5 Expert Meal Prep Tips That Save You Time
Contrary to popular belief, meal prep doesn’t have to be complicated or laborious.
The entire point is to simplify your life – making eating healthy easier to achieve.
It can be easy to get overwhelmed as you are scrolling through your social media feeds and seeing what everyone else is doing; I know I’m guilty of following meal prep experts. Though it can be inspirational, it can also leave you feeling like there is no way you could achieve their skill level.
The basics of meal prep should be simple. As fitness pros – we’ve spent a lot of time perfecting this craft and teaching it to others.
Batch Prepare Your High-Protein Foods
Buying and prepping your high protein foods (i.e. chicken) can save you both some serious cash and time.
Once it’s cooked, use it to prepare packed meals in a container (we prefer glass) with veggies, or just store it all together so you can easily pull from it when you are ready to eat or pack a meal. This also allows you to make “different” meals with the same protein for variety to reduce boredom.
Also consider cooking a variety of meat all at once. You still save time by seasoning them the same way, then throwing them all on the grill or in the oven at one time. Last – consider your high-protein snacks too. You could prep a package of bacon or hard boil a carton of eggs so you have easy and portable snacks ready to go in your fridge for the week.
Always Make Extra at Dinner
Here is one of the easiest meal prep tips to date: just make extra of what you are already making for dinner so you can pack it for lunch the next day.
This tip is perfect for those that often can handle eating the same thing twice in a row but not necessarily a fan of eating the same thing “every” single day.
If you’ve ever batch prepped a recipe to make multiple meals but found yourself avoiding eating them after two or three times, this would be a better a way to save time without finding yourself bored with your meals.
Wash and Cut Produce Together
How often have you bought fresh produce, forgotten about it, and then found it spoiled and way past its freshness date? Nobody has time for that wasted money.
Washing and cutting your produce all at once can not only save you time in the kitchen but also make you more likely to consume it. Once prepared, store your prepared produce glass containers on the top shelf of your refrigerator. That way you see them when you open the door to pack them for lunches and snacks and they don’t get lost in the produce drawer.
Having chopped vegetables at hand is great for easy snacking or to have ready to roast in the oven for quick dinners. Frozen vegetables and fruit can be a convenient way to get produce into your diet with less risk of it going bad prior to your consumption.
Slow Cook It
We call this “set it and forget it” for good reason. A slow cooker is a tool every kitchen should have for meal prep. It’s beneficial because it doesn’t heat up your house like the oven can and really does all the work with minimal prep.
It’s great for those that want to batch prep a bunch of servings of the same recipe (i.e. chili), but it is also a useful tool to batch prep other ingredients like your produce of protein foods.
It’s also great for those that want minimal clean up (you just have to clean the insert).
If you are really time-starved and have no time for cooking, go for a rotisserie chicken at your local supermarket.
Keep it Simple
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. A lot of the inspirational posts out there showing meal prep are from seasoned meal preppers. If you try to do too much – you might find yourself spending a lot more time than you intended or worse, not full committing to everything that you created.
For beginners – take the approach of meal prepping the one meal that gets you into the most trouble first (i.e. lunch). Keep it simple by prepping a few of those meals ahead of time and keep yourself accountable to consuming them.
If you tend to snack a lot between lunch and dinner – make your focus around prepping healthy produce that you can snack on after work and while you make dinner (to lessen the damage).
And when it comes to picking meals – finding inspirational recipes can be a great thing if you need some excitement around eating healthy. But you can also keep it minimal by just picking your proteins and veggies, preparing them with preferred seasoning and calling it a meal.