In this guest post by Sara Letsch she’ll be sharing her meal prep tips that have helped her succeed week in and week out. Enjoy!
Meal prep: It’s everywhere right now. From fitness enthusiasts to busy families and everywhere in between, people are looking for ways to eat healthier without higher costs and time investments. And this is where meal prepping comes in. Once a week, you set aside time and come away with a week’s worth of delicious food! Sounds great, right?
If you are reading this, you’ve probably tried meal prepping a few times at least. You’ve seen that it can benefit you, but it doesn’t seem to be working as well as you think it should be. Or maybe it is working okay, but you just want to step things up a notch. Either way, I have some great meal prep tips for you that I have learned in over a year of meal prepping every week that will help you streamline things! After all, one of the great things about meal prep is you get to have great food and more time for the things you love, right?!
One of the biggest differences between meal prep and regular cooking is coordination. When you do “regular” cooking, each recipe and set of ingredients that go with it are independent from all the other recipes you are making that week. The fact that 3 recipes you are cooking that week may have overlapping ingredients does not change anything about how you cook. This is one area where meal prep has a huge advantage when it comes to saving time!
Top 5 Meal Prep Tips for Success
When you started meal prepping, you probably made most recipes independently. Start one and finish it, then move on to the next. If you had something that went in the oven, you might have saved some time by starting the next one while that was cooking, but for the most part, you still thought of all the recipes the same way when you made them separately. Changing this mentality can is one major way you can step up your meal prep and really make it work for you – let’s look at some simple yet effective meal prep tips to help you streamline the process!
Look at what ingredients overlap. Have 2 or 3 recipes that all have the same vegetables? Chop all of them at the same time, separating them into containers. This cuts down on time getting ingredients and supplies out of storage. Have two recipes using the same type of noodles? Cook enough for both, then separate. You can even start planning your menu specifically to include recipes with a lot of overlapping ingredients. There are tons of ingredients you can do this with and it will make things so much easier as you start thinking of the recipes and ingredients in this way!
Establishing your staple recipes is another things that can help a lot with your meal prep. These recipes become very familiar over time and you can prep these with ease while working on other dishes. You are also more familiar with how much time they take to make, how long the food will last you and where to place them into your meal prep “order-of-cooking”. This may be a few recipes or almost all of them that you make…that is up to you and your preferences. But having at least a couple of these will make your planning and execution much easier.
Make What You Like
Figuring out what types of recipes you enjoy that also keep well can be a huge help as well. There are certain types of recipes that don’t keep as well fully prepped. A lot of sandwiches, wraps, don’t do well, along with some chopped fruits and foods that collect moisture. If you like those and want to make them, either doing a partial prep (get ingredients ready but don’t actually cook until you are going to eat) or eating those earlier in the week. A lot of foods do well prepped, though some of it will come down to personal preference. Knowing what types of food you like reheated will help a lot with both planning and finding new recipes to try!
Don’t expect that starting meal prep on Sunday morning and getting to the grocery store, preparing the ingredients, cooking, putting it into containers, and storing it will go smoothly. You need to plan ahead and set the day you’ll do your meal prep in advance for it to go as smoothly as possible.
Have the Right Tools
This is one of the most important yet overlooked meal prep tips. Slicing vegetables can be faster with a good knife, a mandelin, or food processor even for the fastest results depending on what you’re making.
Also staying organized with simple yet effective meal prep containers can not only save room in the fridge, but also save you a potential headache when trying to store all of the food you just made! Get a good set of meal prep containers that fit your portion size, and a travel cooler or something similar if you’re transporting a lot of meals at once.
Meal Prep Tips: Wrap Up
Meal prep can revolutionize your life! It can help your health, budget and time, all while allowing you to eat delicious food all the time. It doesn’t have to take all day, and it doesn’t have to feel like such a chore! By spending a few hours in the kitchen on one day you can open up your time the rest of the week to do the things you love! Learning how to really optimize your meal prep can take time and practice, but these tips will help you get there sooner!
How do you meal prep? What steps could you take to make it more streamlined?
About the Author: Sara Letsch is a blogger who strives to inspire others to live happier and healthier lives! She does this based on her own journey from being unhealthy both emotionally and physically to healthier, stronger and happier, both in herself and her life.
In 2015 she launched her website, Nymph In The Woods to do just that. The site is focused on healthy meal prep, fitness, and exploring activities that fulfill you in all ways.
She also is a jewelry artist who combines fused glass and wire wrapping, and has recently launched her shop on Etsy selling her creations. Here’s where you can find Sara:
Thanks for reading! Hopefully these simple yet effective meal prep tips have you crushing your next bulk or cut.