Meal prep can be one of the most important factors in reaching your health and fitness goals! It ensures that you have plenty of nutritious food options available throughout the week, making it easier for you to make healthy choices.
1 - Own the Right Kitchen Tools
Here are a few tools that will make your meal prep easier:
Freezer: Cooking a freezer-friendly recipe? Double the recipe and freeze half. Healthy meals will be ready to thaw & heat when you're in a rush!
Crockpot or Instant Pot: Slow cooker or pressure cooker recipes only require you to add ingredients to a pot and press a button!
Muffin Tins: You can portion out recipes such as eggs or meatloaf into muffin tins for an easy meal on the go. Check out our recipes for egg muffins and meatloaf muffins at push511.com/nutrition/recipes!
3-Compartment Containers: Own food containers to store your meal prep! 3-compartment containers help you portion out balanced meals that are ready to grab and go when you're heading out the door.
2 - Plan Your Prep
Planning the following in advance makes for a smoother meal prep:
What will you cook for the week? Use this to write a grocery list.
When will you shop for groceries? Block time off on your calendar.
When will you prep? Will you prep everything on a single day, or do smaller preps over several days throughout the week?
What will your meal prep look like? Will you cook entire recipes and portion them into 3-compartment containers, or will you prep ingredients (washing, chopping, seasoning, marinating) to cook later in the week?
3 - Have Go-To Recipes
When you're not sure of what to cook, have a few simple go-to recipes in your cooking repertoire that you can make in a pinch. Need inspiration? Visit push511.com/nutrition/recipes for tons of delicious and easy recipes!
4 - Balance Your Time with Variety
The more you cook in bulk for the week, the more time you will save in the kitchen. However, it also means that you will have less variety in what you eat throughout the week. It's important to find a balance between the time you save in the kitchen and the variety of what you eat. Here are a few tips on how to do that:
Precook a few staples for the week and prepare them in several different ways.
Example: Cook chicken breasts, sweet potatoes and a few types of veggies. From that you can pull together a few different dishes including stir fry, stuffed sweet potatoes, mini egg frittatas and salads.
5 - Get Cooking!
Start cooking items that take the longest and can go on autopilot first. Then, work your way toward items that take the shortest amount of time to cook and/or need the most attention.
Example: If you're making a slow cooker recipe, start with that first. While it's cooking you can move onto tasks such as chopping and roasting veggies.
Are you cooking more than one thing that can cook at the same temperature? Put them in the oven together!
Example: Sweet potatoes and chicken can both go in the oven together at 400 degrees F if you keep them on separate timers.
Don't shy away from frozen veggies.
Frozen vegetables are often picked at their peak before freezing, making them nutrient-dense. They are also easier to prepare, saving you time in the kitchen!
Most importantly: practice makes perfect!
The only way you'll become better at meal prep is through trial and error. Don't be afraid to experiment in the kitchen!