Cooking for yourself is the best way to eat clean, but most of us don’t have the time to cook each of our meals directly before eating. That’s where meal prep comes in handy. Meal prep is the act of preparing a few days’ worth of meals at once. It’s a great way to make sure you always have healthy meals on hand so you won’t be tempted to stop for a high-calorie takeout dinner on your way home. It’s also a great way to save time and money. When you plan and prepare your meals in advance, you only buy the ingredients you need for those meals, which means you’re not throwing away unused groceries. Cooking so much all at once might seem overwhelming, but with the right tools, it’s actually easy and fun! Here’s how to meal prep for beginners. Take charge of your eating habits!
1. Write down your goals.
Why have you decided to start meal prepping? Do you want to lose weight? Build muscle? Save time or money? Knowing your goals will help you decide which recipes to use, and writing them down somewhere where you can look at them will help motivate you to achieve them.
2. Choose a meal prep day.
Most people meal prep on Sundays, but you should choose the day and time that works best for you. If it helps, schedule it into your calendar, so you know it’s something you have to do that day. It will eventually become a habit.
3. Decide which meals you’re going to prep.
Start small. Don’t try to prep an entire week’s worth of meals in one shot. Start by prepping a few days’ worth of meals, or just one meal for each day of the week. Your schedule and habits will help you decide which meals to prep. If you have trouble getting up in the morning, prep a few days’ worth of breakfasts. If you hate cooking when you get home from work, prep a few days’ worth of dinners. Snacks are super easy to make in advance. Cut up some veggies and put them in individual bags, portion out some yogurt and nuts into small containers, or make your own protein bars. These Superfood Protein Bars are especially tasty.
4. Choose recipes.
Once you know your goals and which meals you’re going to focus on, choose your recipes. Start with recipes you already know and like. Don’t add another level of stress to your prepping by attempting brand new recipes. You can branch out and explore as you get more comfortable with your meal prep routine. SkinnyMs. has tons of great recipes to get you through the week! Try these 21 Make-Ahead Meals to Last All Week, or these 29 Clean Eating Options for Meal Planning.
5. Get the right containers.
You can use glass or plastic containers, but make sure they’re BPA-free. It’s also helpful to get stackable containers, so you can easily fit them into your fridge.
6. Make a shopping list.
Look at the recipes you’ve chosen, decide how many servings you want to make, and write down the ingredients you’ll need.
7. Go grocery shopping.
Stick to your list! Don’t get anything you don’t need! If you’re buying sauces, condiments, or other packaged items, check the ingredient lists. Whenever possible, stick to items that have few ingredients (all of which you can pronounce) and no added sugar.
Put on some good music, take out your ingredients, and start cooking!
Get a slow cooker to cut down on prep time, cook in bulk, and make freezer-friendly meals! Try these 15 Weight Watchers Dinners in Under 10 Minutes!
Cool kitchen gadgets can help get you excited to cook! Check out these 7 Affordable Must-Have Kitchen Gadgets!