Meal prep can save you some valuable time and keep your healthy eating habits on track. To make sure you can always grab a nutritious meal, check out these meal prep tips.
1. Pack Meals Right Away
One of the best meal prep tips is to pack your meals right after you’ve finished cooking or preparing them. Pre-portioning will help you avoid having too much at once. It will also ensure you’ve got enough left for the rest of the week.
2. Don’t Over-Prep
While it can be helpful to get inspiration online, don’t get in too deep at first. You should focus on your top priorities in the beginning. Like having a healthy breakfast you can grab in the morning. Then you can start adding other things as you want.
3. Break Up Prep Over Two Days if Needed
If your schedule is busy with work, kids, or just life in general, it might not be possible to dedicate an entire day to meal prep. It’s important to put aside that time every week, but if you don’t make meal prep fit into your schedule, then you’re not going to stick with it. Instead, break up your prep into two days.
4. Work from the Longest Recipe to the Shortest Recipe
Another good meal prep tip is to work in a timely fashion. That means starting on the dish that will take the longest to cook and then working on dishes that take less time. For example, you can start with a dish and then move on to oven recipes and then stovetop dishes. That way you’re not waiting around waiting for something to finish cooking.
5. Use Pre-Made or Frozen When Possible
Meal prep is all about having quick access to healthy food that will keep you on track for your weight loss goals. But that doesn’t mean everything in a meal needs to be made from scratch. You can find shortcuts by using frozen vegetables and pre-made sauces. Just make sure the nutritional content fits into your food plan.
6. Wash and Cute Produce ASAP
The best way to prevent produce from going to waste is to wash it and cut it as soon as you get home from the store. Pack small servings for grab-and-go snacks or set it aside for when you’re ready to meal prep. It saves food and time.
7. Use an App
There are lots of handy apps that can help you with meal prep. At Total Healthcare MD, we like Plan to Eat because it allows you to organize recipes, create meal plans, and make grocery lists. It’s a subscription app, but we think it’s well worth it.
Some other app options that don’t require a subscription include:
- Mealtime (the premium version is paid)
- Make My Plate
8. Batch Cook
Making a large amount of a certain recipe and freezing it for later is a great basic meal prep tip. If you are new to batch cooking, start with simple recipes. Another way to batch cook is to prepare a lot of basic ingredients that you can use in multiple recipes like roasted vegetables or quinoa.
9. Find Multi-Purpose Foods
One meal prep tip that will save you time and keep you eating healthy is to make foods that can be used in multiple ways. Make a dressing that can be used on a salade, as a vegetable dip, or as a marinade for meat or veggies. Other versatile foods include soup, chili, and beans.
10. Look to Themes for Inspiration
We all get stuck in a rut sometimes when trying to come up with meals. A good way to come up with new dishes is to find a fun theme for the week. You can choose cuisine from certain countries, or take advantage of seasonal produce.
11. Buy in Bulk (When it Makes Sense)
Buying from the bulk section of a supermarket can save money and packaging. However, make sure buying in bulk makes sense for you. Don’t over-buy things that you won’t use just because the price is good. Good things to buy in bulk include nuts, seeds, quinoa, and dried beans.
12. Keep the Pantry Stocked With Certain Foods
You’ll want to have variety in your meals to keep from getting bored, but there are some things that you should always have on hand. Keep your pantry stocked with foods like low-sodium canned goods, beans & legumes, nuts & seeds, and seasonings.
At Total Healthcare MD, we know that there is no one-size-fits-all weight loss plan. We will work with you to develop a plan that actually works for you by taking all aspects of your health into account. If you’re ready to start on the journey to a healthier life, call our Cary, NC weight loss clinic at (919) 436-3777 to make an appointment.