Meal prepping is more than just a food trend. It has changed people’s lives. That is a bold claim but once you start meal prepping yourself, you’ll see the truth in it.
When you meal prep, you save time, money, reduce waste in the kitchen, and make better food choices.
Mealtimes are less hectic and easier to manage after a long day at work or early in the morning when you still have some brain fog. You’ll be less tempted to order out – saving you money. No longer will you buy healthy foods on a Sunday just to let them spoil in the fridge before you remember to cook them. And most importantly, with a meal prep plan, you can make healthier food choices every day of the week.
Meal prepping can seem a bit intimidating if you’ve never tried it. It’s a lot of planning and cooking all at once. But in truth, it’s much easier than it looks. Here are some tips on planning your first healthy meal prep.
Consider Dietary Needs
Before planning out your meal prep, you’ll first want to consider your dietary needs. This is very individualized and will depend on your health goals and needs.
Maybe you are trying to lose weight and need to reduce overall caloric intake. Perhaps you are trying to cut out carbs or transition to a vegetarian diet. Meal prepping is a great way to combine your ideal diet with a plan to stick to it.
It can be helpful to look at health recommendations before moving on to recipes. For example, if you need to reduce your sugar intake, find out what the recommended max sugar intake for your body size should be. If you need more protein in your diet, look up what serving size you should aim for at each meal.
You’ll also want to consider other people in your family if you are meal prepping for more than yourself. It makes no sense to meal prep a week’s worth of vegetarian recipes if your partner is a meat lover.
Try to find a balance as well. While you should aim for healthy foods and recipes, consider where you might be able to sneak in a snack or treat while still meeting your dietary needs.
Look For Recipes
With your dietary needs in mind, now you can start looking for recipes.
At this point, you will want to also consider the type of meal prepping you’d like to do. There are many ways to meal prep and really no wrong way to do it.
Are you the type to just meal prep breakfast when you know you’ll be too tired to cook? Or maybe you hate having the same thing over and over and need to consider smaller meals rather than large batch recipes. Another consideration is how much cooking you’d like to do each day. Do you want everything prepped and ready to microwave and eat? Or would you rather have things chopped and portioned out but still cooked fresh each meal?
Some people prep large batches of the same dinner or breakfast recipe to eat for a whole week. Other people prepare a different dinner option each night but make sure there is enough to eat as leftovers the next day.
Thinking about all this and your own preferences will help you narrow down recipe choices and decide on portion and serving sizes.
Also don’t forget to consider your favorite foods and current favorite dishes. What do you usually gravitate towards ordering on those nights when you can’t be bothered to cook? Maybe you can find a healthier version of your favorite take-out pad thai or pizza.
Shopping and Prep
Now that you have a list of recipes and ingredients, it’s time to go shopping and get started.
When you are planning a healthy meal prep, it can be helpful to avoid additional temptation. Stop by Eric’s Health Food Shoppe to see our full selection of organic foods and health snacks. Here you can be sure you are getting only the best ingredients, foods, and snacks to help you stick to your healthy meal plan.
Load up on delicious, organic options like fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, healthy sugar alternatives, keto and gluten-free breads, etc.
Once you have everything you need, it’s time to get started cooking. While this can seem the most intimating part, the reality is that it is as easy as cooking any other meal.
Give yourself a full afternoon to prep for the week. Start with foods that require longer cooking times. While preheating the oven you can get started on chopping and prepping. Cook grains on the stove top while baking in the oven. If two recipes call for the same ingredient – like onions – hit two birds with one stone by prepping them at the same time and dividing after.
It might take a week or two to get the hang of it but once you learn the art of meal prepping, you’ll never go back. Throw in a few healthy snack options from Eric’s Health Food Shoppe and you’ll have a well rounded diet with no temptation to order out.