Meal Prepping 101
By: Sara Matthew
Meal prepping is a major craze right now, but, many people think it’s a huge time investment. I actually enjoy meal prepping! Although it is a slightly upfront time investment, it has become a weekend ritual for me, every Sunday, because:
It’s one thing less to worry during a hectic week
When hunger strikes, meals are accessible
I have control over the nutritional quality of food
I save money
If you find yourself pressed for time to pack lunch or cook dinner every night ,struggling to eat healthy meals, or have trouble sticking to a budget, meal prepping will come to your rescue. For the uninitiated, meal prepping means cooking your meals or prepping ingredients for your meals ahead of time.
Jump on the meal prep bandwagon with this step by step guide:
1) Review the week ahead and determine how many meals you need to prepare.
2) Gear up with a couple of these kitchen staples like:
Baking sheet pans/grill pans: to bake/grill chicken, fish , vegetables in batches
Medium saucepan: to boil eggs, pasta
Rice cooker: for rice, quinoa, stews/chili
Stir fry pan: for vegetable, tofu, shrimp stir fry
Storage containers, zip lock bags, mason jars: to store the meals or ingredients
3) Assign a day for grocery shopping or schedule your home delivery.
4) Organize the grocery list based on your diet under these categories:
5) Design a menu for the week. For every meal, aim for a portion of protein, carb and a healthy fat. I have listed some hacks to simplify the process.
For lunch and dinner, I typically prep two bases and cook three proteins and vegetable sides.
Bases: They take the least amount of time for cooking. Use readymade options like tortillas or frozen cauliflower rice and use the rice cooker to cook bulk quantities of rice/quinoa.
Proteins: Grill/bake a protein in a batch in the oven, cook any ground protein (turkey, tofu) with taco seasoning and another protein with a readymade sauce.
Vegetable sides: Use the oven to roast a batch of vegetables, use a crockpot to make bean chili or mixed vegetable stew and sauté greens on the gas cooktop.
I mix and match the above bolded components to curate delicious wholesome meals for the week.
6) Allot a day and a maximum of 1-2 hours for the actual prep.
7) Watch Netflix or listen to a podcast as you cook.
8) Once the food is prepared, allow it to cool down to room temperature before storing it in the refrigerator. Use sealed containers and dry spoons to prevent moisture from seeping in the food. These steps will prevent spoilage of food and will keep them fresh for at least 5 days.
Happy prepping and cooking!!!