Eating nutritious meals isn’t easy if you lead a hectic life. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
Cooking and storing your dishes days in advance ensures that you maintain a healthy diet. Rather than eating out for every meal, you have pre-portioned and delicious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners to keep you on track. If you’re looking into how to meal prep, we’ve got some delicious recipes and handy tips to get you started.
A Bit About Meal Prep
Perhaps you've hear of meal prep before or even thought about giving it a shot. Either way, it's helpful to know what it's all about. We've broken down exactly what you need to know before getting started.
What is a Meal Prep?
Before we talk about how to meal prep, let’s discuss what a meal prep is. It might seem like a time-consuming process, but when conducted properly, it helps to free up time in your week. It essentially is when you cook your meals for the next few days in advance and simply microwave/eat them cold when you’re hungry.
Typically, people pick simple meals so the process is easier and prevents you from feeling overwhelmed. This also means you eat similar meals each day. However, by scheduling into a calendar what you’ll eat, it makes it difficult to make excuses for unhealthy habits.
It’s best to use recipes you’re familiar with and enjoy the taste of, rather than attempting a new recipe. The actual meal prep process doesn’t have to be grueling, as you can play music, and pour yourself a drink to make it an entertaining time.
How Does Meal Preparation Help You?
Meal preparation helps you to maintain a well-balanced, healthy diet. The main reason people switch to this way of eating is to increase their fruit and vegetable intake without spending hours in the kitchen each day. By having your meals planned out and cooked for you, you’re more likely to stick to your new-found healthy diet. Also, by preparing your meals days in advance, you free up much time each day to spend with your family. It also limits the amount of energy you use for your oven each day, by only switching it on a couple of times a week.
What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial
You’ll need to purchase meal prep containers before you learn how to meal prep. We’ve searched the Internet for a handful of the best products which are safe, versatile and environmentally-friendly.
1. Meal Prep Containers
This pack of 20 meal prep containers are made from BPA-free plastic to keep your food clean and uncontaminated. They’re designed with quality and safety in mind. For hassle-free use, use in dishwashers, refrigerators or microwaves. These containers come with a unique non-slip feature. This means you can carry them everywhere without worrying the lid will slip off. They’re also the perfect size to allow the daily recommendation portion of protein, dietary fiber and vitamins.
2. Glass Meal Prep Containers
These glass meal prep containers ensure a beautiful presentation of your food which makes them a great choice for public lunches. Featuring a two-step edge seal system, these portion-control containers are leak-proof and watertight. The finished and quality of these containers are different to competitor designs. This is because they’re dishwasher safe, odorless, and FDA and LFGB approved.
3. Three-Compartment Meal Prep Containers
These meal prep containers are stackable, which is practical to save time when you’re looking for space in the fridge or taking them out with you. Dividing your lunch into three compartments helps you achieve your diet and weight management goals. The convenient food-save box can help you lead a healthy life by enjoying your own creations.
How To Meal Prep Like a Pro
If you’re a beginner, we’ve created some simple tips on how to meal prep like a pro. Most of us are so busy with other aspects of our lives, that we grab any lunch to provide us with energy for the rest of the day. However, this new way of life will completely transform your mind, body and soul.
1. Invest in High-Quality Tupperware
Keep in mind that you’ll be storing your food for a few days, so it’s worth investing in high-quality Tupperware, such as the above products. If you’re considering reheating your food in these, it’s best to choose ones which are BPA-free. Also, you don’t want them to fall apart in the oven, and last a long time. It’s a good idea to purchase containers which are the same size to make them easier to stack.
2. Decide on Healthy Meal Prep Recipes
Some people don’t know how to meal prep because they don’t plan their recipes in advance. This isn’t a process you can wing off the top of your head. It’s best to opt for similar meals each day to prevent making the process more confusing. This also saves money and a considerable amount of preparation time.
You can begin the process before the day of your meal prep. For example, marinate chicken breasts and place in the freezer so they’re ready for the next day. You can also save time by stocking up on frozen vegetables which are already diced and just need cooking.
Take a look at these two easy-to-follow meal prep recipes:
Chicken Shawarma and Sweet Potato Fries
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size chunks
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt and pepper
- juice of 2 lemons
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 sweet potatoes, cut into matchsticks
- 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
- 4 cups cooked couscous or quinoa
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives and oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, oil drained
- crumbled goat cheese, shredded lettuce, avocado, sliced cucumbers, pickled red onions, pine nuts, lemons, mint, and or cilantro, for serving
- Combine the chicken, honey, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, lemon juice, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add to a zip bag, seal and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Add the sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet. Toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven for 20 minutes, then flip, and continue baking for 20 minutes.
- Place the marinated chicken on a large baking sheet and add to the oven until the chicken is cooked.
- Divide the couscous amongst around 6 storage containers. Arrange the chicken, sweet potato, asparagus, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes on top
Greek Couscous Salad
- 2 packages of couscous mix – roasted garlic and olive oil flavour
- 1 cucumber, chopped
- 3 bell peppers, chopped
- ½ red onion, diced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup Italian parsley
- 2 cans chickpeas
- Feta cheese
- 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
- Prepare the couscous mixture and add in the seasoning mix. Prepare the vegetables whilst waiting for this.
- Drain and rinse the chickpeas.
- Add the dressing ingredients to a mason jar. Seal and shake until everything is combined.
- Add the couscous to a large bowl and leave to cool. Add in the vegetables and chickpeas. Sprinkle with feta cheese and squeeze lemon juice over the top.
3. Plan Your Meals in Advance
Most people fall off track when learning how to meal prep because they don’t prepare for the following days. Instead, they wait until their food has gone to think about starting the process again. However, always think a few days ahead so you don’t find yourself in this situation. Consequently, it’s easy to order a takeout because you’ve not been grocery shopping. Know when you’re free so you don’t encounter excuses such as being too busy. We also recommend making it a fun experience by playing music and pouring yourself a drink. It needn’t be a grueling task.
Do You Have Any Tips on How to Meal Prep?
Now you’re ready and know how to meal prep, what are you waiting for? This new way of living will help you to live a happier, fuller life. Only do what makes you feel comfortable to begin with, because you can always introduce new flavours further on.
Do you have any tips on how to meal prep? If so, share your suggestions in the comments.
Related Article: Best Meal Planning Services For Healthy and Tasty Dishes