There are many benefits to meal prep, including saving time, money, and reducing food waste. By planning and preparing meals in advance, you can save time during the week and avoid the temptation to order takeout or eat unhealthy convenience foods. Meal prep also allows you to buy ingredients in bulk and use them for multiple meals, which can save money on your monthly grocery bill.
- Set Goal
- Find a day that works for you
- Take inventory of what you have
- Create your budgets
- Get organized
- Create meal plans
- Cook it and store it
Do you have goals?
Preparing your own meals is a smart decision that can have a positive impact on your life. There are many reasons for why you want to cook your own meals. To start, you need to establish your goals:
- Cut costs
- Eat Healthier
- Save time
- Reduce Stress
Schedule a time that works for you
Schedules are hectic and there never seems to be time. Like any discipline you need to set aside time and stick to a weekly regiment. That being said, this is not meant to be strict. If you enjoy cooking, this can be fun. But it does require a commitment to your schedule. Whether you plan to cook once or twice a week, select a day or days where you can dedicate two or three hours and block it on your calendar.
Sunday afternoons are my favorite time because I know I will have dishes ready to go during the week that are relatively fresh. Find a time that works and stick to it.
Take an inventory of what you already have
Meal prep isn’t just pulling together a bunch of recipes. It is also getting creative with ideas, finding uses for individual ingredients in multiple meals and sometimes figuring out what you can make with what you have in your pantry, fridge and freezer.
In creating this list, you can then start looking at ideas on what you can make out of these ingredients. Perhaps you have most of what you need and a quick trip to the store for a few missing items is all that is required.
From a financial point of view, you need to budget
Moving forward, you will want to be intentional about your meals. If one of your goals was to save money on monthly groceries, you will definitely want to plan out your recipes and set a limit on how much you are willing to spend. This is where people can often go wrong and end up in the store picking out items because of all of the ideas they have at the moment.
You don’t have to skimp on what you purchase. There is no rule saying you can’t have steak because it costs more than chicken. But knowing the portions you will use and the number of recipes dishes you can make out of this one protein is going to give you a better handle on how much you spend.
Creativity is at the heart of meal prep. By limiting your budget, you will find that this helps you to focus on ways to make those ingredients work for you.
Organization is a key element
Depending on the size of your family, planning and storing meals for multiple days not only takes up room, but can often use a lot of existing containers and become unmanageable.
Proper storage containers will make it easier to store meals and allow you to keep track of what you are going to eat next. Keeping food safety in mind and knowing the stability of the dish will make it easy to determine if they need to stay cold or frozen. Make sure you have enough containers for either individual servings or entire meals.
Meal Preparation is all about planning
Cooking one meal can have its complications. For some, the idea of cooking 9 meals for the following three days may seem impossible. Do not get overwhelmed.
As you get more comfortable with recipes and budgeting, you will start planning more details and develop better purchasing habits.
By creating a meal prep plan, you can take control of your food choices and ensure that you’re eating healthy, nutritious meals every day. Meal plans are essential to help you save time and money. By planning in advance, you can make a grocery list and buy only what you need, eliminating the need for last-minute trips to the store. You can also cook your meals in batches, which can save time in the long run. For example, when eggs are on sale we purchase extra that week and we cook a large amount of scrambled in a batch. From that we can make English muffin sandwiches, wraps, bowls, and biscuits. We place the breakfast meals in the freezer for meals throughout the month.
Planning your meals in advance helps to make sure that you are eating a balanced diet with the right mix of nutrients. You can also make sure that you’re getting enough fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats.
Cook it and then store it
From here, you follow your recipes and get multiple days worth of meals created in a short amount of time. As you work on one, you can start putting your finished meal away in storage containers in the fridge or freezer. When everything is complete, you now have a menu set up that allows you and your family to know exactly what they will be eating for the foreseeable future and the peace of mind that they are eating a healthy, balanced diet, which can improve their overall health and well-being. This also can provide grab and go meal choices so everyone does not have to eat the same meal/ Your entire family can sit down and eat a meal together but everyone can have their own healthy choice.
With a little education, motivation, and guidance you can easily learn the skills you need to be a great meal prepper.
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