In this post let’s talk about Meal Prep 101 for Beginners and how this can become a huge time saver in your life. The first time I started meal prepping was when I was doing a fitness challenge called the Bikini Series by the Tone it Up Girls. I know it sounds a bit cheesy but let’s still roll with it.
So, I purchase their program and they send me their recipe plan in a cute little cookbook with all their recipes. Sunday evening was meal prep time for the week and you could check in with their community on Instagram under the hashtag #tiumealprep to see all the girls prepping their food for the week.
Now, meal prep first started for me with fitness, but I soon realized the biggest advantage was not only eating healthy and delicious but saving a bunch of time during the week. Constantly thinking about what will I eat for lunch and where can I find delicious but healthy food close to the office is such a waste of time.
In this guide, I want to go over what is meal prep, how I think it can help you with your busy schedule while not compromising on your health. So, let’s do this!
What is Meal Prep 101 For Beginners?
Meal Prep means the process of scheduling time in once or twice a week to prepare your food for the week ahead of time. Now personally, I usually only meal prep for lunch, sometimes breakfast (not a huge breakfast eater here though) but you could meal prep your entire week of breakfast, lunch, and dinner in advance.
There are three common processes you can use to meal prep which are:
In batch cooking, you prepare a regular meal but just a much bigger portion of it. You then go and ahead and freeze the portions for later.
Individual Portioned Meals “Grab and Go”
You can prepare individually portioned meals and put them into your fridge to grab and go in the morning and take to work.
Prepped Ingredients “chopping, peeling, roasting”
Chopping and peeling veggies as well as or roasting meat in advance can serve you as great snacks between meals. Store them in containers in the fridge or little bags to go.
Meal Prep vs. Meal Prepping
People can get confused by the terms meal planning vs. meal prepping so I thought I would clarify this here. Meal prep is the process of scheduling in a block of time to prep and cook ingredients into meals for the week ahead. Meal planning, on the other hand, is planning out what recipes you want to eat on which days such as dinners or lunches in order for you to order or purchase the right foods you need for the week.
Why is Meal Prep Great and who is it for?
Meal prep can be a huge time saver. Not only save you time on a daily basis prepping your food but you only safe time deciding where to go and get food which is delicious yet healthy.
It also helps you stay on track if you have decided to eat more healthy or you want to follow a specific meal plan such as eating more fiber or more protein on the regular.
Personally, I especially love meal prep for lunchtime. It saves me so much time during lunch which I can use to do other things. Plus, I am never worried about not eating well and nourishing my body in the right way.
What are the downsides to Meal Prep?
Freshness can be something to have an eye out for when meal prepping. There are different amounts of time different foods can be stored for. And, some foods may hold up a long time but the freshness of the taste may change on day three or four.
Variety may be an issue as a batch cooking is a great way to save time instead of meal prepping 5 individual meals. However, as I personally only meal prepping for lunch I am sure to get in variety during my dinners.
Planning ahead also means deciding in advance what you will eat on a specific day. However, you may not be in the mood for that specific dish that day.
What are the Best Foods to meal Prep?
- Foods which are cooked
- Reheat well
- Easy to scale up or down
- Last long
Tools and Gear you can use
OK, I got it, how do I start Meal Prepping?
- Schedule Time to Meal Prep
- Select your Recipe which suits your needs
- Purchase Food
- Prepare your Storage Containers
- Prepare your Food
ProTips: Slow Cookers, One-pot, Instant Pots, and Sheet Pans are super easy and fast ways to cook up big portions of food.
Meal Prep Recipe Ideas
- 35 Sheet Pan Meal Prep Recipes
- 20 Keto Lunches to Take to Work
- 15 Meal Prep Ideas which will Safe your Sanity
- 45 Unique and Healthy Meal Prep Recipes
How long will my meals last?
Check the FDA’s guidelines for fridge and freezer meals to put together long-lasting and delicious meal ideas. https://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/ucm109315.pdf
That’s it. I hope you found this Meal Prep 101 For Beginners helpful. Let me know in the comments if you are new to meal prepping or if this is something you have been doing for years. Also, please let me know if you have more questions and I will sure to add more in-depth answers to the guide here.
For now, sending you all the Love