Meal Prep 101
In our Meal Prep Like a Pro webinar we break down how to do exactly that! Meal prepping may seem like a daunting task, especially when you're faced with picture-perfect images on social media (like the one chosen for this post), but the truth is, there is no wrong or right way to meal prep. You can make it as easy or complicated as you want to...it's all about what works for you and what you'll stick with. Here are some guidelines to get you started:
What is Meal Prepping?
Meal prepping is devoting a chunk of time on a Sunday (or whenever works for you) and batch cooking your meals for the week. You can do just dinners, lunches and dinners, snacks, etc. It's up to you! A good rule of thumb is 3 meals of 4 servings each for a total of 12 meals. There are 3 different ways to approach meal prepping: Family Style, Portioned, of Prepped to Cook. Choose which works best for you — cooking for more than 2 people? Go with storing everything in large containers. Just you or a +1? Make it easy for yourself and portion out your meals so you can just grab and reheat. Not a fan of reheating? Prep all ingredients ahead of time and just throw them in your slow cooker or pan when you're ready to eat.
Why Meal Prep?
So many benefits! Save time, money, eat healthier, reduce food waste, customize your meals, reduce stress, become a better cook...and the list goes on and on.
How to Build a Healthy Meal
Choose 1-3 veggies, a high-quality fat, and a high-quality protein. Sheet pan meals are perfect for meal prep. They require little prep and offer easy cleanup. Keep timing in mind though...that chicken, asparagus, and sweet potatoes are not going to cook at the same time. Start with the longest cooking time and pull the pan out to add components along the way.
Your kitchen basics will be just fine, but a few musts to have on hand:
Good sharp Chef’s knife (the sharper the safer)
A no-slip cutting board (or you can wet a paper towel and place it underneath your board)
Large mixing bowls (for keeping prep organized)
Containers with lids (no saran wrap or foil to cover)
Painter’s tape & Sharpie (for labeling date and dish name)
Find your “why”
Choose the right kind of meals (some store better than others, think chili v. fish)
Practice makes perfect (you'll eventually get to the point where you have all 4 burners going, two dishes in the oven, something marinating in the fridge, and something to prep on your cutting board – all going at the same time!)
Plan, plan, plan! And make lists!
Make counter space
Use the weekends
Set a timer
Storage & Reheating
Keep salad dressing separate, and any watery vegetables separate (cut tomatoes and cucumber, etc).
Cool food before storing (otherwise it will steam and affect texture).
Sick of something? Freeze it! Or, repurpose.
Beware the “danger zone” of food
Between 40 -140˚F
Room temp < 2 hours
Avoid cross contamination and clean storage containers well.
Properly prepared food will last up to 7 days, but if in doubt, go with 4 days (and always give it a sniff – the nose knows!).
Microwave can affect texture – don’t forget about your oven, stovetop, and toaster oven. For the best taste, reheat with whatever method you used to cook the dish.
Add extra sauce or a small amount of water to dishes that may dry out (like pasta).
Interested in learning more? Contact us to schedule a discovery call and book a complimentary webinar for your team.