"To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art"
As to eat intelligently is an art, for this, you have to prepare your meal which will be healthful. This is the most important requirement for a long and healthy life. Here in this article, I’ll give you a review of everything you should know about Meal Prepping.
In our daily life, we hardly get time to manage our daily meals which are beneficial for us. Now in this hassle, what if you find a way to save your daily time by not having to look- up a recipe, buy groceries, clean, wash and cook all the ingredients required for your meal. What a blessed life it would be, right?
I have a solution to this and it is very simple: meal prep. Most people don’t know what it is? Rather than going through the grinding daily routine as mentioned above, you choose to plan and prepare most or all of your meals in advance. That means you make your lunch a day before, as in the form of batches, or you could also precook all of your food and portion it out throughout the week in grab-and-go containers. Meal prep can easily be adapted to your cooking expertise, lifestyle, and daily preferences.
Meal Prep is a great helping tool for office-going people and family homes especially in their busy mornings or lunches.
The Benefits of Meal Prepping
Meal prep is a great practice. Following are the points to highlight the benefits of Meal Prep:
1. Save your Time
Meal prep is the biggest hack for saving time. When you already have simply pre-chopped ingredients resting in your kitchen or you have already cooked all your meals for a week each Sunday, it’ll be the biggest blessing to know when you are back from a long tiring day. You’ll be grateful that you don’t have to go to the store or even cook. This will let you have some self-time or like in my case time to play with kids, work out or enjoy a nice, warm shower because you deserve the best
2. Save your Money
Cost control comes with your portion control. Meal-prep also helps in pricing out food in advance. You will save your money because you will not have to order every lunch or dinner. You can also choose your meal-prep recipes based on sales at the grocery stores.
3. Temptation Removal
When you are hungry and have nothing to eat, which is likely to happen daily. The quickest delivery & easily accessible thing is fast food or leftover of the pastry. Now if you’d have options, you won’t give in to these temptations. Meal Prepping ensures that you always option which would be suitable for your dietary needs. And it helps you stick to your diet easily.
4. Manage your Hunger
Meal prepping is a great help in managing your hunger as you can eat as soon as you are hungry and you won’t have to sit around to decide. This will also help in preventing overeating because you won’t be as insanely famished.
5. Total Control
Pre-planning your food gives you total control over your future meals. You can manage your calories and balance out the usage of unwanted ingredients like added sugar, salts, and fats. You ensure the best quality for yourself. It is really helpful for weight loss and maintenance.
6. Stress Remover
Diet plays a major role in our mental health as well. You get more drained easily when you’re too lazy to make healthier choices. It can help in reducing the stress that comes with trying to eat healthier. Solving these decisions frees up your willpower and mental stress makes you active so you can reach your goals easily.
7. Reduces Waste
When you have a meal-prep routine established, you’ll know exactly how much of each ingredient you need, which also cuts down on food waste. You’ll never again have to witness your fruits and veggies rot away.
Herbal Chef Jahbria teaching private cooking lessons at her office.
Tips for Easy Meal Prep
Preparing meals is not as scary as it sounds, thinking your whole Sunday would be wasted. Or you are afraid your meals might get tedious or bland that you have to eat from the same jar. Well, you don’t want that.
The fact is, you don’t have to worry. The only important thing is you do it with the right plan. If you’re determined to make your life easy, losing weight, meal prep is your savior.
I have tips for you to help in securing your success that I use for my meal prep business and family.
Start with the Small Steps
Give attention to the most important things at first. As in, if you eat dinner outside, then start with it. Or start with your lunch, breakfast, or post-workout meal.
Start with Simple
Add on things over time. But initially make things simple which are easily manageable. Pick up raw proteins, veggies to begin with. You can make it easy for you by buying pre-chopped veggies, canned, or frozen items which will also help in minimizing the time. With gradual experience, you can also add some more advanced recipes to your meal-preps.
Get yourself a Check-list
A grocery list is a major help in your meal-prep. Write down all the needs, ahead of time, don’t forget to include items like spices and any other prep tool you would need, like baking sheets or tinfoil. Your 1st visit might be a big investment, but once you’re in a routine, you have a good idea of the ingredients you would need for your recipes.
Make Cleanup a Habit
Big freezer bags, tinfoil, and spray would be a big help in simplifying the prep process. Toss the ingredients in the bag to marinade and even coating. Followed by roasting or baking, the tinfoil and pan will be ready for another round. Keep a count on dishwashing so you don’t get a big pile of it
Knife up Your Skills
Chopping ingredients in similarly sized pieces would be a big help in cooking evenly. But one thing should be considered that they may need to cook separately as soft veggies like yellow squash and sturdy veggies like broccoli and carrots cannot be cooked at the same temperature. If you put them on the same pan, you’d end up with a mixture of undercooked and burned veggies.
The order should be monitored
Multitasking is more time-saving. Start the baking at first then move to microwave and stove cooking. Roast the sturdy while you sauté the chicken breast as well. Potatoes are quickly baked in the microwave; you can easily find steamable veggies at grocers.
Frozen is Good
Frozen fruits and vegetables are as nutritious as fresh ones. As they are frozen immediately, they have the same nutrients integrity as compared to the fresh alternatives. Moreover, they last longer than fresh.
It is always good to weigh the items in large amounts if you are going for the bulk meal preps. It will help you in determining the yield. This way you will have a better idea of the quantity you need to purchase in your next visit. It will help in avoiding food wastage and emergency trips to stores.
Freezing and Reheating
You can freeze and reheat meals that you have cooked, and mostly, this doesn’t have any effect on the taste. But there are some exceptions like cooked potatoes and leafy veggies do not stay fresh after reheating. Always test your recipe with small batches.
Safety of Food
Cooked food usually remains safe for three to four days in the fridge. You can freeze it for a few months, in case you were not able to finish it in the specified time. Using an erasable marker on the prepped containers and a permanent marker on containers that go into the freezer to have a date it was prepared or frozen. Refrigerate food within 2 hours but it is better if you do it immediately.
With experience you will come up with your own best ideas to meal preps. You can also try new techniques and recipes with the time. It’s a great experience to sharp up your culinary skills and being a chef.