There are multiple reasons and motivations for wanting to start meal prepping, from health goals to saving time on weekdays or simply to stay more organised. Whatever the reason, meal prepping ahead of time is gaining ground.
To make meal prepping a meaningful exercise, you need to stay focused on maintaining the nutritional content of your meals while catering to the different nutritional requirements of individual family members and their food preferences. Meal prepping can easily slip into a boring eat-the-same-everyday affair if not thought through carefully.
Shopping for your groceries is an important pre-step in the meal prep process that requires time and effort. If you have little time to spare you can order a family favourites box that contains everything you need to turn out your weekly meal plan.
Approach your weekly meal prep. Like you would a work assignment. There is a process to achieving the time and effort saving you are after. Here’s an action plan to follow.
Prepare a Meal Plan
Good meal prepping starts with a realistic meal plan. The plan will contain what you are willing to spend time on cooking and eating for the next 7 days. Map out your three meals for 7 days in your plan. If you want to eat out during the week/weekend, then mention that, so you have a realistic outline of the dishes for each meal occasion and shopping for the week.
Plan for Overlapping Ingredients
When planning your meals try to use the same ingredients in different dishes to cut down on shopping time and prepping time. For example, you can buy enough carrots for soup a stir-fry, a smoothie and as an ingredient in a savoury baked dish.
Prepare Your Grocery List
Grocery shopping is your second pre-step in the meal-prepping process. First make a list of items you need to turn out your meals, then go through your fridge and pantry to check what you already have with you and then adjust your list accordingly. save money on what is not required.
Do Your Shopping
To make your grocery shopping trip efficient, plan to do it on the way back home from another activity and designate a day and time for it. That way you won’t miss shopping for the week because you got caught up in other work.
Decide on Your Prepping Technique
Do you want to cut up all the veg and fruit and store them in portions right away or do you want to only apportion your cleaned items based on the quantities required for each dish and store them along with the rest of the ingredients required for that dish.
Plan your shopping for the weekend when you have time to spare. Start washing your fruit and veg. and portioning your meat and preparing for your meals as soon as you get home so that you save time on storing the food you bought and taking it out again later for your meal prepping.