If you are someone who aims to save time, money or just eat a healthier diet, meal prepping can help you achieve your goals. Meal planning is allotting a block of time once a week to prepare for all your upcoming meals. In contrast to meal planning where you follow recipes to fit your schedule best, meal prepping is the act of preparing meals or ingredients ahead of time and then storing them for future use. Whether you prefer making and freezing entire meals ahead of time, preparing meals in individual containers for quick on-the-go lunches, or chopping and storing ingredients ahead of time, meal prepping allows you to reduce food, save money, and eat a healthier diet, too. Ready to get started? Here are a few ways you can be successful when it comes to your first meal prep.
Start small Preparing an entire week’s worth of meals can be overwhelming for someone just starting with meal prep. You might be more comfortable starting with just a few meals a week or picking just dinners, lunches, or snacks. You can already inject positive changes to your meal planning habits wherever you begin!
Make a checklist It is good to write down the things you need to do during your weekly meal prepping sessions. Gather all your recipes and come up with a shopping list of the items you will need. This will help you have all the right ingredients when the prep day arrives.
Invest in containers Doing meal prep means you will be making meals or preparing ingredients for several days of meals all at one go. This is why investing in a set of quality food storage containers that you can reuse multiple times is important. As it could take a few weeks before you figure out how many containers you will really need, so it would be good to start with a medium-size set and then just add more containers as needed. Keep in mind that glass containers are more eco-friendly and usually last longer than plastic.
Gather ingredients Just before prep day arrives, begin gathering the ingredients on your shopping list. Your pantry is the best place to start shopping. Take stock of what you have on hand and what you actually need to buy. Rotating the food in your pantry regularly is also a good way to avoid wasting money on expired food items. Another good idea is to find recipes that make use of what you already have to maximize your meal prep efficiency.
Schedule enough time Meal prepping can take several hours, depending on how many and what type of meals you are preparing. Set aside a sizable chunk of time for your weekly meal prepping sessions. As much as possible, do your meal prepping on the same day of the week and, at the same time, make it a consistent part of your new meal planning system.
Prep smart Even if your ultimate goal is to prep everything fresh or from scratch, be at liberty to take a few shortcuts as the need arises. If you don’t like chopping vegetables or if it takes too much of your time, go ahead and buy pre-cut vegetables instead. Also, this is not yet the time to go for big or elaborate meals. While it is desirable to include all the basic food groups in your meal plan, feel free to scale back your meal prepping a bit if you find yourself struggling to keep up. The more efficiency you have in your meal prepping sessions, the greater the chances you will be consistently doing it every week.
Finally, keep in mind that meal prepping is different for everyone. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different approaches until you find the system that suits your lifestyle best.
Are you in the market for a Charleston rental home with a kitchen where you can comfortably meal prep? Contact Real Property Management Charleston to view listings near you, or check out our available rentals online!
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.