Meal prep is the latest trend to take over the health world. But with university work, part time jobs, internships, volunteer work and extra curricular activities, it can seem near impossible to also maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Meal prep, however, is a great way to stay on top of what you’re eating as it involves taking the time to plan, rather than quickly grabbing something on your way out the door. It can seem like a big task though, so here are out tips on how to meal prep wisely to get your started!
Pick a day
Meal prep does take some effort, so pick one day in the week to prepare your meals. Sunday usually works best as it is closest to the start of the week. Remember though, meal prep is about what works for you. So depending on the type of food and how much of it you are making you might want to split it up into two days, say Sunday and Wednesday. This can work better for a lot of people, as you can prepare less food each day so it’s a tad less overwhelming. And you avoid big batches of food going off or getting rather smelly. By dedicating a certain day (or days) in the week to meal prep it becomes easier to get into the routine.
Start small and simple
Another tip on how to meal prep is to start small and simple. Meal prep can be quite a lifestyle change if you’re not used to planning out your meals. So instead of biting off more than you can chew and preparing too many meals, start with one meal. Breakfast is a good one to start with if you haven’t tried meal prep before as it’s fairly simple and easy to do. You can make a batch of granola for the week, a few portions of overnight oats or dice and freeze fruits for smoothies. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and yet the easiest to skip, so meal prepping you breakfast is a great start to get you on track to a more balanced lifestyle.
Pick a meal prep strategy
There are heaps of different strategies on how to meal prep, so pick the ones that works best for you and your lifestyle. Here are a couple of options to choose from.
This may be the most common approach on how to meal prep and probably the one you are most familiar with. It involves preparing your meals at the start of the week and separating into containers for each day. This is great if you don’t have time to cook everyday as it just needs to be re-heated and you’re ready to go.
This works well for freezer meals, where you assemble the ingredients ahead of time and get them out on the day you want to cook them. For example preparing fruit for smoothies, marinating chicken or preparing slow cooker meals. This is great for when you have the time to cook but need the convenience of having your ingredients prepped and ready to go.
Portioning works great for snacks. We tend to snack a lot when we’re stressed, so portioning it out at the start of the week helps maintain some control. For example you can make snacks like dip and veggie sticks or trail mix and portion it out into little containers for the week.
Most importantly, have fun with your meal prep! It shouldn’t be something you dread each week. So find recipes you actually want to cook and use strategies that work best for your lifestyle.