Are you looking to make your meals healthier? Do you want to make better use of your Costco membership? Are you too tired to cook more than once a week? Try prepping meals! While some new services have pre-portioned meals that you can prepare in your own home, you can make your meals and your portions! Are you still wondering about how to get started or whether or no cooking a ton of food at once is more efficient than cooking individual meals? Read ahead to figure out how you can healthily save time and money this New Year!
When starting to prep your meals, determine which meals you want to prep. Do you need to prep dinner, or do you get home at a time where you can cook and eat? Do you eat breakfast? Do you need to pack a lunch for work? Keep in mind how many of each meal you need to prep for the next week.
For example, you know that your boss is taking you out to lunch on a Friday and that you have time to cook at home over the weekend, only prep four meals for during the week. If you do make more than you need, you can freeze some recipes for extra-long-term prep.
Once you have the number of meals you need to prep in mind, find a recipe for each meal that you can make. Preferably, that formula has either originally has many servings or that you can scale to have many servings. Many websites exist with recipes specifically designed for meal planning if you need some inspiration. Determine a shopping list, and shop for all the ingredients you need to cook your meals for the next week!
With all ingredients purchased, you can begin cooking your meals! Many meal-preppers do this on a Saturday or Sunday because of the extra time they have, but if there is a day during the week that works better for you, go for it! Once you have cooked all components of your meal, begin portioning it. Many fitness sites sell Tupperware that have sections explicitly designed for meal preppers but separate it however it makes sense to you. If you are using separate containers for one meal, keep the Tupperware for each item labeled using a sticky note or dry-erase marker to reduce confusion. Pop your meals in the fridge, and bam! You’ve prepped your weeks’ worth of meals!
Buy in bulk. Warehouse stores can be crucial for planning a week’s worth of meals, as you can buy gallons of tomato sauce, 50-pound bags of rice, or bulk bags of everything from snack crackers to frozen fruits and vegetables. Having a bulk base for making your meals will eventually save you money in the long run, as well as reducing the number of shopping trips you have to make. It also allows you to keep inexpensive staples, like rice or stir-fry vegetables, on hand.
Invest in a good set of Tupperware. Costco or any other box store is an ideal place for this– a set of 38 plastic food storage containers will run you just 25 dollars. If you want to commit to meal preparation, specific food storage containers for meal planning exist. These vessels, often inspired by Japanese Bento boxes, have portioned sections for different components of your meal. You can get these alongside “regular” Tupperware at most big-box stores and online retailers.
Use easy-to-prepare bases. You can make multiple different toppings to have with rice, for example. Easy-to-build starches add diversity to your meal selection while being relatively easy to make. If you use brown rice, whole grain pasta, or a salad base, the diverse possibilities you have for healthy meals are nearly endless!
Are you looking to prep meals this year, or have you prepped in the past? Let us know!