Meal prepping is a great way to ensure you and your family eat healthy all week long. Plus, it saves lots of time and keeps you from impulsively eating out and blowing the monthly food budget. Here are some tips for getting started with meal prepping.
Don’t go overboard.
Meal prepping is supposed to make your life easier, not more complicated. So don’t go overboard with prepping, especially if you’ve never done this before. Decide what kind of prepping would make your life easiest—maybe it’s prepping all the meals for your most hectic day of the week, or maybe you want to prep lunches to save money during the work week. Regardless, don’t try to prep breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the entire week in one day.
Stock up on containers.
Food-safe containers and storage bags will be your new best friends. If you haven’t meal prepped in the past, you probably don’t have enough containers, so before you begin meal prepping, be sure to stock up. Make sure you have these on hand:
- Glass containers (for reheating)
- Freezer-safe containers and bags
- Tiny containers (for sauces & salad dressing)
- Compartment containers
- Large containers (for family-sized meals, if necessary)
Set aside time to plan and prep.
Meal prepping takes time, so figure out the best day of the week and make sure your grocery trip also falls on that day. Know what you’re prepping and have a shopping list ready before you go to the store—figuring it out when you get there will waste time and leave you feeling overwhelmed. Instead, stick to the plan and be okay with eating the same foods several days in a row—it will make prepping easier.
Prepping doesn’t have to mean cooking.
You can still save a lot of time prepping meals in advance even if you don’t cook them. For instance, if you know you’ll be making a crock pot meal later in the week, you can cut and season the ingredients ahead of time so all you’ll have to do is dump it into the crock pot later. You can also portion out smoothie ingredients in advance and freeze them so they’re ready to blend in the morning or after a workout. Just remember, the purpose of prepping is to save time on busy days and help you stay on track with your health goals. If your prepping routine accomplishes that, you’re doing it right.