By the time you get home from work (and perhaps a workout?), make dinner, eat it, clean it, get chores done before the day ahead, and squeeze in some relaxation time – you may be shocked by how late the time is. Is there enough time for 8hrs sleep?
If this sounds like you – perhaps it’s time to consider meal prepping. A little bit of planning and preparation on the weekend can save you a tonne of time during the week.
We’ve listed our top 5 things to remember when setting yourself up for a successful meal prep:
1. Think of prepping items to allow for VARIETY.
Deciding to meal prep your lunch and/or dinners doesn’t mean you have to eat the same thing every day. If the idea of only eating one lunch for the next week puts you to sleep, don’t stress. You can easily adapt your meal prep by utilising the same staple ingredients from one recipe to create another recipe. For example, bulk prep some spiced turkey mince, and use it for a Mexican burrito bowl one night, turkey burgers another night, and lettuce cups to finish it off. Versatility without the extra work.
2. You don’t have to prep entire meals, just a few ingredients.
Have you seen (and felt overwhelmed?) by those Instagram meal prep posts, showing endless containers of breakfasts, lunches and dinners, neatly labelled and ordered in the fridge?
While it might be nice to look at, and convenient not having to cook during the week, most people don’t want to give up their entire Sunday in the kitchen. Which is why it can be great to just meal prep certain base items. Like rice, pasta, roast vegetables, grilled chicken, and even wash and cut up your vegetables and salad ingredients. That way, when you come home from a busy day at work all you have to do is throw together some grilled chicken and prep-prepared roast veggies for an easy meal.
3. Prepare meals that will last.
When meal prepping, consider the longevity of what you’re creating. For example, meal prepping a salad is fine if you only need it to last a few days in the fridge, making sure you store dressings separately. But - salads are not great if you’re prepping to last the entire week, as they will go soggy and you can’t freeze them.
To get the most flexibility and longevity out of your meal prep, we suggest recipes that you can freeze. For example, stir fries, curries, roasts and casseroles. Make life a bit easier by using convenience items such as frozen mixed vegetables, stir fry strips and par-cooked noodles and grains. If you have a slow cooker, you can get an excellent volume of freezer-friendly meals to store for up to 5 days in the fridge and 3 months in your freezer (check storage instructions with each recipe).
When you are wanting to use more perishable items like salad ingredients, plan to use them at the start of the week and don’t add any dressings until the time of eating.
4. You can meal prep snacks too.
Prepping snacks is especially great for anyone who loves a sweet or savoury treat, values variety and convenience, and wants to avoid processed options such as muesli bars, dips, chips and chocolate – often high in added sugars, salt and saturated fat.
This may be washing and cutting up your fruit and vegetables ahead of time so that when 3pm ‘snack attack’ hits, the idea of having to cut it up doesn’t push you into choosing something else. If you like a dip, you can prepare your own very easily using a food processor, and enjoy greater volumes without the guilt. How about baking a healthy dessert or snack recipe, like apple and oat bliss balls or chocolate protein muffins? If you love savoury – a frittata slice or bean salad? You’ll love having the endless options at your fingertips.
5. Make your life easier with convenience options
If you’re going through a particularly busy period, or if the idea of meal prep doesn’t appeal to you, utilising convenience options may be your best option. My Muscle Chef, for example, offers a wide range of meals to suit any goal – whether it be losing body fat or gaining muscle mass. You can order full portion-controlled meals (the variety is endless!), or specific ingredients such as bulk-cooked proteins, vegetables or carbohydrates to save you time, and allow you to mix and match with ingredients you have at home. They even have breakfasts, snacks and protein drinks to complete your day! You can order meals online, or pick up directly from the meal fridge at your local gym or speciality store. For more info – visit https://www.mymusclechef.com/
Meal Prep doesn’t have to be tasteless, hard, boring, or time sapping. There are many ways you can make it work for you and your lifestyle. It’s all about working out what’s best for you.