Meal prepping can be very daunting, especially when there are so many Pinterest photos of perfectly portions lunches and refrigerators stacked with Tupperware filled with colorful meals. Despite these unrealistic expectations, this is still very doable!
There are so many benefits to preparing your meals ahead of time: less stress when it comes to meal time, saving money on days you would buy lunch at work, learning new recipes and exploring cooking with different ingredients.
Here are a few tips for starting your own Pinterest-perfect meal prepping journey.
Think ahead and shop accordingly
It’s tempting to just wing it when you go to the grocery store; sitting down and constructing a list can feel time-consuming, especially if grocery shopping isn’t your favorite pastime. But think about how frustrating it is when you get home and realize you forgot half of the things you needed.
Plan your meals for the week before you go shopping. Think of meals you enjoy, specifically meals that can be made in larger batches and refrigerated for a few days. Break down each meal by ingredient and add it to your list. Check your cupboards for ingredients you may already have or need to stock up on (spices, rice, pasta, other essentials that should always be on hand.)
Another way to stay organized during your shop is writing your list in the order you walk through the store in (because we all have a set route, right?) The first step in successful meal prepping is having all the ingredients you need – completing this will make everything else a breeze!
Cook your meals in batches
Like mentioned above, when brainstorming recipes, think of meals that can be made easily in larger quantities so you can portion them out for the week. Meals like soups or stir-fries can easily be doubled or tripled to have extra portions at the ready.
Similarly, if you know you have multiple meals planned for the week that incorporate chicken, tofu, or other proteins, cook them all at once so you can include it in different dishes later on.
If you’re cooking and know that a certain meal won’t keep well in the refrigerator (especially something with fresh produce), you can still make it easier for yourself! Cutting and preparing all your ingredients in advance will make cooking a quicker process.
Invest in good storage containers
Having sturdy, reliable, well-portioned storage containers will not only make prepping simpler but probably improve your entire kitchen experience. Go through your Tupperware cupboards and get rid of ALL of them! (I’m talking to my mother here.)
Start from scratch, find containers you know will serve whatever purpose you need them for: keep your food fresh, store easily in your cupboard and actually come clean. You don’t need the picture-perfect meal-prepped refrigerator, but this will get you closer.
Schedule your meal-prepping time
You may have a certain day of the week or time that you go to the grocery store – you may as well get it all done at once! Designate this time to unload your groceries and go right into meal prepping; start chopping and storing produce or boiling rice to incorporate throughout the week. Turn on music, listen to a podcast, or call a friend while you cook – maybe even have them meal prep their own week along with you.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to prepare every single meal for your entire week; start with your favorite recipes for just a few days and see what works for you!