After another long day at work, the last thing you want to do is come home and cook dinner. You're in the mood for Chinese, but it's not in your budget right now. But then you remember that you've already prepped tonight's meal. You breathe a sigh of relief as you finish your commute home and starting dreaming about the sesame bowl that's waiting for you in the fridge. Easy meal prep saves the day again!
Meal prep is not only easy to do, but it's also good for your budget. It also helps you focus on nutrition and saves you time. With meal prepping, you can avoid spur-of-the-moment trips to the grocery or unhealthy fast food. Meal prepping provides easy, convenient options for meals throughout your week. Let's look at what you can meal prep, how you meal prep, and how meal prep will change your life.
Which Foods are Easy to Meal Prep?
When you're choosing foods to meal prep, choose foods that make good leftovers or reheat easily. It is best to avoid foods that wilt or lose nutritional value. For example, lettuce does not stay fresh very long. After a few days, the leaves begin to brown and wilt. You will also want to avoid soft fruits like bananas. Apples are easy to take on the go or you can pre-slice them if you prefer. Even though they have a tendency to brown, you can coat them in a little orange juice or lemon juice to prolong their freshness.
Other foods such as meats and legumes keep much longer in the fridge. They are also easier to batch cook in the oven or in crock pots. Many existing recipes include ingredients that are easy to cook and last for days in your fridge. Try using lean meats, like turkey and chicken. Legumes, such as beans, are also great meal prep options. Rice also keeps well. All of these options are relatively cheap and they are healthy additions to everyone's diet.
Why not try a recipe for a chicken fiesta bowl? You can batch cook the black beans, chicken, and rice. Portion out each of the ingredients into separate containers. This meal can be eaten hot or cold. If you want to eat it hot, the meal warms up well in the microwave. This makes it perfect for lunch during the workday.
You can also try meats like ground turkey or fish. If you prefer, there are also vegetarian and vegan recipes available. Meal prepping snacks is also a great idea. Parcel out small portions of fruits and veggies, like celery, grapes, or carrots. Pack a mini container of your favorite dip or hummus to go with. You can also pre-package small portions of nuts, trail mix, and dried fruit.
During the cold, winter months, you can incorporate soups and stews into your meal prep plan. Soups and stews can be made in large batches and frozen for months. You can regularly rotate these frozen stocks in and out of your meal plan depending on the season.
The key to finding foods that prep well is simple; you just need to find foods that you can batch cook and that keep well in the fridge.
Easy Ways to Plan Meals
There is no shortage of meal prep recipes available on the internet. Before you start meal prepping, you should find some recipes to try. Why not make a Pinterest board with some of your favorites? Or, you can start a journal full of recipes.
If you like to plan in advance, you could get a calendar and dedicate it solely to meal prepping. A dry erase or paper version would work well. That way you can plan snacks and meals for each day. A calendar can help you visualize your plan for the entire week – or month! Take the stress and the time out of figuring out what to eat during the week. Planning your meals and snacks out will help free up your time throughout the week.
How Do You Meal Prep for a Week?
Meal prepping for an entire week – is it even possible? The task may seem daunting, but meal prep is actually very simple. It's a matter of starting a routine and sticking to it.
Are you ready?
We'll walk you through how to do it.
Many people choose to dedicate a few hours to meal prepping, one day of the week. Sunday is a popular day for meal prepping. Spending a few hours preparing your meals on Sunday sets your week up for success. Why not start your week off on the right foot? It will be one less thing that you have to worry about during your busy week.
Start by choosing a few meal options. You can pick three or four different meal prep recipes. While you can stick to just one recipe, having multiple options may help you stick to your prepped meals. If you only have one recipe to choose from throughout the week, you may get bored with that meal. Make it easy to stick to your meal prepping by introducing a bit of variety. Or, if you'd rather eat the same meal for a few days, keep it simple and prepare one large batch recipe.
Once you decide on your recipe (or recipes), you need to take inventory of what you already have in your house. Sometimes, you might have enough in your fridge already to prepare that week's meals. After that, you can build a shopping list. When you meal prep, you should only need to grocery shop once a week. You can say goodbye to stopping by the grocery multiple times a week.
After you have all of your ingredients, start cooking! This is the fun part. It's easier to stick to your routine if you dedicate a block of time each week. Mark a few hours off on your calendar each week. This will help keep you committed to meal prepping. Make it a family affair or meal prep with loved ones. If you make meal prep feel like a special and important part of your week, you will be more encouraged to do it each week.
After the cooking is completed, all that's left to do is to package up your individual meals. Invest in some meal prep food containers. Look for glass if you're concerned about chemicals leaching into your food or your containers staining from sauces. These containers make it easy and convenient to grab a quick meal when you're hungry throughout the week.
Is Meal Prepping Good For Weight Loss?
If you're like most people, your schedule does not have a lot of room to spend an hour or two making meals daily. When you're hungry and pressed for time, you're more likely to eat convenient or easy-to-reach foods.
This is where you can get into trouble. Prepackaged and takeout foods are usually calorie rich but nutrient deficient. They can easily steer your weight loss progress way off track. Sure, they may be convenient, but they come at a cost.
That's why meal prepping is a great addition to your weight loss and health plan. Meal prep makes it much easier to opt for healthy food instead of convenient junk food. With meal prepping, it's much easier to stay on track and focus on your health. It helps make healthy meal options much more convenient. It also removes the temptation of convenient junk food. If it's just as easy to opt for a healthy meal over fast food, you're more likely to stay on track. Do yourself a favor and make it easy to eat healthy throughout the week!
How Much Money Do You Save Eating at Home?
How much money do you think you spend on dining out? A sub for lunch on Tuesday, a pizza on Friday night – it isn't that big of a deal, is it?
The statistic will probably shock you. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household spends over $3,000 per year on dining out. This includes delivery and takeout costs as well. That's a significant chunk of change!
But what if you started meal prepping?
How much money could you save by simply eating at home?
Let's assume that an average restaurant meal costs about $13 per person. Unlike what you would spend at the grocery, restaurants have to mark up their food prices to pay for their utilities, location, and labor. Restaurants typically mark up their food prices at least 300%. While that single restaurant meal cost you $13, you could have made the same thing at home for around $3 or $4.
If you look at that cost over the course of a year, you could save yourself thousands of dollars by eating at home. What could you do with that money? Meal prepping isn't just good for your waistline; it's healthy for your wallet, too.
Meal prepping is not difficult, but it does require dedication. It's simply a matter of carving out some time in your schedule to plan ahead. Eating out can be convenient, but healthy meal options in restaurants can be difficult to find. And the costs can add up quickly. Eating out multiple times throughout the week can do serious damage to your wallet. Choosing to meal prep can save you thousands of dollars each year. Meal prepping is also a healthier option. Avoid the temptation of greasy, calorie dense foods by meal prepping.
So what are you waiting for? Save yourself time and money and start meal prepping today!
Are you an avid meal prepper or just getting started? Let us know in the comments down below!