As discussed in the last Meal Prep Post, getting your food ready for the week is not as daunting as it may seem. Today, we're going to go over some of the actual specifics for getting you set up for success! Look out for a video showing you exactly how to prep.
So you want to meal prep--good choice!
The first step is choosing what you are going to make. For a weeks worth of lunches, you're going to want to start with 1-2 different meals. If you are sure you won't get bored and "forget" your lunch at home, start with one before jumping into two.
The point of prepping your meals is to maintain your nutritional goals and save money so it's important to choose a meal that is healthy, relatively simple and doesn't require a ton of weird ingredients (think special oils, sauces, etc.).
When choosing meals, think about the fact that you'll either be eating the food reheated or cold. If you hate the taste of reheated eggs, avoid meals such as quiche or breakfast bakes.
One of our favorite go-to websites for healthy recipes and ideas is skinnytaste.com.
You can also try googling some of your favorite foods with the word "healthy" before it such as "healthy orange chicken."
Now you're ready to make a list, hit the grocery store and get shopping! Reduce food waste by only buying what you need. Ensure you have enough containers to keep your foods fresh: containers that freeze well are optimal.
Once you've got your food and containers, you are ready to get cookin'.
The key to a successful meal prep is to begin with the most time consuming things that don't require too much attention.
Items like roasted vegetables, roasted chicken or anything baked should go first. Set the oven, prep the items and throw them in so you can get to work on other things.
Next, you want to work on foods that require some attention, but also take a long time. This includes starches like quinoa, potatoes or rice that need to boil and simmer for a while.
While those other items are cooking, it's time to get started on cooking things that require the most hands-on work and attention. If you're sautéing meat or vegetables on the stove, making a quick sauce or chopping raw veggies, now is the time to do it.
Following this method, you won't be waiting around while things cook but instead making the most of your time and getting as much done as possible, as quickly as possible.
After things are done cooking, portion out as appropriate for your goals and let everything cool completely. If using sauces, dips or dressings, portion into separate containers and put inside the food it goes with. If topping items with things that might get funny in the fridge (croutons, nuts, dried fruit), portion out into separate container or plastic baggies and leave out of the refrigerator.
When everything is cool, put on the lids and place right into the fridge or freezer. Suggested protocol is 3-4 days of food in the fridge and the rest in the freezer. Pull out 1 day before it's needed.