7 Hacks To Meal Prep Like A Pro
Do you treat meal prep as an “all-or-none” activity? In other words, if you don’t have a full 3 hours to prep, do you skip planning/prepping altogether? With these 7 hacks to meal prep like a pro, you’ll have simple strategies in place to meal prep with confidence.
Make Meal Prep Work For You, Not Against You
If the thought of preparing lunches for the week sounds ridiculous to you, then skip it! Instead, find a method of prep that works for you and your schedule. Meal prep is meant to work for you, not against you.
Signs that meal prep isn’t working for you:
- You dread meal prep. It feels like another “chore” on your to-do list.
- You spend hours making food that you don’t even want at the end of the week.
- Your weekly meals lack variety and you feel “burnt out” on the food you’re eating.
Signs that meal prep is working for you:
- You recognize how much time meal prep saves you.
- You feel ahead of the game before the start of a busy week.
- Your weekly meals include a wide variety of foods that are delicious and nourishing.
If your current approach to meal prep isn’t working, don’t sweat it. By tweaking your approach to meal prep and applying these meal prep hacks, you’ll be able to find a system that works for you.
7 Meal Prep Hacks
1. Plan before you prep.
First, it’s essential to start with a plan before jumping into prep mode. Map out weekly meal ideas and build your grocery list from it. This helps to reduce decision fatigue during a busy week. In addition, you’ll save time and money at the grocery store because you know exactly what you need to get. Planning gives purpose to prepping.
Click here to download my Meal Plan & Prep Bundle.
2. Start small and simple.
Think about what will simplify your week the most and start there. Maybe it’s prepping 1-2 snack options for easy grab-and-go nourishment between meals. Chop veggies or fruits to pair with your favorite dip or make a batch of these Cashew Oatmeal Energy Balls. If breakfast is when you feel most pressed for time, consider prepping 1-2 breakfast options like cooking a batch of hard-boiled eggs or making overnight oats.
The bottom line: you don’t have to prepare every meal of the week. Prioritize prepping for the meal that needs the most support.
3. Batch cook.
Batch cooking refers to cooking a larger quantity of a recipe or ingredient at once. As a result, you’ll save time from cooking throughout the week. My favorite items to back cook include hard-boiled eggs, a grain like quinoa or brown rice, and a tray of roasted veggies. Then, I can incorporate these already prepared ingredients into salads or Nourish Bowls during the week.
Additional recipes that work great for batch cooking include soups and stews. Make double the recipe and save leftovers in freezer-safe containers. Cook once, eat twice!
4. Buy the right containers.
Meal prep coincides with the topic of food safety. It’s important to properly store leftovers to prevent air exposure, which makes food go badly quickly. As a general rule of thumb, leftovers are best for up to 3-4 days. I’m a big fan of glass airtight containers and mason jars. The glass helps me see exactly what I have in the fridge, making it more likely that I’ll actually eat it. Additionally, look for containers that are oven, microwave, and dishwasher safe, so you can easily heat up your food and clean dishes without too much work.
5. Utilize baking sheets.
Baking sheets are your best friend for meal prep. Why? Cooking in the oven is a hands-off preparation method. While your food is cooking, you can be working on something else. To make roasted vegetables, preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Chop a mix of veggies (potatoes, bell pepper, onion, broccoli, etc.) and season with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes or until veggies are browned.
Try this Roasted Vegetable Orzo Salad.
6. Try P-F-C.
P-F-C stands for protein, fat, and carbohydrate, which are the main macronutrients. Prep at least 1 protein, 1 fat, and 1 carb to have the building blocks of a balanced plate ready. For example:
- Protein: roast tofu or chicken in the oven; prep a plant-based protein like lentils to enjoy on salads.
- Fat: prep an olive oil-based dressing to toss on salads or make a trail mix with nuts & seeds for a snack high in healthy fats.
- Carbohydrates: batch cook a pot of grains (like quinoa, rice, or pasta) or roast some starchy veggies (like butternut squash, sweet potatoes, or corn).
7. Make it fun.
Call it a “Prep Party” and turn on your favorite playlist or podcast. Invite your partner, roommate, or family to the party – everyone can help out! Drink your favorite beverage; cozy up with herbal tea or wind-down with red wine as you prep. Remember, this is your prep party – add whatever elevates the experience for you!
It includes templates for:
- Mapping out weekly meals
- Creating a grocery game plan
- Checklist for your prep party
What are your top takeaways from this post? How can you use these 7 hacks to meal prep like a pro?