Home-cooked meals sound great in theory.
But the reality of making them can be very different! From meal prep to clean-up, cooking for yourself is a time-consuming process. Throw mess, stress, and frustration into the mix and the whole shebang can feel entirely, well…unappetising.
It’s no wonder that 54% of people in Canada dine out once or more each week.
Thankfully, though, meal prepping makes a mighty difference. By planning ahead and cooking a bulk batch of meals in advance, you can have a delicious dinner ready and waiting whenever you need it. You save time, reduce waste, mitigate stress, and take better control of your diet in the process.
Sound good? Want to take the hassle out of preparing your meals? Let us help!
Keep reading for 7 of our top meal prep ideas and hacks.
1. Plan with Care
The secret to effective meal prepping comes down to careful planning! After all, to prepare a big batch of meals, you first have to decide what you’re going to eat.
Thankfully, you don’t have to spend hours on this. It’s as simple as sitting down for 10 minutes and thinking about what food you want to see on your ‘menu of the week’. Make a note of the dishes you want to dine on and then figure out the ingredients you need.
From there, it’s a simple matter of going to the shops and buying it all! Voila, you’re ready to get started with the cooking.
2. Get the Right Gear
Before you do, though, it’s important to be ready for the task ahead. Remember, you’re going to be cooking up a substantial amount of food! The result?
You need to have a whole load of containers in which to store it. Go ahead and buy some durable prepping containers and lids if you don’t already have any (or enough) in the kitchen.
Think about portion sizes too though. Pick containers in accordance with the amount you want to eat! Bigger containers will, of course, be necessary for larger appetites.
Oh, and make sure they’re microwavable too. Being able to pop your meals straight into the microwaves will save you enough more time and energy throughout the day.
3. Start Small
Becoming adept at meal prepping is a matter of time and practice. After all, you might be adjusting the cooking practices of a lifetime! It can take some getting used to.
The trick to success is starting small.
Trying to prep a weeks’ worth of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners from the get-go is a recipe for trouble. You risk getting portion-sizes wrong, burning or undercooking the food, and losing enthusiasm for the task in general.
Begin with a single meal instead. Focus on lunch or dinner, plan it out, and proceed accordingly. Only when you get that meal down should you think about taking on more!
4. Decide Your Day(s)
Next up, pick a day when you’re going to do the week’s cooking.
As the last day before the working week begins, most preppers do this on a Sunday. However, there’s no hard and fast rule here. You can do whatever’s best for your schedule!
That might mean cooking in the evening during the week, dividing the cooking between two evenings instead of one, and so on. See when you have time on your hands and go from there.
5. Be Strategic in the Kitchen
Imagine that the big day’s arrived. You’ve planned your meals, bought your containers, and are ready to start cooking.
It’s time to get strategic.
In all honesty, having a strategy’s the secret to successful meal preparation! Without one, you’ll have too much on the go at once, run out of space and utensils, and end up with one almighty mess on your hands.
Having a strategy helps you multi-task with greater effectiveness. Figure out what needs to start cooking first, which equipment you’ll need for each recipe, and how to get as much cooking at the same time as possible (thereby limiting your time in the kitchen).
6. Buy (and Use) a Slow Cooker
Slow cookers are your best friend when it comes to meal preparation. You put your ingredients inside, hit a button, wait a while, and end up with a delicious meal to distribute into your containers!
It couldn’t be easier.
Better still, slow cookers also free up your limited supply of kitchen equipment. That’s a big deal when you’re doing lots of cooking at the same time. With no saucepans, skillets, or frying pans in use, you can go ahead and cook something else alongside it.
That’s why they’re so good for maximizing efficiency in the kitchen. With the slow cooker on the go, you can move onto the other recipes that you want to prepare for the week!
7. Make Your Life Easy
The most important thing to remember about meal prepping is that it’s about ease and convenience. People do it to save time, take control of their diet, and to simplify their cooking experience throughout the week.
It’s worth taking that to heart! Prepping, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t have to involve cooking and preparing everything from scratch.
Use pre-packaged foods, pre-made sauces, pre-peeled vegetables, and so on. The whole prepping experience will become even easier as a result. And that, at the end of the day, is the entire point!
Don’t Forget These Meal Prep Hacks
Are you thinking about jumping on the meal prepping bandwagon? Well, we don’t blame you! Cooking for yourself every day involves time, effort, and hassle that most people could do without.
Bulk preparing your meals in advance is an ideal alternative. With breakfast, lunch, and dinner already made, you can enjoy a delicious, nutritious meal with none of the fuss.
Hopefully, the meal prep ideas in this post will help you get started!
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