Meal Prep 101 - Top 10 Tips & Tricks
Meal planning & prep doesn't have to be the daunting task it's made out to be. Here are my top 10 tips & tricks to help you find strategies that work for you - limiting stress and making healthy eating easier for you and your busy lifestyle! It is important to remember that there is no one right way to eat, grocery shop, or meal plan - it will look different for everyone. Set yourself up for success by focusing on tips and resources that align with your lifestyle and personality.
1. Start Small
Taking on meal prep for a whole week may seem daunting at first and the last thing we want to do is overwhelm ourselves! It can also leave little room for flexibility or changes in plans (which let's face it often come up!). Start by selecting 1 meal to prep for for the week ahead - whether it's breakfast, lunch, or dinner, choose 3 days of the week to plan and prep for this meal.
2. Stock Your Freezer & Pantry
Keeping your freezer and pantry stocked with healthy snacks and staple ingredients makes it easier to pull together quick& healthy meals on-the-go. Think staples like whole grains, canned beans, nuts, nut butters, canned tuna, and frozen fruits and veggies.
3. Plan For Food Groups VS Meals
For some people, setting aside time each week to prep meals and snacks for the week ahead can be challenging. Instead, prep food groups like a grain, a lean protein, fruit, veggies, and healthy snacks, combining to create a balanced plate.
4. Double Up Recipes
An easy way to start meal prep is to simply double one of your dinner recipes and save the leftovers for lunch and/or dinner the next day, or freeze and enjoy over the next few weeks.
5. Batch Cooking
Cook up a big batch of roasted veggies, pasta sauce, quinoa, brown rice, hummus, chicken, chickpeas etc. Use those as your bases for making a variety of healthy & easy meals over the next few days.
6. Identify Trouble Times
Whether it's breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks, there is a time of day that we all struggle with! Whichever it is for you, focus on planning to have a few meals or snacks to hand, making it easy to throw something healthy together when you need it.
7. Freeze Extras
Make your freezer your new best friend! Many of the meals you aleady cook will be easy to freeze, making it easy to grab something healthy when you're in a hurry.
While dinner is cooking take the opportunity to multi-task, cooking up some oatmeal for breakfast the next day, or prepping ingredients for the next night's dinner; wash and cut veggies or fruit for snacks tomorrow; or make a sandwich to pack for work.
9. Portion Out Snacks
Take a few minutes to prep snacks for the week - nuts, cheese & crackers, popcorn, trail mix, etc. pop into ziploc bags or containers for easy grab-and-go snacks.
10. Pre-Wash, Peel, & Cut Fruit & Veg
Tak a few minutes to prep fruit & veg for the days ahead, store in containers for upcoming meals to make healthy eating easier later in the week.
Above all else - get creative! Meal prep doesn't have to mean boring leftovers every night. Staple ingredients can be doubled and enjoyed in new recipes. Grilled chicken or pulled for for example, is great for a main meal and can also be used over the next few days in tacos, wraps, sandwiches, pizza, casseroles, and more.