If you are someone who aims to save time, money or just eat a healthier diet, meal prepping can help you achieve your goals. Meal planning is taking time once a week to prepare for all of your upcoming meals. In contrast to meal planning where you follow recipes to fit your schedule best, meal prepping is the act of preparing meals or ingredients ahead of time and then storing them for future use. Meal prepping, making and freezing entire meals ahead of time, preparing meals in individual containers for quick on-the-go lunches, or chopping and storing ingredients ahead of time can help you reduce food waste, save money, and have a healthier diet. Ready to get started? Here are some ways you can make your first meal prep a success.
Start small If you are a beginner– just starting with meal prep— it can be overwhelming to plan an entire week’s meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) in one go. You might want to start with just a few meals a week or maybe just dinners, lunches, or snacks. You can already inject positive changes to your meal planning habits wherever you begin!
Make a checklist It is a good practice to spend time writing down everything you will need to do during your weekly meal prepping session. Collect all of your recipes and make a shopping list of all that you will be needing. By doing this, you won’t miss anything and have the right ingredients on hand on prep day.
Invest in containers Meal prepping means you will be making meals or preparing ingredients for several days of meals at once. This makes investing in a set of quality food storage containers very important as you will be reusing them each week. As it could take a few weeks before you figure out how many containers you will really need, so it would be good to start with a medium-size set and then just add more containers as needed. You will find that glass containers are more eco-friendly and often last longer than plastic!
Gather ingredients Just before prep day arrives, begin gathering the ingredients on your shopping list. Make it a habit to start shopping in your pantry. Take stock of what you already have or what you can use and what you actually need to buy. Rotating the food in your pantry regularly is also a good way to avoid wasting money on expired food items. Another good idea is to find recipes that make use of what you already have to maximize your meal prep efficiency.
Schedule enough time Meal prepping can take several hours, depending on how many and what type of meals you are preparing. Set aside a sizable chunk of time for your weekly meal prepping sessions. To help make it a consistent part of your new meal planning system, it is good to do your meal prepping on the same day of the week and at the same time.
Prep smart Even if your ultimate goal is to prep everything fresh or from scratch, be at liberty to take a few shortcuts as the need arises. If chopping vegetables is not your thing, or it just takes up too much time, then go ahead and buy pre-cut lettuce instead. Also, this is not yet the time to go for big or elaborate meals. As much as you want to include all the basic food groups into your meal plan, if you find yourself struggling, scale back your meal prepping a bit. The more efficiency you have in your meal prepping sessions, the greater the chances you will be consistently doing it every week.
Finally, keep in mind that meal prepping is different for everyone. Experimenting with different approaches is a good way to find a system that works best for you.
Are you in the market for a Three Forks rental home with a kitchen where you can comfortably meal prep? Contact Real Property Management Bozeman to view listings near you, or check out our available rentals online!
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