Meal prepping is a trend that has been around for the last decade and is highly popular among the time conscious, the shift workers, the busy parents and everyone in between. Meal prepping has been a particular trend in the health community in recent years, with many well-known celebrities, chefs and media personalities all sharing content around their meal prepping activity.
There are many benefits to meal prepping, yet it isn’t always as easy as it seems to become the perfect meal prepper. After doing one search of Pinterest or Instagram, you could be left wondering where to start. However, meal prepping does not need to be as complicated or elaborate as it may seem on social media.
Below, we’ll take a look at how to prepare meals, what kinds of things are good to meal prep and everything you need to know in between.
What is meal prepping exactly?
Meal prepping is the habit of preparing a dish and then portioning it into smaller sizes that you can eat for the next 3 to 7 days. It’s a bit like having leftovers the next day, only you intentionally create the meals as a grab and go to suit your needs.
What kinds of foods are good for meal prepping?
It can be difficult to know what works when meal prepping as the dish needs to last in the fridge from anywhere between 3 days and one week. First of all, you need to think about your own individual tastes and what will be appealing to you after a few days. Remember, this will be a meal you eat over and over again so if you get bored easily then meal prepping may not be for you.
Some of the best meal prep foods include wholegrains like pasta as it lasts for a while and does not lose its texture when being stored or reheated. You can also use cooked meats, beans, roasted vegetables, nuts and seeds and cheese. All natural jerky is also an excellent nutritious option as it provides lots of energy and does not go bad quickly.
Fresh fruit is also a great option, but you should be careful which ones you choose as many fruits only have a shelf life of a couple of days in the fridge and can go moldy or squishy quite easily.
What is the purpose of meal prepping?
There are a number of reasons why people meal prep. Some people like to control the exact nutritional content of their meals by counting the macros and micros, therefore preparing the same dish every day with the same amount of protein, vegetables and carbs is ideal.
On the other hand, many people meal prep to save both time and money. In today’s busy schedule where we don’t have much time left after work, it can be easier and kinder on our wallets to batch cook a recipe and portion it out into boxes for the week.
There’s also the fact that meal prepping helps with impulse control as it stops us from purchasing fast food on the go at lunchtime if we’re short for time or not feeling making something then and there.
Meal prep ideas
So, now you know what the best ingredients are for meal prepping, it’s time to put them all together. Below are some helpful ideas for what dishes to meal prep.
- Freeze blended smoothies.
- Spiralized vegetables in advance
- Chicken and rice (chicken is so versatile and can be seasoned in a variety of ways)
- Roast vegetables with the same cooking time
- Oatmeal jars
- Ready bagged up smoothie ingredients.
As you can see, meal prepping need not be as difficult or extravagant as it sometimes seems. Even if you don’t want to cook a whole dish, try something simple at first like meal prepping your breakfast and see how much easier it makes your life.