7 Meal Prepping Tricks...
I have to admit, I’m lucky in the fact that I find cooking extremely therapeutic. When I have had a long, hard day I look forward to preparing myself something in the kitchen. Its 30-45 minutes where I can ONLY focus on what I am doing. Everything else seems to leave my mind and all I focus on is the ingredient list and the process. During my uni-days, especially around exam times, I would often procrasti-cook, meal prepping an excessive amount of meals.
Cooking is a great de-stressor for me and helps me to find my calm again. I also love preparing meals for other people. I never do anything that fancy, and I am almost never in the kitchen for more than an hour but I always put effort and love into my meals. And whats better then giving someone you love a meal that you have thoughtfully prepared for them, that you know will nourish and satiate them?
Although I find it hard to believe, I know not everyone is into cooking and least of all meal prepping. Its just not everyones cup of tea. So here are a few hacks I’ve learnt over the past couple of years:
1. Cook individual bits of meal in bulk and seperate them into small portions
for example bake half a kilo of chicken breast, then seperate into portioned out (I normally do ~ 100-150g) into zip lock bags. Pop half in the freezer and eat the rest within the next 2-3 days
You can do this with basically anything - e.g. boil up a big pot of rice and put it into serving sizes that can be easily frozen and added to any meal you want
By storing each part of the meal separately, it means you can mix and match proteins and carbs depending on what you feel like. Also means you're not always eating the same meal over and over again.
2. Have good storage containers / cooking apparatus
Different sizes and shapes allow for easy storage and a variety of meals
Big enough baking dishes and frying pans so that you can cook in bulk will also be very helpful
3. Buy an assortment of spices and sauces
This means you don’t have to think about how you will season your meat each time you cook it because you have it on hand at home
Sauces like tomato, bbq, salsa, mustard, vinegar, salad dressings, that you can add to any meal and can completely change up the flavour
The above will also help you from getting bored of the same meal by adding something slightly different to it
4. Think about your schedule
Schedule in regular times 1-2 x per week you will meal prep.
Think ahead - when are you going out to dinner this week? Is work taking you out for lunch this week? Will you have a free week night to meal prep?
A small amount of planning will enable you to better think about the meals you do have to prep and save you from wasting
Think about how many meals you will need throughout the course of the week e.g. how many breakfasts, lunch and dinners and make your shopping list according to this
5. Shopping list
Consider about how many meals you will need and what for (e.g. lunch, post workout), then write down everything you need.
Stick to the list - you'll make better choices as your less likely to buy off impulse (oops bought a whole block of chocolate) and bonus you'll save money too.
Obviously still plan for some treats within your shopping list, because you’re only human and you need dat ice cream for your soul girl.
6. Pre-prepped / frozen / non-perishable foods
I am an advocate of DIY-ing it; normally its cheaper and you get to have more control over what you're eating
BUT, things like frozen vegetable mixes and chopped up salad mixes are a really good way to get lots of veggies in and save you some time
Also its good to have on hand some tins of tuna or microwave rice for those times where you don’t have time or want to wait to bake a chicken breast etc.
7. Eat the foods you like
You are much more likely to enjoy cooking and eating your meal prep if its foods that you truly like - research 2-3 recipes that some easy and quick to cook with your favourite foods
If you really like a food from a certain restaurant try and re-create it. Obviously don't try recreating a 5 star meal but I love making burrito bowls much like the ones you get from Guzman y Goemaz.
Thats it from me! I hope you feel a little bit more inspired to get into the kitchen and get your chef hat on. I normally would never spend more then 45-60 minutes meal prepping max twice a week, and I would say I eat my own food 85-90% of the time. You don't need to spend hours in the kitchen and it doesn't have to be boring, but it also doesn't need to be complicated. Just eat the foods you love, ones that are most natural and that ones that make you feel the best.
If you like what you have seen here, and you want a nutrition plan that actually works for you (not against you!) maybe its time we worked together. I'm taking on a limited number of clients to help improve their relationship with food AND be happy with their body shape. Click here to get started.