If you have ever wanted to enter into the meal prep game, this is your chance! Preparing meals with anticipation is one of those things that seem hard and exhausting for a lot of people, but truthfully, it’s quite easy once you get used to it and saves you lots of time. Easy meal prep once and eat all week! Basically, the idea of meal prep is simple: choose a day (usually Sundays) to do your grocery shopping and prepare it when you get home, focusing on organizing it so you don’t have to waste time preparing food multiple times a day every day when you have to run to school, work, internships or any other activity that’s keeping you busy.
Obviously, planning is the most important part when it comes to meal prep. You need to stay organized to make this work, but it really is easier than it sounds. First, determine these things:
- What day are you shopping and cooking?
It should always be on the same day or at least one day apart from the other so your food stays fresh the longest.
- What will you be shopping?
Determine what do you want to eat that week before shopping. First, you’ll save time once you are at the super market instead of hopelessly roaming the aisles. Second, it will save you money, since roaming without direction usually leads to on the spot decision buying. And lastly, it can get a little boring to eat the same food every day of the week, this way you can prevent that.
- What are your nutritional goals?
Do you want to add more protein to your diets? Go low in carbs? Do you really have no preference, but just really want to stay organized? That’s fine. Normally, you should follow something along these lines:
1 Protein + 1 Vegetable + 1 Healthy Carb
Proteins: Beef, chicken, turkey, fish, lamb, eggs, beans, etc.
Vegetables: Broccoli, carrots, lettuce, kale, spinach, onions, tomato, etc.
Carbs: Quinoa, brown rice, sweet potato, lentils, whole wheat pasta, plantain, etc.
Once you get home from the grocery store, start prepping your food. You can follow any order that works for you, but here’s a suggestion:
- Season your meat
Determine how much of the meat you bought you will need for the week, the season it to your liking and wait for a moment so it gathers flavor.
- Wash your fruits and vegetables
Cut them into slices or cubes, dry as much water as possible, and then store them in containers or Ziploc bags the ones you will eat raw (fruits, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, onions, etc.), and season and cook the ones you will want to roast or steam (carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, etc.)
- Cook your meat
You can cook on the stove or the oven, but the oven is easier when you are cooking many things at once.
- Cook your carbs
Use a rice maker or slow maker to make your carbs, this is the easiest part. They practically cook themselves.
Store and label
Buy plastic containers (get the ones that are reusable, microwave and dishwasher safe, and BPA free) and Ziploc bags and label them with the contents inside of them with a Sharpie marker or dry erase markers. You have two options:
- Make a lunch box for every day of the week with the protein, carb, and vegetable and label them “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…” so you only have to grab them and get out of the house every day
- Put all your proteins, vegetables and carbs into different containers.
- Won’t the food spoil?
If all the food you bought was fresh, you prepare it immediately, and you have a functioning fridge, it shouldn’t. Proteins should last 3-5 days once they are cooked (except fish, which spoils much faster) as well as most carbs. Vegetables and fruits can stay fresh up to 5 days if you make sure they are completely dry when you store them, and you can always freeze them if you realize you won’t eat all of them during the week. You could even make smoothies!
- How long does it take to make?
It depends on your routine, how elaborate the recipes you make are, and for how many people you are cooking, but usually, it shouldn’t take you more than 2 hours to prepare and then you are free all week!
- Tips for snacks?
Try to buy snacks that come already packed for you. Examples are yogurt (but make sure they have more protein than sugar!), protein bars (again, that are not filled with sugar), fruits that you don’t need to cut (grapes, cherries, bananas, blueberries, apples, pears, peaches, tangerines, etc), a protein shake in your favorite flavor (once again, be mindful of sugar…)
- I’m leaving home in the morning and coming back in the afternoon. What can I eat?
You eat what you want to eat and what makes sense to you in terms of food preferences, cooking skills, nutritional needs, etc. But if you really want an example, here you have one:
Breakfast at home (approx: 9:00 AM)
1 boiled egg (great source of protein) + 1 piece of wheat toast with cottage cheese
- What to bring to work/school/college, etc:
Midmorning (approx: 10:30 AM): 1 yogurt in your favorite flavor, high in protein and low in fats and sugars.
Lunch (approx: 12:30 PM): 1 piece of grilled chicken + roasted carrots, mushrooms, and onions + quinoa
Midafternoon (approx: 3:00 PM): 1 tangerine
Leaving work/college/internship, etc (approx: 5:00 PM): 1 chocolate-flavored protein bar
We hope you found a new and yummy way to prepare your food! Meal prep saves you time, helps you to stay healthy, and keep you energized throughout the day. If you loved our guide to easy meal prep, show us your best food Instagram by tagging us on our blog’s Instagram @glamandgowns, or Faviana’s Instagram @Faviana_NYand Twitter @FavianaNY! Don’t forget to subscribe to our Youtube channel for more exciting vlogs!