Prepping your meals is something that can save you time. If you want to start meal prep and you are not sure how to do so, we are here to give you some ideas. There are some healthy and easy tips to plan and make your meals in advance.
When you start a new diet, especially a keto diet plan, prepping food for the whole week can be something that can reduce your stress. When you are late for or from work, or you are dashing out of the house, having a ready meal is the best thing.
Planning will help you will make your own delicious, keto-friendly, healthy meals. That said, there are a lot of good sides to making your meals for the whole week.
What can help you prepare?
Here are four things that can help you start meal prepping the right way:
- Start by making a plan – Think about what you are going to cook ahead. Prepare all the recipes for the whole week, and be sure to have your grocery shopping list.
- Multi-tasking is important – You can cook more than one thing at once. You can roast your vegetables and bake chicken breasts at the same time. This way you will finish faster.
- Don`t prep too many meals at one time – Try not to prep for more than five or seven days` meals. Most of the food you make can stay in the fridge for around three days, so be sure to freeze the rest.
- Always think of your goal – If you are trying to save money, just want to eat healthily, or lose weight, always have in mind why you decided to prep your meals. That way, you will less likely to reach out for take-out meals.
How to start
Cooking and planning your meals can be a little bit overwhelming if you didn`t do it before. So, just start by doubling your portions of lunch and dinner. That way, you will have something ready for the next day. After that, two or three easy meals per week will do the trick. You will not get stressed and it is a great start.
Once you are familiar with that process, you can plan your meals for four, five, or more days. Fast, you will be a wizard of meal prep.
Find something that can be made in bulk, that is not too complicated, and that you would want to eat day after day. Make your list for meal prep and groceries that you are missing so you can make it. Do the shopping and start.
This might be the time to invest in food containers, glass bottles, or mason jars. You will need those so you can properly store your food. Containers made of glass are good because you can see what is inside, use them in the microwave, and there are no unwanted chemicals. You can get bowls with dividers when you want to separate ingredients, like veggies and nuts. Mason jars are good for salads, oat, and chia puddings. Glass bottles are perfect for soups and smoothies. That said, you will need to free up some space in your fridge and freezer.
Chose the approach that works for you. Different ways are:
Full-made meals – You will cook the entire meal and save them in the fridge or freezer.
Batch cooking and storing – You will make several meals, and portions and store them. It can be useful for recipes that you can easily make in large batches, such as soup.
Ingredients prepping – You will just prep the parts of the recipes. It is for those who like to cook and serve food. Just chop the veggies, marinate the meat, and mix spices in advance and when you are ready to cook, you will save time.
Why should you prep your meals for the week?
Once you get a hang of it, you will realize that it can be a great thing that reduces weekly stress. Here are some of the good things about meal prepping:
It is budget-friendly. Making your meals at home is cheaper than eating out or ordering food. You will buy only the ingredients that you need for your meal prep plan and there will be less waste.
It is a time saver. An hour or two on Sunday for prepping your meals will give you more time at night, or morning. You can spend that time with your family or friends, or watch your favorite shows. It is a great feeling when you don`t have to cook when you have a busy day at work.
It is healthier and keto-friendly – You will know exactly what is in your dish. When following a diet, we can be unsure about the ingredients and calories that other meals have. But, when we make our meals, we don`t have to worry. Not to mention, the portion control that you will have with the help of the food containers.
Your morning routines will be much easier. No more rushing around and trying to pack a lunch. Just grab already-made food out of the fridge.
Things to help you stay on track
As we mentioned, it can be overwhelming at the beginning, so we want to present you with some tips to help you stay on track with meal planning:
Find a companion. If you are making more than one option, the prepping process can be long. So, a partner, friend, co-worker, or family member is good company. You can exchange ideas, remind each other to bring your prepared meal, and even make them together.
Be creative. Once you are no longer a beginner, you can play around with ingredients and recipes. If you use a few ingredients in several ways, you can make a lot of different meals. Repurposing the ingredients is great.
Have more than one option. Even if it`s your favorite food, you will probably get bored of eating it all the time. Choose more than one recipe while you are prepping your food. That way you will not be stuck with the same menu every day.
Remember why. Always keep in mind why you decided to start meal prep. Think about all the benefits, you will save money, improve your health, and save your time.
Schedule your time for meal prep. You will need time to meal prep, so schedule 1 or 2 days per week to do so. Multitask a little, it will help you cut down the time. Kitchen appliances like an air frier, slow cookers, or instant pot can be a great help.
Food ideas for meal prep
Preparing meals in advance is useful for different people. From those who want to shorten their cook time or bodybuilders on the keto diet. However, some foods are not a good choice for meal prep. Food that holds up well in storage and tastes good even after a few days in the refrigerator is a good choice.
Roasted vegetables, sauces, soups, cooked meat, berries, and raw sturdy veggies make a great base for meal prep recipes. Soft vegetables, crunchy food, and cut fruit will only get soft in your fridge, so they are not such a good choice.
When you do meal prep, think about how you will reheat your food. Will you have access to a microwave, oven, or stove? Think about recipes that you can enjoy cold or mildly reheat so you won`t risk damaging proteins and fats in your food.
Meat is a great source of fat and protein so you can consider different kinds of meat and put them together in different delicious recipes. Such as instant pot chicken, lamb keto tacos, bacon pineapple shrimp, steak with rosemary, slow cooker beef, etc.
Vegetables are important in our diet, so you can prep them, too. Something like cauliflower tortillas, zucchini fritters, and Brussels sprouts salad with lemon is a good choice for your meals.
In addition, you can prep your snacks, too. Choose nutritious and keto-friendly snacks that you love. They are delicious, support a healthy lifestyle and there is no cooking required.
The final word
Better eating habits, meeting your health goals, and making your busy schedule easier are the things that you will get with meal prepping. Also, choosing the right ingredients, having enough storage containers, and patience will help you create nutritious and tasty dishes in advance.
When you prepare your food in advance, you will be ready to use that time for some other activities. Ready portions will be in your fridge and you will reduce the stress of thinking about what to eat every day.
In conclusion, having your food ready to eat will ensure that you won`t eat something unhealthy that will ruin your diet and that you will regret. It will help you waste less food, eat healthily, and be more organized.