantic and can save you time and money. If you’ve never tried meal prepping or are new to this method, then read on for nine essential meal prepping tips.
Make a List
Decide on what you want to eat, write out the recipe if you don’t already have one, then make a shopping list. Knowing what you want to eat during the week will make shopping and meal prepping quicker and easier and will reduce waste. When you write your list, look around your kitchen to see if you already have some of the ingredients you need, so you’re not buying things unnecessarily.
Make sure you have plenty of space for the food you’re prepping. Clear out your fridge and freezer before you prepare your food each week to make sure you’re not storing out-of-date food and to make sure your shelves are better organised. You should also make sure you have shelf space in your cupboard for dried food mixes, such as oats and dried fruit for porridge, dried soup mixes, pancake mix, bread mix, and canned goods.
Choose a Day When You’re Not Busy
Do your meal prepping on a day when you’re not busy. This will give you time to concentrate on the food you’re chopping, cooking, and prepping. If you’re biting off more than you can chew, you’ll begin to make mistakes, like forgetting to add an essential ingredient or burning food. If you try to rush meal prepping to get it all done quickly, you won’t enjoy it as much.
Cook in Batches
You don’t have to cook whole meals when you’re meal prepping. You can cook large batches of individual ingredients, such as chicken, broccoli, green beans, squash, and sprouts so they’re ready to be added to other meals. This will allow you to have a wider variety of food during the week. You can even cook large batches of different kinds of rice, such as the Spanish rice from successrice.com/recipes/spanish-rice/.
Take Advantage of Different Cooking Methods
If you’re going to prepare multiple meals at a time, use different cooking methods. If you have something already cooking in the oven, fry or steam something on the hob, or use the broiler. This will speed up the cooking time and enable you to cook much more at once.
Get High-Quality Storage Containers
Get some borosilicate glass containers with airtight lids so your food does not spill or spoil. The storage containers should be microwave-safe, dishwasher-safe, oven-safe, and freezer-safe. You should also consider getting different sized containers, some reusable silicone food bags, and clip-top storage jars. If you buy high quality containers, they will last longer.
Try to individually portion your meals or, if you’re cooking for your family, put the food in an appropriately-sized container. This way, you won’t need defrost and cook a large container of food that you will have to eat every day. With individual portions, you can cook only what you need.
Write the Date on Everything
It’s important that you write down the date you prepped your food and the date it should be consumed by. This will prevent you from eating spoiled food and getting food poisoning. Rather than writing on the container, get some sticky labels that will come off easily when it’s time to wash the containers. Alternatively, if you’re storing food in freezer bags, you can write on the bag.
Decide When You Want to Eat Things
You need to decide on when you want to eat the meals you prepped. If you have prepped multiple meals and have individually portioned them, you can put the meals you plan on consuming in the next few days in the fridge and freeze the rest. Remember that some food will only last a few days in the fridge, whereas food will last up to a few months in the freezer.
Image Credits: Ella Olsson