It’s the start of a new year and women across the US have resolved to start eating healthier but don’t know where to start. One of the most helpful ways to accomplish this goal is with meal prep. When we already lead pretty busy lives, we don’t always have time to cook so we end up grabbing something on the way, and that something usually isn’t good for you.
Many may ask: what is meal prep? Meal prep is when you prepare a week of cooking and packing all of your meals into containers to be eaten over the next few days. What you prep is up to you - while some people want to prep all of the meals while others may only prep a few meals.
- Planning: If you aren’t on a meal plan set by a trainer or a nutritionist, you can come up with one on your own. Having a list of all the ingredients you need for the upcoming week's meals is very important to ensure you’ll have everything you need. It’s easy to get distracted at the grocery store, and you could end up forgetting crucial ingredients to your prep. Typically, people plan to cook for 3-4 days at a time because it’s more manageable to cook and maintain the shelf life of the food. Make sure you plan to grocery shop and cook, so you aren’t rushing through the process.
- Prepping: Cut your time by cooking a few different items - for example, Instead of baking chicken or fish, then your vegetables separately, put them all in the oven together. While the bigger food items are cooking, you can chop fruits and veggies as a side for breakfast, an easy snack, or cook with your meals. Using a large space like a table or counter, readying your plastic containers to fill when the food is cooled is a great way to cut on time. And always remember, seasonings are your friend! While you might want to use less salt, Healthy food does not have to be bland. Garlic, onion powder, pepper, ginger, oregano, cumin are great ways to create flavorful foods without additional sodium.
- Packing: Once the food for your Meal Prep is cooled and ready, put it in your containers, and refrigerate. From here, all you have to do is eat your meals on time - grab an insulated lunch bag or cooler bag to keep your meals fresh during the day. Package any sauces or dressings in smaller containers separate from the main meal for added freshness and flavor.
These are the basics you need to know to get started on meal prepping but certainly is not where it ends. Meal prepping is a great new years resolution to help you get more organized, form better habits and practice better accountability for yourself. Handful is excited to help you on this journey and we hope that this guide helps you along the way to a healthier lifestyle.