Welcome to the exciting world of meal prepping! It is an activity that can seem tedious and daunting, but we are here to help you with a number of great meal prep ideas. Once you get the hang of it, you will save a ton of time and money in the kitchen!
What is Meal Prepping?
Meal prepping is the act of designating a specific time to prepare several meals, or several days worth of meals. These meals are usually then portioned out for use later in the week.
Most people choose Sunday to do their meal prepping, but you can do it whenever it is convenient for you.
You can use this technique for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. If you’ve ever packed up your leftovers from dinner to take with you for lunch the next day then you’ve already mini-meal prepped.
Reasons to Meal Prep
Meal prepping is not only convenient, it is also efficient and it minimizes wasted time, money and food. Whether that be a diet or a budget, meal prepping can help you stick to your plan.
Since many people don’t have the time to cook every day, prepped meals make it possible to have a home-cooked meal ready whenever you want it.
Who is Meal Prepping for?
Traditional meal prepping isn’t for everyone.
It is especially useful for people who value can convenience and efficiency more than variety. When you meal prep, you generally eat the same thing for a few days in a row.
If you’re not into leftovers or you get bored easily, meal prepping is probably not for you.
If having control over what you eat, or maximizing your time or budget is more important then eating something different each day, you might like weekly meal prep.
Traditional meal prepping is usually not done for an entire family. When you try to meal prep for a family, it is much more difficult because there are more people, and therefore more meals that must be prepared. That does not mean that it is impossible, however.
Family meal prepping can center more around having healthy snacks available and a freezer that is stocked with easy to grab items that can be quickly reheated and served to hungry little ones.
Meal Prepping as a Parent
Meal prepping is challenging for parents.
It is unrealistic to break all of the family’s meals into individual servings for the week, so meal prepping for a family is a more creative endeavor.
As any tired parent knows, it is essential that any routine be quick and easy or it will fall to the wayside. Try to keep your prep to under two hours per week.
Prep items that will make feeding your family easier throughout the week. Pre-cut various veggies for salad toppings. Keep a big bowl of lettuce separate and combine with pre-made proteins for a hearty midweek dinner.
Assemble the families lunches for the week, and prep a few snacks to grab. maybe put together one or two make-ahead breakfasts.
Make dinners easier later in the week by marinating meats ahead of time, chopping veggies to roast, or even assembling meals that you freeze and throw in the crockpot later. You can also take your meal prepping to the next level by making and freezing big batches of chilis, soups, stews.
Read on for some great tips on how to make your meal prepping go smoothly!
No-Stress Meal Prep Ideas
Coach Walid is here to help you with all of your meal prep ideas. Here is a list to get you on your way!
1. Get the Right Containers
Make sure to get containers that are sturdy and can stand up to being packed, washed and put in a microwave regularly. Whichever containers you choose, make sure they are suited to your lifestyle.
There are many cool BPA-free options available to meal preppers these days.
Glass and stainless steel containers are also good options for those who are health conscious and worried about having plastics off-gassing into their food while reheating.
2. Overnight Oats
Preparing Overnight Oats is an excellent way to make sure you have a healthy and hearty breakfast ready in the morning. The concept is simple, just put oats, some kind of milk and some mix-ins, into one of your mason jars the night before you want them, and stick in the fridge. There are so many ways to make this yummy breakfast.
Pull them out the next morning and you are all set with a healthy and hearty breakfast that will get you set for your day.
3. Baked Boiled Eggs
Besides milk, eggs have the most nutritional punch. One egg has only 75 calories. Within those calories are 7 grams of high-quality protein and only 1.6 grams of saturated fat. Eggs are also rich in vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin.
There are many ways to enjoy eggs, but for meal prep, boiled is the easiest to grab and go. It is often hard to get a perfectly boiled egg on the stove, so one of the most useful meal prep ideas out there is the technique of making boiled eggs in the oven.
By using a muffin pan, you can make baked boiled eggs either with or without the shell. Set your oven to 350, put the eggs in the compartments and bake for about 15 minutes.
If you choose to make them without the shells, all you have to do is grease the tin with cooking spray or butter, and crack your eggs into the tin. You can add salt pepper or other spices to tweak the taste.
You end up with eggs that have the texture of A boiled egg without the hassle of peeling the shell. These eggs are perfect for your meal prep plan. They can be used to add protein to a salad, eaten on their own, or turn into breakfast sandwiches.
4. Pre-Portioned Smoothies
Even though they seem simple, making smoothies can end up being a big production, creating quite a mess, and just kind of being a bummer.
Prepping Ziplocs of fruit and frozen yogurt cubes ahead of time can streamline this process. Rather than pulling out five different bags of fruit, yogurt, and juice, you take out one small bag, dump it in the blender, add liquid, and you are all set.
Big Box stores like Costco are your friend when it comes to making smoothies. You can get giant bags of berries there. They also have a couple of different types of mixed fruit bagged up. You can even pick up some of those frozen acai packets. Acai berries have a great flavor and give you a ton of energy!
5. Crockpot Meals
If you don’t already have a crockpot, it is an essential tool for people who meal prep. You can dump pre-prepped freezer meals in before you go to work in the morning and come home to a fresh, steaming hot dinner with almost zero effort.
6. Salad in a Jar
Salad in a jar is one of the best meal prep ideas out there. Normal salads only last a few days in the fridge, these can be made up to 5 days in advance.
Start by putting dressing at the bottom of your jar. Layer the hardiest ingredients next, like your beans, grains like quinoa or rice, and meats. After that, you can layer cheese. Next, veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers or carrots. Finally, top with lettuce and close up the jar.
These jar salads can be kept in the fridge for up to five days. When you are ready for one, simply dump into a bowl and the dressing covers everything.
7. Slow-cooked Meat
Slow cooker meat is another reason that a crockpot is an essential part of the food prepping process.
Buy Chicken, Beef or Pork and season in different ways then freeze to use for later. When you are ready to use your pre-marinated meats, thaw fully and then throw in the slow cooker for 4 hours or so.
The result? Perfectly pull-apart meat that took very little time in the kitchen.
8. Don’t Forget to Prep Healthy Snacks
While many people are great at prepping their three main meals, snacks are often overlooked.
Healthy snacks are essential to have for those times when you are too hungry to think out an entire meal.
It is smart to have a number of grab and go options like Hummus, veggie sticks, parfaits, and tortilla chips. All can be made at home cheaply and without all of the preservatives.
Look here for great recipes for snacks that you can add to your meal prep routine.
Say Hello to A Healthier You!
A lot of people vow to change their lives in drastic ways with the dawning of a new year. If eating healthier is one of your goals in 2019, we have your back with these great meal prep ideas!
Contact us to see how we can help you reach all of your health and life goals this year.