Not many people fully understand the true importance of meal prep. Not only does it cut down your time in deciding what to cook on a daily basis, but it also helps you stay on track with your weight goals, improve your overall health, and save money from not eating out or knowing what to buy at the grocer.
Of course, prepping almost a week’s worth of meals might sound complex, but it gets easy as soon as you get the hang of it. Here are some pointers for you to get going:
Make it simple
The first step is not to panic and incorporate too many things into a meal prep. Start with what you know and are comfortable with, and you can mix and match different components with each other (as outlined in the meal prep example below).
Then, work out how many meals you need in a week, factoring in things like meals with clients, travel, dates, etc. so you don’t end up overcooking.
What to include
The next step is to make a menu. Decide what makes a nutritionally balanced meal – we would suggest an average of 40g of protein (from lean options), 60g of unrefined carbs and about 20g of fat (healthy fat like cheese or avocadoes) per meal. And, you don’t have to have a new meal each day.
Once you’ve organised a menu, list out all the ingredients you’ll need from the grocer and go get them in advance. Try not to do this on the same day as your meal prep, otherwise it can get too overwhelming.
When to prepare
Pick a day to prepare your meals. Most people choose to do it on a Sunday and if one day is too overwhelming, you can split it across multiple days.
Since you’ve already organised your plan, get cooking. Some people choose to fully prepare all their meals, while some prefer to partially make them and complete them the night before or the morning of.
How to store them
Once you’ve made your meals, let them cool and pack them into proper containers. Make sure they’re air-tight, BPA-free, clear (so you know what’s in them) and of the same size for portion control.
And as a guide, if you’re preparing all your food ahead of time, we suggest that you keep food in the fridge for up to two or three days (max) and anything that’s meant for anytime later, should be frozen. We don’t want you to end up with any sort of food poisoning.
Here’s an example of what a weekday meal plan should look like:
|Mon||Granola with 1 cup low-fat yogurt and 1 cup fruit of your choice||Chicken, roast tomatoes and capsicum and brown rice bowl (you can include a sauce of choice)||Beef meatballs bolognese with zucchini spaghetti|
|Tue||Scrambled eggs with spinach and onion||Tuna wrap with salad greens and cheddar cheese||Chicken, roast tomatoes and capsicum and brown rice bowl (you can include a sauce of choice)|
|Wed||Granola with 1 cup low-fat yogurt and 1 cup fruit of your choice||Chicken salad with salad greens, walnuts, croutons and avocado||Beef meatballs bolognese with zucchini spaghetti|
|Thur||Omelette with tomato and capsicum||Tuna wrap with salad greens and cheddar cheese||Chicken quesadilla with onion, capsicum and cheddar cheese|
|Fri||1 wholemeal / whole wheat apple, date and walnut muffin||Chicken salad with salad greens, walnuts, croutons and avocado||Dinner out|