Short Meal Prep Guide for the Busy Bees
Meal prep is a hot trend in fitness because it enables people to completely control what’s in their diet. The type of food and serving size are entirely up to the individual cooking. Some people love this. Even if you aren’t the most talented cook and are iffy on the concept, keep reading and maybe you’ll be sold.
Why should anyone meal prep?
The simplest reason most people choose to prepare their meals in bulk and ahead of time is to save money and time. The expenditure on meal prep is indeed front heavy, but a disciplined approach to listing, shopping, and cooking on the day does result in saved money. The costs involved in eating out aren’t simply the cost of supplies. The cost of services (prep) is a major factor.
Assuming you are adamant about sticking to your grocery list, you’ve only purchased what you intended to eat. Not only is this good for you and your wallet, but also avoids waste and is good for everyone. The time spent on preparing the food is saving you time from waiting in lines or commuting to restaurants. If you prep on your free day, that leaves you extra time during the work evenings for anything else you may need to do.
If you have your meals stocked and in the refrigerator, you’re less likely to grab unhealthy snacks throughout the day. If you’re worried because you’re just a snack type of person, add snacks. The control of what you eat is entirely up to you and having food at the ready makes staying disciplined in your good eating habits easier.
People with allergies or food sensitivities often have to order at special restaurants or deal with the risk of ordering where their friends eat. This isn’t an issue for people who buy and cook their own meals. Everything going in is 100% allergen free because you made it that way.
How do people get started?
It’s easy to become overwhelmed when you’re first starting out. Worrying too much about the details will just get in the way. As long as your start simple and stay consistent, you’ll find your groove and improve your processes along the way. The trick is to just start with what you know and step it up as you become comfortable.
Note: Try not to go overboard and completely change everything about your diet overnight. That’s an easy way to ensure you don’t stick to it more often than not. “Crash-dieting” isn’t advised and a diet isn’t temporary. It’s your collective eating habits over time. The goal is to build healthy eating habits over time. Then, you’ll simply have a healthy diet.
Pick a day
The first step on your plan to conquer this meal prep thing should be choosing what day it is that you’ll be preparing all your meals. Generally, Sunday is the best as people are off work, their families don’t need to be bused around and if need be they can be enlisted to help. As people gain experience, Wednesday usually gets added because it’s allows the work to be split.
When you’re beginning, don’t worry about meals for the entire week. Just focus on a few at a time. A day or two is all you need starting off and honestly, you may still be craving that Chinese food at the shop down the street. Give yourself some time to adjust.
If your schedule is frantic, start marking your prep days and what you have for which day down on your calendar. If you’re more tech-savvy, do set alerts on your phone. If you’re a computer and simply remember things, no worries. Just make a system that works for you and be consistent.
Choose the meals
How this will go can vary if you’re single, a couple or a family. If you’re prepping only for yourself or your family is also a factor. Then there’s the matter of whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner that you’re prepping. Ultimately, if you’re the one prepping it’s up to you.
The prep itself
This part is as tough or easy as you make it. The general idea for beginners is to start off with easy meals. Chicken, rice and a veggie is a simple go to that works for many. The chicken can be seasoned in a variety of ways, the rice can be any type you want and the veggie follows the same rule. That alone gives you a ton of options.
If you’re making a lot of food keep in mind that crockpots and ovens are your friends. Multiple oven trays let you take full advantage of your oven’s space and a decent capacity rice cooker never hurt. If you’re into processes fruits meats or veggies MRS food prep has you covered.
When you’re done, be sure to store everything in proper containers. What you’re looking for in a container – free of BPA, reusability and being microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe.