I don’t know about you, but I used to associate the term “meal prep” with bodybuilding competitions. I pictured a big guy with a tank top putting his rice/chicken/broccoli into tupperwares and washing down protein shakers.
I realize now I had prejudices of this type when I was younger because of basic ignorance and because I lived with my parents. I wasn’t the one going to the supermarket, cooking and managing the budget.
But once I started to live on my own I really understood how meal prepping is not interesting just for athletes.
In fact, there are many benefits to meal prep:
- You save time and money (big one!!) : to prepare meals properly, you need to write down the list of ingredients you need so you don’t buy too much or not enough. This means you won’t spend too long in the supermarket alleys just buying everything that is eye-catchy and you will save money. Having everything (or a lot of meals) ready will also help you fight the temptation to order food or eat outside all the time (it will be more occasional and more enjoyable).
- You fight food waste : we wasted 218 billions of food in America in 2019. 218 billions…we can do better by changing the way we consume in general but I am sure we can improve these numbers by prepping more and getting more organized. We all ended up at least once throwing food in the trashcan because the fridge and the closets were not organized. If you stick to your grocery list, meal prep everything and keep a clean fridge, we can reduce food waste.
- You relieve yourself from a form of stress : when grocery shopping and meal prep is made easier, it releases you a mental charge so you can focus on another activity or your family. This is even more true if you are in charge of cooking for the entire family, you have more meals and tastes to manage. If you have kids, meal prep is a great opportunity to teach them a bit of cooking and organization while spending quality time.
- You improve your health : having your meals and snacks prepped helps you eat healthier meals and also fight cravings in the middle of the day. It doesn’t mean you won’t want to have a piece of chocolate once in a while but you will definitely have less unhealthy temptations.
How to make it work ?
If you don’t have them already, go buy different sizes tupperwares. You can opt for the plastic ones (cheaper and lighter to bring with you everywhere) or the glass ones (better for your health and more sustainable).
Depending on your budget, you can also get more robots and cooking tools. The more you have, the more you are going to cook different foods at the same time. You can have all the plaques of the kitchen busy and the oven too.
Generally you will spend more time cutting the vegetables and the meats than actually cooking them. Once it’s in the robot and the pans, you just have to stir it and make sure it doesn’t burn.
When the foods are cooking you can start cleaning all the tools and when it’s done, just put the foods in the containers. Et voila ! Not that hard right?
If you want your meals ready right away, you can put in each container the vegetable, carb and protein wanted. But you can also choose to give yourself some freedom to change within the week and just put each type of food in its own container (one for vegetables, one for the chicken, one the pasta, etc…).
You can have in small boxes or bottles the sauces ready too! Also, use your imagination and the variety of existing spices to create different tastes for your meals.
My last advice is to have fun with it and enjoy the meal prep !! Do not take it as another chore in your to do list but use this time to do something useful for you with fun.
I always put on a podcast or nice music whilst I prepare meals.