Food prep doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it sounds. It also isn’t strictly reserved for the gym bunnies of the world. Preparing meals ahead of time can simply be to save you time during the week when you are at your busiest and have the least amount of inclination to prepare a hot meal. Here are 5 very simple and very effective ways to master food prep.
- Contain Your Excitement
See what I did there? Jokes aside, it is imperative that you get proper containers to store your food. If you get the rights ones you can even reheat your meals and eat directly out of them. The biggest plus to invest in good quality containers is that they will be BPA free (because no one likes a toxin) and they will last a lifetime. It is also important to get containers of all shapes and sizes to allow you to store a wide variety of portion-sized meals and snacks. If you want, and you should want, you can get in on the mason jar trend. Mason jars are great for storing an assortment of foods like smoothies and soups – they are also dishwasher and microwave safe.
- Decide on Your Recipes in Advance
Figuring out what to cook every night can be a pain in the neck (and other places…), but with meal prep you only need to figure it out once a week! Save, or pin, your favourite recipes by whichever category you would like to draw inspiration from – i.e low-fat, meat-free, plant-based, keto etc. Once you have decided what you would like to cook for the week ahead you can narrow it down to the exact dishes you need to make. Keep your selection simple and try use multi-dish ingredients to save you on cooking time.
- Buy in Bulk
Buy your ingredients in bulk the day before you prep your meals for the following week. If you get your meat and vegetables in bulk amounts you can start preparing the night before, like peeling and blanching etc. This will save you time the next day, when you start the actual cooking process. Meal prep needs to become a habit for it to work properly, it might seem like a lot of effort for one day but once you get into the swing of things you’ll realise how much time it saves you in the long run. As a reward for all your hard work, you can order some fine wine or wagyu gift sets to celebrate a job well done. Everything in moderation, including hard work!
- Spice It Up!
Often when we freeze and reheat meals we lose a lot of the flavour in the process. To avoid your prepped dishes from being bland once you reheat them, be sure to add plenty of spices during the cooking process. It is always wise to not double up on the salt component though, salt can always be added (if necessary) after the fact, once you are sitting down to eat. If the food you eat is bland, especially when you’re on a diet, you will be less likely to continue along your healthy eating path. Spices do freeze well, especially if you can put your freshly prepped meals into a blast chiller first, before moving them into your freezer.
- Become A Multi-Tasking Master
Don’t get hung up only completing one task at a time. Utilize your kitchen fully, the idea is to get the most done in the shortest amount of time possible. Have something in the oven, something in the slow cooker, something on the stove as well as preparing something else on the counter. It might seem impossible to do everything and not burn any of it, but trust me – with enough practice you will be able to do so much more than you originally gave yourself credit for.
Meal prep is a great time-saver, and cost-saver – if you are cooking only what you need for however many portions you are doing, there will be less chance of wasting food or cooking more than you need. Before I started meal prepping I was horrified at how much I would cook for 2 and a quarter people, I have made pastas before that could serve 12! I do my prepping on a Sunday afternoon, for the following 4 days and then my husband cooks dinner on a Friday – easy as pie! Here is one last time-saving tip – you can also prep baby food at that same time as the adult’s food!