You should attempt meal preparing if you want to have fewer chaotic mealtimes, save time in the kitchen, or make better food choices. Meal planning may include anything from making frozen smoothie packs for breakfast to cooking entire dinners for the week ahead.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to meal preparation; it’s all about what works best for you. It also doesn’t need you to spend your whole Sunday in the kitchen.
It will be simpler to eat properly over the week if you spend as little as 30 minutes planning and cooking meals. In this beginner’s guide to meal prep, we break it down into a few basic stages to make meal planning and preparation easier.
How to Begin Meal Preparation
Learn how to get started with meal preparation by following these simple steps.
One (or a combination) of the meal-prep strategies may work best for you, depending on your schedule, the meals you prefer to prepare ahead of time, and your cooking style:
Meals that can be prepared ahead of time cooking full meals in advance to be reheated at mealtimes (such as a pot of soup or a casserole) allows for very fast weekday dinners for people with limited time to prepare meals throughout the week.
Individually portioned meals for those with special health objectives or who prefer the convenience of grab-and-go meals, preparing foods and portioning them into individual portions is a good option. Think mason jar salads and overnight oats portioned into single-serving containers.
Step 1: Indulge in the Fruits (and Vegetables) of Your Labor
With a little experience, you’ll find a meal preparation technique that works best for you. Whether you’re prepping ingredients for a single meal, packing work lunches for the week, or making a double batch of chili to store for next month, any amount of bulk meal prep containers pays you. If you’re looking for menu ideas, browse our collection of meal plans to discover one that suits your needs.
Step2: Preparation and Storage
We’ve arrived at the most enjoyable phase of the process: dinner preparation! Before you begin chopping, keep the following suggestions in mind:
Make the most of your time by doing the following: Begin with the items that need the most time to prepare. Preheat the oven and prepare the first-to-cook ingredients. Bring water to a boil for grains that need longer to cook, such as farro or brown rice. If the same item is required in two recipes, such as chopped onions, prepare the onions for both at the same time and split them as needed.
Step 3: Make a list and go shopping
Now that you’ve decided on a meal, it’s time to make a shopping list. But, before you run to the shop, take a look around your kitchen.
Stock up on essentials: Meal planning is made easier by stocking your pantry with a range of dependable items, such as dried herbs and spice mixes and shelf-stable healthy grains like brown rice and quinoa. Low-sodium canned beans and broth, fridge mainstays like eggs and precooked chicken sausage, and a few freezer-friendly items can quickly turn ready components into meals. Like with this 7-Day Pantry Items Dinner Plan, you may build your whole meal plan around pantry staples.
1. You’ll be able to save time
Meal preparing ensures that you always have a little meal waiting patiently for you on your lunch break or when you come home, rather than wasting time trying to figure out what to prepare or whether to order takeout. Not to mention the most crucial factor: meal preparation equals fewer dishes.
2. You’ll motivate others
seeing someone accomplish something amazing might motivate you to try something similar. When other people witness you living a healthy lifestyle, it may motivate them to make minor adjustments of their own.
It may take some getting used to, but meal preparation is a step in the right direction toward a healthier you. And it may turn into a new favorite habit.
3. You’ll learn a new skill that will come in useful.
Meal preparing may be a fantastic instructor if you want to gain greater confidence in the kitchen. Meal planning may help you navigate the kitchen and introduce you to new dishes, such as roasted chicken and vegetables or Mexican chili in a pressure cooker.
4. You’ll be able to better control your portion amounts.
It’s truly that simple. Restaurants frequently serve us portions that are larger than the recommended serving size. Every day, a large number of people consume more calories than are required to maintain a balanced diet. You can manage your quantities and know precisely what components you’re putting in your body when you cook your own meals. Meal planning has therefore become the new go-to practice for achieving your weight-loss objectives.
5. You’ll improve your connection with food.
You learn more about nutrition and how to approach food for what it is: energy and nutrients when your meal plan. Instead of making rash judgments in a hurry, you learn to eat just when you’re hungry.
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