I’ve heard the term #meatlessmonday but have never adopted it as a routine for my weekly prep. Can meatless recipes be filling? Can meatless recipes be tasty? Are there meatless recipes my family will love, too? I’ve found the answer to all of those questions is YES, and pulled together the meatless recipes from my […]Meatless Monday Recipe Guide
A Beginner’s Guide to Weekday Meal Prep
Meal prepping involves preparing the key ingredients of a meal (e.g., grains, roasted vegetables, cooked protein) or an entire recipe before eating it. This smart way of meal planning makes it faster, healthier and less stressful to prepare meals a week in advance. Meal prepping saves valuable (and sometimes hectic!) time after work and can significantly change the way you spend your weeknight dinners, as you can get a nutritious meal on the table in no time.
There are different methods of meal preparation, but basically, they all organize the ingredients in the refrigerator to prepare simple appetizers or to facilitate breakfast, lunch or dinner. This applies to both chopping ingredients and preparing them.
Different ways to prepare meals
What you need to know about meal preparation is that there is no one way. The best way to succeed is to analyze what suits your needs and adopt those practices.
Here are some of the most popular ways to prepare meals
Prepared meals: these are complete meals prepared in advance that you can freeze or store in the refrigerator and reheat when needed.
Batch cooking: This involves making large batches of a recipe – such as chili – that can be frozen for weeks or months and reheated when needed.
Meal-by-meal: This involves making sandwiches, wraps and salads and storing them in the refrigerator for easy eating on the go.
Ready-to-cook ingredients: Meal prep doesn’t always have to be done in individual servings. If you prepare the ingredients you need for the week, such as cut vegetables, in advance, you can cut down on cooking time.
The type of meal preparation you choose depends on your needs and situation. If you need more time in the morning, smaller meals that you can eat before leaving the house can be useful. On the other hand, if you don’t have much time in the evening, you can resort to ready-made meals and ready-to-eat meals.
Advantages of meal prep
Before we do that, let’s consider why you should start preparing meals.
Diet and nutrition – If you are dieting or want to provide your body with nutrients, it makes sense to plan your meals or have them already prepared.
Healthy – If you plan all your meals and snacks, you won’t have to shop at the supermarket. You are more likely to avoid take-out dinners and other unhealthy options. Planning ahead can also help you make healthier menu choices.
Snack Less – If you want to reduce your calorie intake and avoid unhealthy temptations, meal preparation can help. You can make sure you eat meals that will keep you full longer.
Save money: you’ll know exactly what foods you’ll need for the week, which makes budgeting easier.
Convenience: it may seem tedious at first, but you’ll thank yourself every time you sit down to a nutritious meal that you’ve prepared ahead of time throughout the week.
Meal prep to lose weight:
Meal prepping has long been touted in the fitness world as a way to get the most out of your diet. Proponents see it as a time- and money-saving way to stay on track and lose weight. But what is meal preparation called and is it worth the hype?
Done right, meal preparation can be one of the most important factors when it comes to losing weight fast and reaching your fitness goals. But it takes a bit of strategy to do it right and prepare meals you can enjoy for weeks or longer. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of our favorite meal prep ideas for weight loss, including recipes, meal planning strategies, and ways to keep boredom at bay.
Is there a drawback to meal preparation?
Since meal preparation often involves eating the same dish or type of food for several days in a row, it’s not for people who value variety and freshness above all else. Getting kids to eat “leftovers” can also be a challenge, especially when you have to adapt to different eating habits or tastes. To keep things from getting too monotonous, you can add different spices, herbs or seasonings to your dishes, or freeze some of the prepared food to include in a later week’s meals.
Is preparing meals for a week healthy?
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture , it is not recommended to store cooked food for more than a few days. However, if you like to eat spoilage bacteria in addition to colorful, healthy foods, that’s another matter.
How to Reduce the Time Spent Preparing Meals?
Cooking is often a pleasure. But sometimes you may be tired from a busy schedule and want to rush cooking without compromising the quality of the food.
Here are some tips to help you cut down on cooking time.
Set aside a specific amount of time for food shopping and preparation. Otherwise, you may not get organized and the whole process may get bogged down. Try to set aside a fixed time each week to prepare meals, such as Sunday morning or Monday evening. This will help you stick to a tight schedule and time frame.
Pay attention to the recipes you choose: It may take some time to get used to the rhythm, but you will notice an improvement in your cooking efficiency. Choose recipes with different cooking methods. If too many things are used in the oven, you may have to wait all day for each item to be ready.
A good rule of thumb is to choose one recipe for the oven and two recipes for the cooktop. That way, they can be cooked at the same time. In the meantime, you can prepare something that doesn’t need to be heated, such as a sandwich or salad.
Organize the preparation and cooking time: a planned workflow also saves a lot of time. Start with recipes that require a longer cooking time, such as soups and casseroles. Once those are done, focus on cold foods like sandwiches. Also check recipes ahead of time. If two recipes call for chopped onions, chop them all at once.
Create a shopping list: While this is not for cooking, it is still a part of the whole process. Having a shopping list can save you a lot of time, as you can safely move through the store without having to stop and try to remember what you need.