Save time and meal prep the right way

March 24, 2024 (Last Updated: March 23, 2024)
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Working full time and squeezing in cooking for the family is hard – from figuring out what to cook, to planning healthy meals that even the kids will enjoy. Often, getting takeaways is just easier and stress-free. But, if done right, meal prep might be the answer to all your woes.

Prepping your week’s dinner, or even just a few day’s meals, is less stressful and can help you maintain a healthier lifestyle and can even save you some money! Here’s how to meal prep the right way.

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Different meal prep methods

Meal prep has become a buzzword across social media, with several influencers and “mom-fluencers” punting it as the answer to reduce stress about dinner. And while they might have some extra time on their hands, working parents can use various meal prep methods to capitalise on the many benefits of preparing dinner.

The most popular methods are:

Prepare full meals: Cook full meals in advance, then pop them in the fridge. When you’re ready to eat that meal, warm it up and viola! Like the perfect microwave meal, but healthier and homemade!

Batch cooking: This method involves making a large batch of a specific meal or recipe and then splitting it into several portions and freezing them. This allows you to have several read-to-go meals for several weeks (or even months depending on the food).

Prepping the ingredients: Another way is to simply prep the ingredients for the meals you plan to have that week, like pre-preparing sauces and cutting up your veggies. This helps reduce your cooking time during the week!

And of course, you can use all these methods for every meal of the day. Batch cooking can help you prep easy-to lunches and breakfasts, so you won’t need to wake up early to make food or spend money on takeaways.

food for meal prep

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How to start meal prepping

Regardless of your chosen method, there’s a right way to get started. By following these tips, your meal prep will be easier, and less stressful.

Choose your focus: Are you prepping breakfasts, lunches, or full-on dinners? Maybe you want a mix? Pick what makes the most sense for your schedule. Or, if you’re planning on prepping for every meal, start by picking one recipe to prep for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
Your arsenal: Invest in good storage containers (glass is a sustainable choice!), a reliable food scale (great for portion control), and helpful tools like a veggie chopper.
The groceries: Make a master shopping list based on your recipes AND usual staples. Don’t stray too far from your usual buys (meal prep shouldn’t force a whole diet overhaul).
Prep day: Block out a chunk of time – even just an hour. Put on your favourite playlist and get cooking! Focus on tasks you can batch – chopping veggies for the week, roasting meats, and cooking quinoa all at once makes life easier.



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The best foods for meal prepping

Grains & Starches:

Quinoa: This protein-packed grain cooks quickly and reheats beautifully. Try quinoa bowls with roasted veggies and a protein like tofu or lentils.
Brown rice: A classic choice that offers sustained energy. Enjoy it with stir-fries, curries, or baked chicken.
Sweet Potatoes: Versatile and healthy, they can be roasted or mashed.

Proteins:

Chicken breasts: An affordable and lean protein that can be baked, grilled, or poached for easy mixing and matching with different flavours.
Tofu: A vegetarian chameleon that soaks up the flavours of your chosen sauce or marinade. Great for stir-fries, scrambles, or even baked tofu nuggets.

Vegetables:

Broccoli: A cruciferous powerhouse that retains its crunch perfectly when roasted.
Bell peppers: Available in various colours and flavours, they add sweetness and vibrancy to any meal.
Carrot sticks: A satisfying and low-calorie snack option that keeps well throughout the week

Bonus foods for any meal:

Hard-boiled Eeggs: A protein and healthy fat powerhouse perfect for breakfasts, salads, or as a quick snack.
Lentils: Budget-friendly and packed with fibre, they make fantastic veggie burgers or stews.
Greek yoghurt: A protein-rich and versatile base for parfaits, dips, or even savoury sauces.

ALSO SEE: 4 Reasons why you should consider meal prep

4 Reasons why you should consider meal prep

Feature image: Unsplash

Article originally written and published by Jade McGee for Woman&Home.

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