Meal prepping is one of those things that sound good in theory but you are never able to apply it. That’s what my husband and I thought back in 2018- when we were trying to meal prep. We wanted to do it but we never could figure out a routine. So, we decided enough was enough and that we should make it out New Year’s resolution for 2019.
After much trial and error during the year 2019, we finally got a grove for our meal prepping routine. However, before getting a good meal prepping routine, we would meal plan – which meant that we would plan our meals for the week and make them on the spot. This helped us know which groceries to buy and made it easier when we transition to meal prepping every week.
After our friends and family found out that we have been consistently meal prepping since 2019 (we have not missed a single week), they wanted to know what tips we had for them. As I was giving tips to friends and family, I thought to myself that others might also be struggling with meal prepping. So, as most of my blog posts go, I had a light bulb moment and decided to do a post about it!
Before I begin, I just want to mention that I am not a certified nutritionist, fitness expert, dietician, and/or doctor. I’m just a normal person providing meal prep tips that have worked for me, and others (who have tried these tips). I wanted to put my tips together in a blog to help others who may be struggling with their day-to-day meal prepping.
Without further ado, check out my tips for your Weekly Meal Prep below.
Bulk your Meals
Bulk your meals may sound like adding more protein and fewer carbs. However, when I mention bulking your meals – that’s not what I mean. In this case, bulking your meals means making more of the same item. For instance, let’s say you have chicken and broccoli as a dinner option for one day of the week. Instead of making that dinner for one day out of the week, opt to make it a dinner option for a couple of days out of the week. This way when you prep your food, you can make 2-3 dinners with the same food choice- hence bulking your meals.
Part of meal prepping requires eating the same thing for a couple of days during the week. This makes the prepping a lot easier and less time-consuming. In the past, I used to prep 4 to 5 dinner options for the week but we would either throw them out or not eat it because of other plans. I would get upset because I spent so much time making those dinners. Thus, my husband and I came up with a plan to make 2-3 dinner options for the week and if needed, make something fresh/easy towards the end of the week (such as pasta, salad, etc).
Invest in good Storage Containers
When you get into meal prepping every week, you are making more of the same meal or multiple meals in one day. In which case, you will need a way to store those meals in your refrigerator (or pantry). It took me a while to play around with which storage containers work best for my meal prepping needs. Using plastic containers like Tupperware will get ruined and gross over time thus, will not last long term.
You have to invest in your meal prep containers. My hubby and I used to do plastic containers but realized that those didn’t clean well (even in the dishwasher), and they would end up staining. So, we opted out of glass containers for lunches and dinners. The best part about the glass containers is that they don’t stain – which is amazing and helpful when you enjoy food with lots of turmeric like Indian food.
Good storage containers are key! And the key to knowing which storage containers are the best for you is to know your lifestyle. Ask yourself the following questions to help with determining the best storage containers for you:
- How much food would you be making (2-3 nights worth, etc)?
- Is your food heavy with seasoning or spices?
- Do you want easy-to-clean dishes and/or containers?
Check out some of my favorite meal prep friendly containers below:
Plan Your Meals
One thing that my hubby and I were good at, before meal prepping on the regular, was meal planning. Meal planning is planning out what you’ll be eating for the week, then making dinner or lunch every day or every other day. This also helps target what groceries to buy – instead of thinking “oh I’ll make a broccoli casserole this week” and you never get to it. As well as, having a set plan for breakfast, lunches, and dinner every day; this way you’re not having the issue of “what do I make for dinner” or “what should I eat today”.
Meal planning also incorporates things such as having plans for the week, etc. Sometimes, you have a work luncheon or a bestie’s birthday lunch, etc. If you plan your week out and see what meals you need to make, it makes it easier for you to prep for those meals.
My hubby and I had a lot of trial and error before we finally got the hang of our meal planning. However, once we did get the hang of it, then we introduced meal prepping to the mix. Take small steps when focusing on meal prepping. You won’t figure it out overnight, but you can try to take the necessary steps to make it happen.
Plan the Same Meal for Multiple Days
To make your meal prepping go from 6 hours to 3 hours per week, plan to have the same meal for a couple of days in a row. It’s much more time-efficient to make 6 chicken breast and broccoli dinners for the week versus making chicken and broccoli for one night, salad for another, rice and veggies for another, etc. Each meal takes time to make however if you make 6 chicken breasts or one- that will take the same 30 minutes.
As emphasized above, bulk your meals. You’ll be much less stressed and have more time to enjoy your weekend or weeknight (whichever day you decide to meal prep). For my hubby and I, we plan 2 Indian entrees for the week (usually a lentil soup and veggie entrée), 3 lunches (day 4 will be leftovers, and day 5 will be eating out), and overnight oats for breakfast every day. This is what works for us and it’s also time-efficient for our crazy schedules.
Schedule Time to Meal Prep
Finally, this may go without saying but I thought to include this – schedule the time for meal prep! You can’t just meal prep on a random Tuesday, but you have plans to go out with your girlfriends. Either plan a weeknight (we have some friends do their meal prepping on a Monday) or a weekend. For those who want to meal prep on a weekend, I would suggest doing it as early as possible because you do want to enjoy your weekend.
For example, my husband and I like to meal prep on Saturday mornings (unless we have plans), so that this way we can enjoy our Saturday night with friends and family as well as have a lazy Sunday. However, it took us probably about 6 months to 1 year to realize that Saturday mornings were our best time to meal prep. Initially, we used to meal prep on Sunday but, that would take up our whole weekend. Since we would have plans on a Saturday then meal prep on a Sunday. We got burnt out so quickly, so we switched our meal prep days and feel much more productive. Especially, since we all need a self-care day as well.
I hope you enjoyed my meal prepping tips. I know this post is not my usual type of content, but I thought I’d put something together for my friends and family that keep asking me for tips.
Which one of these tips seems most reasonable for you? Let me know in the comments below!