Meal Plan Prepping And Six Steps For Meal Prep
Benefits of Meal Prepping
Meal prepping is a way to make it easier to eat healthier and spend less time shopping, cooking, and getting ready for meals. Starting out can be confusing, but if you follow the plans in the next chapters, things will be clear, simple, and easy to build on. You will soon get your time, money, and health back.
Make being healthy easy. Many of us are in a hurry in the morning to get to work or school, so we choose fast food or other unhealthy options, or we skip breakfast all together. With a meal-prep plan, you can always grab something healthy, even when you don’t have much time.
Take the guesswork out of eating to fight inflammation. It can be a lot of work to look up recipes and research foods that ease inflammation. This book does the legwork for you. These recipes are based on the most recent information about anti-inflammatory foods, and they are made so that you can change the ingredients to suit your own needs.
Lessen your worry. Every day, figuring out what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for yourself and other people is a lot of work. By following a meal plan that has already been made, you won’t have to think too hard about what to eat.
Save cash. You can save money if you plan ahead, only buy what you need, buy whole, unprocessed foods, and reuse ingredients. This book has meal- prep plans with shopping lists to help you buy less expensive packaged foods and less on a whim.
Save time. This book will show you how to cook more food in less time.
Once you make recipes for the week, you can be done with all of your prep work. This will save you hours every day.
Six-Step Meal Prep
You can set yourself up for success with meal prep by taking a few simple steps. In the long run, you will save time if you plan ahead for your prep days, go grocery shopping, and prepare and package your meals in an efficient way.
1. Pick a day to get ready (s). No matter what day you choose to make mealsfor the week, it will take you about 4 hours to cook your recipes and put them in containers. Plans in this book are meant to be used for 5 days. For example, you could make meals for Monday through Friday on Sunday. Change the plan to fit your needs if you have a different schedule.
2. Make a plan. There are plans for the first 6 weeks of meal prep. After that, you can plan your own meal or swap recipes into the structure that is already there. Set aside 30 minutes to an hour each week to make your plan, and think about doing it a day or two before your prep day so you have time to buy groceries. Use the charts for getting ready in this book as a guide.
3. Go shopping for food. Write a shopping list once you have a plan. Group your ingredients by where you’ll find them in the store, such as the bulk aisle, the herbs and spices section, the dry goods section, the refrigerator section, the fresh produce section, the frozen foods section, and so on.
4. Get ready to cook. Gather the ingredients and cooking tools you’ll need for each recipe before you start cooking. Make a plan for cooking once everything is set up. Check the recipes to see which one makes the most sense to make first. It will become easier as you practice. For example, while a sheet pan meal is roasting, you can make a sauce. You can chop similar ingredients at the same time. For example, if three recipes call for parsley, you can chop it all at once and divide it up between the three recipes.
5. Serve and store. Once your meals are ready, look over the weekly plan and serving sizes, and put all your containers out on the counter. Put the meals in their containers based on how many servings each meal calls for on the meal plan. Label and date them as needed, then put them in the fridge or freezer so you can see them.
6. Pick up and go. For breakfast or lunch on the go, you might want to get a thermal lunch bag and invest in utensils that you can use again and again.
Meal planning won’t work if you forget to bring your food with you!
Main Kitchen Equipments
Having a few simple, cheap tools in the kitchen can make making meals much easier. Set up your cabinets so that these things are easy to find and get to.
Blender. A blender is one of the most important tools in the kitchen. Make sure your blender is easy to use and clean, and keep it where you can get to itquickly.
Boards for cutting. You’ll be cutting up a lot of fruit and vegetables, so it’s important to have several cutting boards. Plastic boards that are big and strong are easy to clean and can even go in the dishwasher.
Knives. Spend money on good chef’s knives and paring knives. Knives that are made well are safer, faster, and easier to use.
Cups and spoons used to measure. Using measuring cups and spoons makes it easier to follow recipes. You can also use them to figure out how much to serve.
Bowls for mixing. A set of bowls is important for making meals because it lets you do more than one thing at once in the kitchen. Choose a set with bowls of different sizes, but make sure you have at least two big bowls for the large amounts of food you’ll be making.
Pot. A soup pot is good for making soups, stews, and pasta in large quantities.
Saucepan. A 3-quart (7-inch) saucepan with a lid can be used to cook both grains and sauces.
Sheet pan or rimmed baking sheet. Since you’ll be making bigger amounts of food, you’ll need a good baking sheet (or two) with sides.
Skillet. You can cook a lot of food at once in a high-quality 12- to 14-inch pan with a lid.
Spoons and spatulas. I suggest getting a set of wooden spoons and a large and a small spatula to make it easy to prepare and move food.
Meal prep success depends on good storage. Prepping 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, and 5 dinners per week per person requires at least 15 containers of various sizes. I like airtight containers.
Multiple compartments. Some recipes in this book require storing ingredients in separate compartments, like a bento box, until eaten. Others can be stored in single-serving containers. Keep single and multicompartment containers Handy.
Stackable/nestable. Meal prep efficiency depends on a well-organized pantry, fridge, and freezer. Consider stackable containers if your kitchen is small.
Glass. The gold standard for meal prep is a glass container with a lid. You can see the contents, they won’t stain, and they’re microwave and dishwasher safe. Invest in glass containers (some are designed for meal prep) and screw-top jars for soups, oats, or dressings.If needed, plastic. Thick plastic can be used for meal-prep storage, but not all plastic is food-safe. Food-safe plastic containers should be dishwasher-safe and “BPA-free,” meaning they don’t contain bisphenol A, which can seep into food.
Long-term meal prep
Changing your habits and committing to a new way of prepping, shopping, and cooking is key to long-term meal prep success. Batch cooking, reusing ingredients, freezing food, and proper reheating will help you follow a plan.
In batches: Things you used to cook every night, like rice or quinoa, you’ll now cook once a week. Instead of 1 sweet potato, cook 5. Cook 6 servings of rice instead of 2 Batch-cooking reduces the stress of daily cooking.
Reuse food. This book has anti-inflammatory ingredients that can be cooked in batches and reused. Quinoa is used in breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A sauce from one dish works in another. Use your favorite meal-prep ingredients and recipes to plan your week.
Know what to freeze. All food can’t be frozen. Fresh leafy greens, chickpeas, and pasta salad won’t freeze well. Salad dressings and sauces change texture when frozen. In contrast, soups and stews freeze well and can be stored for 3 months.
How to reheat. A frozen food must thaw before being reheated in the microwave or stovetop. Plan ahead by thawing frozen foods the day before your prep day. Thawed food can be refrigerated for 3 days.
Anti-inflammatory meal prep takes practice. It takes time and a new approach to cooking. Look for shortcuts. You don’t have to avoid all convenience foods. Affordable, convenient, and healthy: canned beans. Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh fruits and vegetables. These tips can make prepping easier and faster without sacrificing flavor or anti-inflammatory properties:
Buy prewashed, chopped salad greens. These options simplify salad prep.
Pick blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and cherries. They’re cheaper than fresh.
Buy canned tomato sauce. Check nutrition facts for added sugar.
Canned beans are cheaper and faster to cook than dried beans. You can rinse them to remove brine salt. BPA-free cans and boxes.
Buy minced garlic to save time on these recipes.