Are you looking to improve your nutrition, eat better, and finally reach your fitness goals? But something is always stopping you:
Diets rarely work in the long run, you can’t find the time to prepare healthy meals, and you lose the motivation after a while.
If that’s the case, meal prepping might be precisely what you need to finally get your nutrition in order.
Let’s review what it is, what items you might need, and how to get started in five actionable steps.
What is Meal Prepping?
Meal prepping means setting aside more time to cook meals for the upcoming days. A meal prep can be as small as cooking three to four meals or as big as preparing food for the upcoming week.
The Items You Will Need to Start Meal Prepping
- A Good Cooking Knife
Everyone has knives at home, but investing in a quality one can make a huge difference in how easily you can cut, chop, and slice the ingredients during meal prep.
You don’t need to break the bank, but the higher quality you can go for, the easier your prep will be and the longer the knife will last.
- Food Containers
Okay, you’ve cooked the food. Now what? Well, you have to distribute it into containers to maintain the freshness.
A good container seals well, isn’t too difficult to clean, and is reusable.
- Mason Jars
Mason Jars are another must-have for effective meal prep. These glass containers work great for oatmeal, salads, meat, and other foods because they seal well and keep your meals fresh for up to several days.
A crockpot, also known as a slow cooker, isn’t essential for effective meal prepping, but it can make the process much easier. You can use the device to cook meat, veggies, and more.
Simply put the ingredients in the crockpot, add seasoning, set the temperature, and go about your day.
- Kitchen Scale
A kitchen scale is a device used to measure foods, cooking ingredients, and liquids. Having one is beneficial because it makes it easier to follow recipes you find online.
Plus, a scale will ensure nutritional accuracy and the correct intake for your goals if you choose to track your calories.
How to Start Meal Prepping In 5 (Relatively) Easy Steps
- Decide What You’ll Cook
The first step in meal prepping is deciding what foods you will prepare. You might be eager to try some fancy recipes, but we recommend against that. Just as a simple training program works better for beginners, so does a basic nutritional plan. If you’re looking for an effective exercise plan with beginner levels, then check out our Boogie Bounce Home Programme. The Fitness App also includes beginner levels to get you started and helps build up your fitness and confidence on your rebounder mini trampoline.
Simpler recipes will help you get started with meal prepping without feeling overwhelmed. Plus, it won’t take you as long to cook meals.
A good approach is to pair a protein source with carbohydrates:
- Pork with potatoes
- Chicken with rice
- Fish with grilled veggies
- Estimate Your Ingredients List
Once you have some meals in mind, it’s time to write down all the ingredients you will need to prepare them. Don’t forget to include seasonings, condiments, natural oils, and other stuff that might be necessary.
Don’t worry about accuracy the first time because it’s tough to estimate the correct amount of certain ingredients. You will need some experience to get better at it.
- Go Grocery Shopping
Grocery shopping is the next logical step in the process. As you walk through the aisles of your local supermarket, err on the side of purchasing smaller quantities of perishable products: fresh veggies, fish, meat, etc.
You can theoretically freeze some of these for later, but why go through the trouble and potentially ruin the taste and texture of food?
Luckily, you don’t have to worry as much about products with a longer shelf life (e.g., rice, oats, canned goods, potatoes, frozen fruits and veggies, etc.). For example, if your local store offers a great discount on a 10-lb bag of rice or potatoes and you plan on eating the food many times in the future, go ahead and make the purchase.
- Set Aside Enough Time and Get Started
The next step can be tricky because you have to do a lot of work in one go, so you should dedicate more time. It’s best to set aside more time than you think you will need simply because it takes a while to get used to meal prepping.
Depending on how many meals you want to prepare and how straightforward the recipes are, the process can take you as little as an hour or as many as three to four hours, especially in the beginning.
Sunday afternoons are generally a good time for meal prepping because you’re less likely to be interrupted by something, and you get to prepare healthy food for the upcoming week.
Meal prepping isn’t much different from regular cooking. The primary difference is that you’re doing more work ahead of time.
- Distribute Your Meals Into Containers
The final and perhaps most satisfying step is distributing the cooked food into containers.
You’ve done most of the work and can now sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour. Well, you also have to clean up after yourself and wait for the food to cool down before sealing the containers, but the hard part is over.
It’s important to let the food cool before sealing it off because it can give off a lot of vapor that builds up inside the container, converting to water through condensation. As a result, you might end up with too much water, which turns your meals soggy.
Meal prepping is nothing new, but there is a right and wrong way to go about it. Just as a good training plan can make all the difference in the world, following our steps and recommendations can make meal preparation a breeze.