Happy New Year and good luck with meal prep.
…. Nah, I’m not going to leave it to luck when what you’re looking for is a solution to your nutrition issues.
Meal prep is the go-to method towards ensuring you have healthy food options at the ready when your hunger signal sounds like a fire truck screaming to a call.
The 4-types of Meal Prep Strategies:
- Ingredient Prep
- Batch Cooking
- Freezer Meals
- Individual Meals Ready to Eat
1. Ingredient Prep
Ingredient Prep can shave half the time it takes to cook a standard meal simply by having each ingredient pre-cut, diced, minced, marinated, dry-rubbed, mixed, etc. If you enjoy cooking meals because smelling, touching, and socializing around food is a priority, than this will help make cooking more time efficient – if time is where you want to improve.
Top 3 tips:
- Store your cut, diced, minced, marinated, dry-rubbed, mixed ingredients in Glass Food Containers to limit toxins like BPA, BPS, Phthalates from leaching into your food.
- Make your own herb blends: You can find 14 blends HERE
- Make your own Bone Broth to sip throughout the week: Learn how HERE
2. Batch Cooking
Batch Cooking is by far the cheapest, fastest, and most versatile strategy due to its simplicity. If you’re someone who doesn’t need much variety, batch cooking is ideal. However, the last few days may not taste the same as the first couple, so to ensure your end of the week meals taste close to the beginnings, Freeze your Meals.
3. Freezer Meals
Freezer Meals are when you meal prep too much food and you don’t want anything to go to waste – nor should you. This extends the efficiency of your Sunday efforts and adds a few security meals for when you start to hear a fire truck screaming hunger cravings in your ear. You don’t want to search for food when you’re hungry, because that is when you’re most susceptible at making a choice that doesn’t align with your goal(s).
Top 3 tips:
- Purchase & utilize a Stockpot , Crock-Pot, and an Instant Pot
- Replace your Non-Stick cookware with stainless steel or wood/bamboo
- Shop bulk at Costco or your local Farmers Market: Join a CSA HERE
4. Individual Meals Ready to Eat
Individual Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s) take more time to prepare, cook, and portion than Batch Cooking & Freezer Meals if you’re someone who finds variety a necessity – where you will find yourself having to make multiple individual meals. Otherwise, you can Batch Cook a week’s worth of meals AND portion each meals combination into an individual glass container. Either way, your fridge will have up to twenty-one glass containers or if you’re smart, twelve – four days worth of meals. The leftover food, freeze and thaw/portion on Thursday.
If you’ve looked into or signed up with a meal prep service, you are receiving MRE’s.
Top 3 tips:
- Purchase reusable Bee’s Wrap for sandwiches & snacks to replace plastic bags
- Purchase Cotton Reusable produce bags for fruit/nuts/seeds/veggies to replace plastic bags
- Best traveling soup, stew, salad, or any other type of food container
*If you want to make your own beeswax food wrap, check this awesome DIY article out.
Cooking Strategies aside, start simple by copying recipes while you pick up what goes well with what.
Personally, I started by buying a bunch of cook books, picking four-to-five recipes per week, distilling a shopping list, hitting the grocery store like a professional, and cooking like a newbie. When my wife and I first started, it took us 5-hours, which enabled us to not cook during the whole week – all we had to do was clean dishes and portion throughout the week. That saved us 3-5 hours of cook time… yeah, before that we were cooking two meals every day, six days a week… crazy. As we tried new recipe apps and subscriptions that distilled shopping lists for us, Sunday meal prep went from 5 hours to 3 hours. I personally started to feel like a professional at that point.
If you are starting where I did, check out Real Plans for cheap, you choose the diet you fancy, with automatic shopping lists.
The last tips I can give are these…
- Be a kitchen warrior – be courageous!
- Don’t be shy with herbs and spices – they are your friends.
- Take pride in your effort – you are doing it for YOU.
- Reflect every Saturday on what it took for you to plan and execute, take time to eat your meals, clean your dishes, and remember why you’re doing it – this is your inner motivation.
- Be a little cocky with showing off your handy-work – after all, most people don’t put in the time to nourish themselves as you just did – help them see the benefit.
Screw your luck. As defined by you, do what’s right for you and you’ll see great results.