Preparing your meals in advance offers a variety of benefits, including saving you time on busy days as well as increasing the amount of healthy, well-balanced meals you eat. Sometimes, however, meal preparation can seem overwhelming. The good news is as long as you think about it beforehand, there is nothing intimidating about planning and prepping your meals in advance of dinner time.
To that end, here are some tips to help you engage in effective meal preparation:
You can prepare as many meals as you want, but without good containers to store the food in, you are not going to get anywhere with meal preparation. You can choose plastic bags, plastic storage containers, glass containers, et cetera. Consider what kind of ingredients you will be using for your meals. If you are simply chopping vegetables for a meal, you can get away with a plastic bag. For liquids, on the other hand, you may need a bottle.
Plan The Meals
Of course, in order to prepare your meals you are going to have to plan what they are going to be! You can do this on pen and paper or on your computer—whichever works best for you. Make sure to make notes for all breakfasts, lunches, and dinners you will need to prepare for. Consider all the ingredients you will need for each meal. Before you go to the grocery store, remember to check your fridge, freezer, and cupboards to see if you have any of the ingredients already.
Cook At The Same Time
Sure, you could do one meal at a time, but try to cook multiple meals at the same time whenever possible. For instance, if you plan to have chicken more than once during your week (or other meal prep period) cook the chicken breasts at the same time. You can cook different meats and vegetables simultaneously as well, depending on the temperature required. Your only concern here would be cross contamination, so be sure to wash your hands throughout this process and use separate utensils and baking sheet.
Mix It Up
Sometimes it is easy to just cook the same meal so you do not have to worry too much about what you are going to eat or other snags that might come with meal preparation for more than one thing. However, this is often a mistake. It is very easy to get bored if you are eating the same thing every day. When you are just starting out with meal preparation, try doing two meals so you can switch them out with one another. Gradually add meals as you get a hang of things.