Meal prepping can take a few hours of shopping, cooking, and cleaning up. That’s why we’ve compiled some of the best tips to meal prep without the hassle!
As we move into fall, one thing is certain – our schedules are about to get even busier. Whether that’s because summer vacationing is coming to an end, school is back in session, or work is ramping up for the end of the year, it can be tough to find time to plan and prep meals for the week.
One reason so many people are drawn to meal prepping is because of the direct link to a healthy diet. Prepping gives us the ability to control portions and know what we’re eating each day. However, meal prepping can take a few hours of shopping, cooking, organizing, and cleaning up — time which might not be available on the weekend when we’re busy getting all the other errands done.
That’s why we’ve compiled some of the best tips to meal prep without the hassle.
1. Plan your schedule and shopping list in advance.
Spending 15 minutes sketching out your ideas for the week can save you an hour roaming around the grocery store deciding what to buy. Decide in advance what days you plan on prepping (most recommend 3-5 day increments), and what meals you’ll want to tackle. Once you have everything sorted, we recommend making a clickable shopping list in your phone, or an old-fashioned paper list, so you can check off as you go.
2. Get creative when cooking in batches.
Playing around with your cooking utensils is a great way to save time when meal prepping. An example would be using a muffin tin to hard boil eggs; this allows you to make 2-3 times the number of eggs over using a pot. You can also use a muffin tin to freeze mixtures like morning smoothie cups or bake breakfast frittatas. Also, feel free to play around with combinations; if you have various items that all cook at the same temperature, toss them in the pan together and take out each part as the time finishes.
3. Assemble meals in one container.
One of the most over-whelming parts of meal prepping is storage. It always feels like you need to use dozens of different sized containers, which means dozens of dishes at the end of the day. Instead of spreading out your meal in separate jars, combine what you can. An example would be assembled your yogurt, fruit, and granola into one jar – or your salad with the dressing at the bottom of the container.
4. Utilize your freezer space.
It’s never fun to watch food go bad before you’re able to eat it. However, going to the store for meal prepping every week can take time and energy. Instead, go for meals that can be assembled in one bag and frozen for more extended periods. There are lots of options online for freezer prep recipes, but some popular ones are marinated meats and seasoned veggies.
5. Start a ‘Slow Cook Sunday’ Routine.
What better way to cook your freezer prepped meals than not to have to cook them at all. Take back that extra time on Sundays (or whatever day your “Sunday” might be) and toss the frozen ingredients into a slow cooker. Chicken soup, pulled pork, teriyaki tofu are all great recipes to get you started!