I don’t know about you, but I feel like I have a constant nagging question in the back of my head. “What’s for dinner?” It says, at the most inopportune times. And then I have to start stressing about stopping by the grocery store and the hanger that my family (actually, mostly just me) might get if dinner isn’t ready in time.
You might have heard of meal-prep from that health guru friend that everyone has on Facebook or Instagram. That person that posts daily photos of everything they eat and raves about the joy of meal prep? Yeah, you know who I’m talking about.
So what exactly is meal prep? Basically, instead of having to cook every single night of the week, you plan out meals for the entire week and prepare them all in one night so they’re ready to go the day of.
Meal prep isn’t just for those people who have their lives all put together. It’s also for people like me who get sick of that nagging question and don’t have the time to think about it. If you’re thinking about meal prepping, check out these holy-grail rules that will help you get started.
1. Choose a day
The first step to meal prepping is to choose a day to prep all your meals for the week. People often prep on Sundays because it’s still the weekend, so there’s some extra time, but you’re planning for the week. Regardless of which day you choose, though, the best thing you can do is to have the time scheduled out.
2. Use ingredient overlaps
Instead of prepping for rice one day, pasta the next, and potatoes the next, try to take advantage of ingredient overlaps. For example, prep for rice for dinner for three days out of the week and pasta for two. This way, you can prep a lot of rice all at once and use it across the three dinners. Or you could try to stick with the same meat for three days out of the week. You can season chicken three different ways, even if they’re being cooked at the same time.
3. Make a grocery list
One of the most important things you do when you’re meal prepping is grocery shopping. Before you go, make sure that you have a list of everything you’ll need. When you’re at the grocery store, double check your list to make sure you have it all. If you miss a single item, it can completely throw off your meal prepping.
4. Invest in the right containers
Good containers are an essential when it comes to meal prepping. If you’re going to freeze a prepared meal to throw in the crockpot, make sure your containers are freezer safe. You also need them to easily stack. If you’re making lunches, there are some divided containers that might make portioning easier. Do your research and find containers that work for you.
5. The freezer is your friend
With meal prepping, it’s good to buy in bulk. You’ll be making a lot of food on one day, so you need to have a lot. Head to Costco and find a huge pack of chicken. Take out what you need and freeze the rest for the next week. Another way that the freezer will become your best friend is through Crock-pot meals. There are tons of recipes that you can throw in a bag and freeze. When you’re ready to use them, just pull them out and throw them in to cook. Check out this article for more information.
It might sound like a ton of work in the beginning, but eventually, it will save you a ton of time and money! Soon enough you’ll be that person that everyone’s jealous of on social media!
In other news, have you seen the huge list of stores that are going to be closed on Thanksgiving Day? Check it out here.