Beginner's Guide to Meal Prep
Never Meal Prepped Before? This Guide is For You!
We’ve talked about some of the best apps for meal prep
in previous posts because meal planning is one of the most effective ways to keep your diet and your health on track. But what if you’re a total beginner to this whole meal prep concept?
Learn how to prepare meals ahead of time so you can stick to your healthy eating goals. Here’s how to get started with meal planning and prep.
1. Define your goals
First, it’s helpful to know what you want to accomplish by making your meals ahead of time. Would you like to lose weight? Eat healthier? Save money? Control your portions? Do you need to eat more or less than you currently do?
There’s no right or wrong goal, but defining and writing down what you want to accomplish will help you make decisions later and stick to your plan.
2. Pick a day for meal prep
Next, choose one or two days for meal preparation. Some people like to tackle a whole week of meals on Sunday (or another day), and others like splitting the work between a couple of days. Decide what works for you and your schedule. Picking a meal prep day and deciding how many meals you’ll make will help you develop and stick to a meal prep habit.
3. Choose the meals
After you have a plan, it’s time to decide on meals and find recipes. Pick your recipes, check your pantry and cupboards for ingredients, and make a shopping list. Having and sticking to a list will help you get everything you need and nothing you don’t. That saves money and reduces waste.
As a starting point, plan balanced meals – meals that contain a protein, a carbohydrate, and some greens. Here are some examples:
Chicken, beef, ground beef, turkey, salmon, eggs, beans
Rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, pasta
Broccoli, spinach, kale, brussels sprouts, green beans
If you’re completely stumped, Pinterest is an excellent meal-prep resource
brimming with delicious meal prep ideas. Just log on and type “meal prep recipes” into the search box. You’ll find beautifully designed meal prep calendars, tons of recipes, and more meal prep advice than you knew existed.
4. Set aside time and space, then start cooking
Once you know what you’ll be making, it’s time to cook. Give yourself plenty of time for chopping and other prep work, cooking the meals themselves, and dividing everything up into containers for storage. Speaking of storage, buy containers that are:
- Freezer safe
- Dishwasher safe
- Microwave safe
Soon enough, you’ll have an arsenal of healthy meals to get you through the week, and you’ll be that much closer to meeting the health goals you identified at the beginning of your meal prep journey.