How To Meal Prep Like A Total Pro
Does the word “meal prep” give you chills? We know, it seems daunting. Who wants to commit an entire day over the weekend to make meals in advance when there are delis and ramen ready for pickup? Well, we’re here to make you a meal prep believer.
So how exactly do you start the process? First, you’re not going to spend your entire Sunday cooking. At least, not every Sunday. Also note that though breakfast meal prep is great (and you can follow the steps below with your favorite breakfast foods), we’re really focusing on lunch and dinner here.
Stage 1: Monthly Prep
The strategy: One Sunday each month, clear at least half the day to make a few big meals that will freeze well. A few good examples are lasagna, casseroles, quiche, chili and other thick soups. We suggest you make two or three meals.
Once they’re made, have plastic wrap or Ziploc bags handy. Cut or scoop individual servings and wrap them up. Squeeze any air out to preserve freshness and label the outside with the name of the dish and when you made it. (For example: chili, 5/24/17.) Freeze the food until you’re ready to eat it.
You can get up to 8 to 12 servings from each meal, which means you could have up to 36 individually-wrapped meals ready to eat. These will especially come in handy if you’re tired of eating any meals you made earlier in the week and want to switch it up.
Phase 2: Weekly Prep
This prep requires a little more work, just because you’ll need a chunk of time on Sunday or Monday. But the best part of weekly prep is that you can use fresher ingredients and just store what you make in your fridge all week without needing to defrost.
The strategy: Make one fairly big meal (enough to make three to four reasonable servings) on Sunday, and another fairly big meal on Monday. You’ll get up to six to eight portions between the two meals, plus you can rotate in two to three frozen individual meals you made in step one throughout the week.
If you’re still looking for a little more variety than four to five meals a week, we suggest roasting your proteins with three to four vegetables and throwing them into different meals every day, like a salad or a stir-fry. For example, we made chicken meatballs and vegetables in advance. Then, we used them for a pasta dish one night and a Sriracha stir-fry another night. That’s the beauty of multi-purposing!
Phase 3: The I-Don’t-Give-A-F***-I-Just-Want-Pizza Prep
Yep, we feel you. Don’t deprive yourself — feel free to order one lunch and one dinner out a week if you can’t ignore those cravings. Allowing yourself to indulge once or twice a week is important, especially if you’re meal prepping to lose weight.
So, guys, that wasn’t so bad, right?! You can still get a ton of variety in your weekly meal rotation. You’re guaranteed to save money in the long run and you’ll have more free time to think about other stuff than “shit, I forgot to pick up ingredients for dinner tonight.”
We believe in you, so get cooking!