So you’ve heard about this meal prep thing, and you’re willing to give it a red hot go.
Jane from accounting says it makes her working week so much easier, and the internet swears it’ll free up your time and save your wallet.
We’re with Jane and the internet – it’s convenient, cheaper and healthier! And most importantly, it’ll save you from the temptation of ducking across the road for hot chips during your lunch break. Why? Because your nutritious, lovingly pre-prepared meal will be sitting ready for you to chow down in the break room!
Here’s how to get started.
Get out your pens, pencils and calendar, it’s time to start planning.
Some people are so organised that they’ll prep breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for an entire week! However, if you’re just starting out, it’s best to begin with one meal at a time. Many people choose to prep lunch, as it’s often a meal that you can take to work with you, instead of eating out every day.
If you’re the kind of person that could eat the same thing for every meal and not get bored, feel free to stick to one recipe for the entire week. If your taste buds are accustomed to a delectable array of ingredients, try alternating between two different recipes. There are many great recipes online that are perfect for bulk preparation. Why not try a protein-packed fried rice or a vitamin-fuelled salad?
Pick a day
Which day of the week are you least busy? It might be one of your days off work or a day that the kids are at childcare and you have the time to turn into a kitchen ninja. This is your meal prep day.
Invest in a good quality plastic (or steel) container
If you’re considering getting into the meal prep zone, you’ll be wanting top notch containers to carry your carefully cooked goods. This means containers that won’t crack easily, especially in the freezer. You may be thinking that snaplock bags are just as good, but while they might be convenient, they’re horrible for the environment. Think reusable and you’ll not only be more eco-friendly, but you’ll also be saving money in the long run.
Make room in your fridge/freezer
It’s time to throw out those wilted shallots that have been hiding in the back of your crisper for over a month! We’re talking about a good clean out of your fridge and freezer. You want to make enough room so that you can easily find the containers and meals you need. Remember, meal prep is meant to make your life more convenient!
Cook up a storm
It’s meal prep day. Chuck on the radio and get out your ‘kiss the cook’ apron, because it’s time to get down to business. It might take you a couple of goes to get your system in full swing, but once you’ve got your recipes down pat, you’ll be prepping with your eyes closed (we don’t recommend doing this while you’re chopping veg!). Line up your ingredients, preheat your oven and pans, and have your recipes in an easily viewable position. You’re ready to cook up a storm!
Label your heart out
If there’s a label maker hiding in the back of your study, now is the perfect time to whip that organisational sensation into use! Tag each container with the name of the meal, the day it’s going to be eaten, and even the ingredients if you’re prepping for someone else too. If you’re feeling a little creative, colour coding is also a quick and easy way to recognise which meals to grab out of the fridge when you’re in a rush to get to work.
Stick to it!
We know that sometimes it can be tempting to ditch your pre-prepared lunch and go for the leftover birthday cake in the staff fridge instead. But have a little pride! You made that meal with love, and it deserves to be eaten! If you find yourself looking for a little sweet treat after your lunch on a regular basis, why not level up and try making healthy snacks on your prep day too? Raw protein balls and fruit and nut mixes are perfect for those mid-afternoon munchies!