By: Brittany Berlin
Well, it’s not something that you can find in Webster’s dictionary (yet), but meal prepping is essentially the concept of preparing meals or recipes in batch form so that you save time during the week!
Meal prepping comes in handy when you need to save time in the morning with an already made breakfast or a packed lunch to take with you. Or when it’s dinner time and you honestly can’t stand the notion of cooking a full blown meal at the end of the day.
Don’t worry, we feel you!
Meal prepping is also a great way to have access to healthy and affordable meals because you are the one in charge! That’s right, you get to decide what you’ll eat and you have the power over what goes on it!
Let’s go over a few basics principles and steps to meal prepping, then we’ll share a few of our favorite go-to meal prep recipes!
Keep it simple.
You probably have heard it before, but simple really is best, especially when it comes to meal prepping. You don’t need the fanciest gadgets (more on that in the next section) nor some 5-star restaurant recipe in order to prepare healthy and tasty meals for your week. If this is your first time in the meal prep game, we highly recommend starting small so that you’re not overwhelmed. Maybe roast some veggies on a pan with some good fat and seasonings, or even just dicing up a bunch of raw vegetables and fruit so that you can have an easy snack or save time making lunch and dinner.
Meal prepping does not have to be complicated, nor should it! This should be taking stress away from you, not adding it to your day.
Gather your kitchen essentials.
We recommend keeping a few glass containers on hand, some baking sheets, and casserole dishes, depending on what you’re making. If you’re making a big pot of chilli, make sure that you have the soup container to carry it!
There are also meal-sized containers that you can actually pre-portion food into if you’re really crunched on time during the week and just want something quick and easy that you can grab from the fridge.
Decide what you’re making.
Now, this is where you can really customize your meal prep to fit your lifestyle. Decide whether it’s most helpful to you during the week. This could be a simple sheet pan recipe or it could be several meals that you actually think out so that you’re ready to go on any given day. Another thing to keep in mind is making sure that you have enough room in your fridge and/or freezer for storage! Nothing is worse than making too much food that you can’t store properly!
You’ll also want to think about how many meals you’ll be cooking for. Do you want breakfast ready to go five days a week? What about dinner?
Make sure you’re thinking about how you’ll reheat the food too, if at all (some people like their food cold, we’re not judging!). Are you a person that likes to microwave things and call it a day, or will you whip out a sautè pan and reheat the food there? This also makes a difference in deciding what you’ll make!
Schedule + Cook!
Now for the actual meal prep part! Take some time on a Sunday or whatever day fits your schedule and when you grocery shop (always best to prepare the food at its freshest), and block in a couple of hours, depending on how much you’re prepping. You could only do a pan of sheet-roasted veggies or you could go through the works of prepping breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s all up to you! You can also meal prep multiple times by prepping food for 3-4 days, and then cooking again when you need to!
What about food storage safety?
Good question, and glad you asked! When storing your food, we recommend checking out the FDA’s guide on how long each recipe or food will last in the fridge and/or in the freezer. Remember that it also depends on how cool your fridge is. Some very full fridges tend to not be as cool as the thermometer states it is. Always best to err on the side of caution!
Meal Prepping Recipes
Of course, there are more recipes than what we’re sharing here, but here are a few of our favorites! We’ve included meal-preppable breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and sides. Give them a lookover and enjoy!