Many of us are overwhelmed with school, work, family life, or perhaps all three! We find little-to-no time to plan ahead and prepare healthy meals. As such, fast food diets become the norm because they are quick and convenient. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Having a proper meal preparation strategy in place allows you to eat a healthy, balanced meal, and allows you to save money in the process (no more fast food on the go!). Believe it or not, you can consume healthy food without spending too much time in the kitchen if you do so in advance.
If your objective is to lose weight or maintain it or have more energy and money, the following 16 suggestions will help you easily reach your goal. Research indicates that those who make time to prepare healthy meals have better consumption habits.
#1 Prepare a meal plan
Prior to purchasing any food, you should prepare a meal plan ahead of time. Doing so will assist you in determining what and when to cook. Your meal plan should be a navigation of sorts when you’re in the supermarket. Shopping without a grocery list can lead to impulsive buys, most of which will be unhealthy foods.
You can use the same meal plan as long as you want – it isn’t necessary to change it frequently.
#2 Purchase durable containers to store your meals
Quality containers simplify the food storing process and help keep your fridge organized. Purchase BPA-free containers so they don’t melt in the microwave or oven – glass or Tupperware are ideal. To bypass overeating and confusion, purchase meal prep containers of identical shapes and sizes. Yellow Bumblebee can help you to solve this problem at once, just follow the link and buy an excellent storage container for your food https://www.amazon.com/Bento-Lunch-Boxes-by-Yellow-Bumblebee .
#3 Begin slowly at first
Meal preparation will simplify your life, but you will complicate the process if you are prepping food on a weekly basis without knowing what you’re doing.
Begin slow by preparing meals 2 to 3 days in advance. By doing so, you can figure out what is effective and what isn’t. Making errors along the way won’t be too expensive, either. There are some people who prepare dinner meals exclusively, while others prep breakfast and lunch as well. Once you have prepped meals habitually, you can try to cook meals on a weekly basis.
#4 Buy a food scale
Those trying to lose weight should know that it isn’t always mandatory to count calories. However, if guessing calorie amounts isn’t your strong suit, or you are prone to overeating, you will find a food scale quite useful.
You simply need to weigh portions no more than a couple of times per week. Research indicates that many people on a diet underestimate the number of calories they take in. As such, you should buy a scale if you can’t correctly gauge the number of calories you’re consuming.
#5 Refrain from regularly trying new recipes
It is not prudent to sample different recipes when preparing meals ahead of time. It will take too long and the food can be ruined if you don’t get everything right.
Prepare recipes you’re familiar with. You really don’t need to consume an abundance of recipes to remain healthy if your standbys are nutritional.
#6 Chop vegetables in advance
Meal preparation is more than just cooking. You’ll also need to prep fruits and vegetables at the same time.
If you typically neglect eating vegetables, this method can be beneficial. Cut them up and store them in meal prep containers. Throw them in a pan when it’s cooking time.
#7 Complex recipes should be prepped first
Your meal prep order is very important. You should cook complex recipes during the beginning of the week (ideally Sunday afternoon). During the midweek, you can prep the easier recipes. This can be advantageous if your schedule changes during the week, particularly if you don’t have time to prep complex recipes mid-week. This approach is just like your workout – your most challenging exercises are done at the start of your exercise routine, followed by the easier workouts.
#8 Keep healthy snacks stored
When dieting, consuming snacks regulates hunger and cravings. However, many people keep unhealthy snacks around, which encourages inconsistency.
Aim to only store healthy snacks in your kitchen. This can consist of fruits, eggs, nuts, vegetables, and the like. Store the snacks in meal prep containers. Studies show that those who overeat snacks do so when they eat right out of the packaging.
#9 Purchase healthy condiments
A healthy diet doesn’t have to taste boring. You can eat healthy and delicious foods without overdoing it with the salt.
When preparing meals, make use of healthy condiments such as olive oil, fresh ginger, and lemon. You’ll be more inclined to prep meals on a consistent basis if your food tastes delicious.
#10 It doesn’t have to be “all or nothing”
You might not always be able to prepare meals every week, but you should do so as often as you can. If you are unable to do it consistently, don’t throw the entire meal prep concept out the window. It’s better to prep meals sporadically than not at all. You will find simple and fast approaches to preparing meals the more you do it.
#11 Use a good quality container to store lunch salads
Many people refrain from taking salads to work thinking their vegetables will get destroyed during the commute. However, vegetables can stay fresh and whole for a short period if they are contained in a good quality storage container.
The dressing should be at the container’s base. Beets and peppers can go in the middle, followed by your greens at the top.
#12 Roast various vegetables together
Most veggies take the same amount of time to prepare. Rather than roasting all your vegetables at once, you can save time by roasting them together.
Some of the vegetables that can be cooked at the same time are cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and onions. Vegetables that can be cooked together quickly include tomatoes, mushrooms, and asparagus.
#13 Prepare foods that are freezer-friendly
Although most foods can be stored in the freezer, they can become mushy once they are taken out. As such, the foods you store in the freezer should be ones that are easily re-heatable. Stews, soups, casseroles, and bean chilies freeze well. Avoid dishes containing tofu or potatoes as they can get watery.
A dish will need to be reheated for several minutes after it has been thawed.
#14 Refrigerate leftovers
Although leftovers may not sound appealing, they can be time-savers and can help you eat healthier. In fact, you can keep leftovers refrigerated for as long as 4 days before the food starts going bad.
#15 Lunch should be prepped the night before
Many people might not think it’s necessary to prep dinner in advance. If that’s the case, consider prepping lunch the night before instead, particularly if you’re going to work or school. Leftovers can be contained in Tupperware or thermoses.
#16 Sort refrigerated food
All the compartments in your fridge serve different purposes and therefore contain different temperatures.
The warmest area of the refrigerator is the door, so the foods on its shelves should be ones that don’t spoil too fast, such as condiments. Keep foods that are cooked on the top shelves, and the coldest foods (which haven’t been cooked yet) on the lowest shelves. Just about anything can be stored in the freezer. Keep both your fridge and freezer well organized and pack foods tightly.
It’s difficult to eat properly if you don’t cook your own meals. You can simplify the process by following
these 16 suggestions.
Be mindful that not every meal prepping idea will be suitable for your needs. The best way to find what works and what doesn’t is to sample each approach.