Meal Prepping – What’s the Deal?

OK, so what is meal prepping?

Basically, it is preparing a meal, then portioning it out to create a grab & go meal for later.  If you have ever taken LOs (Left Overs) for lunch – you meal prepped; if you made a double serve of a recipe & froze it to eat later – you meal prepped; or premade all your work lunches for the week – you meal prepped.

Why meal prep?

It is convenient, efficient & reduces waste.  OK, it also reduces temptation to eat outside your plan – diet or budget!  Even if you only start out making one or two recipes a week you will see some benefits. 

💡 Saves your time.

💡 Saves you money.

💡 Saves energy later in the week.

💡 Saves stress when days are busy.

💡 Reduces food waste.

💡 Total control over what is going into your meals.

💡 Great for portion control.

Types of meal prep

💡 Full meals

💡 Batch cooking/freezing a single “ingredient” EG: quinoa or vegetables

💡 Single serves THINK: lunches

💡 Ingredient prep THINK: pre chop some vege or marinade meat

What can I meal prep?

OK, this will vary from person to person, as everyone likes different things.  Try some of these to start:

💡 Cooked meats

💡 Roast vegies

💡Pre chop hardy fresh vege THINK: carrots, peas, capsicum, cabbage, radishes

💡 Precook grains, or beans or legumes

💡 Nuts & seeds into grab & go snack portions

💡 Pre make sauces or dips THINK: salad dressing, salsa, or hummus

TIP: Think about if you need to reheat your food.  Will you have access to a microwave, or will you be using an oven or stovetop.  This will help you choose recipes/options to suit your lifestyle.

During summer we always have some salsa on hand. An easy way to dress up a garden salad, add to some to grilled chicken or throw in some chickpeas for a delish salad.

How long does my meal prep last?

There is no definitive answer here.  As soon as it is made your food will start a slow decline in quality, so the safety of your meal depends on how it is packed & stored, your fridge, & the quality of your ingredients.  Why?  They all have a big influence on lifespan, texture, flavour & ultimately food safety. 

How do I start my meal prep?

Pro tip – start small!  Make one pot recipes or focus on single dishes.  Recipes don’t need to be elaborate & honestly, too many recipes will make it a tedious task, which is unlikely to ever be repeated.

Try one of these to start.

💡 3 work lunches for the week

💡 Prep snack packs for the week

💡 Cut & chop all your vege for the work week

💡 Make 2 extra evening meals

Another tip – schedule time to do your prep.  It doesn’t matter what day just schedule in whatever works for you.

What do I need?

Bottom line – containers.  You will use different shapes & sizes, start your collection small.  Glass or stainless steel are great options, where possible avoid storing in plastic (& try keep that plastic out of the microwave).  Additionally, dishwasher safe is great, you don’t want to spend your saved time at the sink!  Start small with your container collection & see what sizes work well for you. 

Next week, 7 strategies to help with the meal prep process.

Published by Shân

I am incredibly passionate about food and its healing power – it is pretty amazing how what you eat affects how your body works! In fact, I was so fascinated, I went & got myself a degree in it – a Bachelor of Health Science (Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine). Now in all honesty I don’t eat or live a perfect lifestyle, nor will I ever pretend I do. Realistically I know you won’t be perfect either. And that’s OK. As a Clinical Nutritionist I focus on what we eat and how this has an impact on our health and wellness – everyday.

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