If you are someone who aims to save time, money or just eat a healthier diet, meal prepping can help you achieve your goals. Meal prepping is setting aside a block of time once a week to prepare your meals for the coming week. Compared to meal planning, where you find recipes that fit your schedule, meal prepping is actually preparing meals or ingredients ahead of time and then storing them until it’s time to use them. In meal prepping, you can choose to make and freeze entire meals ahead of time, prepare meals in individual containers for on-the-go lunches, or chop and store ingredients ahead of time. This can help you reduce food waste, save money, and eat a healthier diet as well. Ready to get started? Here are some tips for success on your first meal prep.
Start small If you are a beginner– just starting with meal prep— it can be overwhelming to plan an entire week’s meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) in one go. You could consider starting off with just a few meals a week, or even just dinners, lunches, or snacks. You can already inject positive changes to your meal planning habits wherever you begin!
Make a checklist It is good to write down the things you need to do during your weekly meal prepping sessions. Get all your recipes and make a shopping list of the things you need. This will help you have all the right ingredients when the prep day arrives.
Invest in containers Doing meal prep means you will be making meals or preparing ingredients for several days of meals all at one go. Investing in a set of quality food storage containers that can be reused each week is important. Consider starting with a medium-size set and just add more containers if you need to. It may take you a few weeks before you can identify just how many containers you will need. Glass containers are more eco-friendly and generally last longer than plastic.
Gather ingredients A few days before your planned prep day, start gathering the ingredients on your shopping list. Start shopping in your pantry! Take stock of what you already have before actually buying anything. If you regularly rotate the food in your pantry, you can avoid wasting money on expired items. If you can, try and find recipes that include things you already have to maximize your meal prep efficiency.
Schedule enough time Meal prepping can take several hours, depending on how many and what type of meals you are preparing. Allot a sizable chunk of time for your weekly meal prep sessions. Try to do your meal prepping on the same day of the week and, at the same time, make it a consistent part of your new meal planning system.
Prep smart While you might really love to prep everything fresh or from scratch, feel free to take some shortcuts when you need to. If chopping vegetables is too time-consuming (or is just not your thing), go ahead and buy pre-cut vegetables instead. Also, don’t go for elaborate meals just yet. While it is ideal to include all the basic food groups into your meal plan, if you find yourself struggling, scale back your meal prepping a bit. When you are more efficient in your meal prepping session, you are more likely to do it consistently every week.
Finally, keep in mind that meal prepping is different for everyone. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different approaches until you find the system that suits your lifestyle best.
Are you in the market for a Honolulu rental home with a kitchen where you can comfortably meal prep? Contact Real Property Management Alliance (aka Honolulu) to view listings near you, or check out our available rentals online!
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