How often is this true for you? By the time you get home from work, make dinner, eat and then finish the cleanup, it’s nearly time to head straight to bed! This rings true for many of us and is the primary reason why meal prepping has become so popular. By organizing and preparing main components for your upcoming meals you are able to take back valuable personal and family time each evening. Not only that, preparing your meal components ahead of time often results in eating healthier in general. When you aren’t pressed for time, it is much easier to avoid less healthy “fast food” options and feel better about what you are eating and feeding your family!
First, how exactly do I go about meal prepping?
There isn't a singular way of doing it, but it can be described most simply as a cooking method for organizing different foods and meals in advance of upcoming breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Here are some different ways that you can meal prep:
- Batch cooking: Consists of making larger recipes and freezing/saving them for later meals. Foods like stews and pasta are perfect examples.
- Individual portions: With the use of containers, divvy up portions ahead of time that you can quickly grab and go.
- Prepped ingredients: Take some time to peel, chop, slice, or roast ingredients beforehand to use those components later on in pre-planned recipes.
It is common for most people who meal prep to organize time in your schedule on the weekends to do your grocery shopping for the coming week(s) and then do your cooking and food prep. This way you take advantage of the days where you have more available time in order to buy back the time you typically lose on the weekdays when you only have a few, precious, free hours at home.
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What are some primary benefits of meal prepping?
Like we mentioned before, meal prepping can help you earn back some of your valuable weeknight time. By preparing ahead of time you can maximize efficiencies in preparation time by knocking out several meals at once.
There can also be huge cost savings when you are purchasing ingredients in bulk. You are going to buy the food at some point anyway, so why not buy a little bit more each time in order to have it go a lot further. Each grocery shop may cost you more, but you will be doing it less! By being prepared for more meals each week, many people find that they also spend less on take-out or dining out; both much more expensive options when it comes to your monthly food budget.
Ultimately, one of the best benefits is that you will generally find that meal prepping results in eating healthier overall. When you have the time to think through a recipe prior to shopping for the ingredients and preparing it, it is easier to choose healthy options. It is being pressed for time that most often results in poor food choices. The same goes for snacks. If you can take the time to prepare bulk snacks, you will be less likely to grab less healthy alternatives. If it’s baking you love, you can prepare some of your favorite baking with almond flour and no sugar, vs buying muffins full of white flour and sugar.
How long will meal prepped food last?
Prepped foods can last up to 5 days in the fridge or even 3-4 months in the freezer, it just depends on the type of ingredients. Always play it safe and go with your gut when it comes to how long certain foods will last. A quick google search online will help reassure you if you aren’t 100% certain about a certain food or meal. Just make sure to get airtight containers to store your refrigerated and frozen foods in.
So, are you ready to start saving time and money? Ready to make it easier to eat healthy consistently? Give meal prepping a try this weekend and enjoy the benefits for yourself!