It’s no secret that eating well is key for weight loss and good health.
But our increasingly busy lifestyles mean that it is more difficult than ever.
When we’re short on time and feeling hungry, we’re more likely to grab whatever is convenient. Usually, that means something unhealthy.
The answer to this problem?
In this complete guide, I’m going to show you how to produce tasty and healthy meals in batch so that you always have good food on hand… And you might even have fun doing it.
These techniques have been used to help many of my clients regain their passion for cooking, boost their confidence in the kitchen and develop new meal prep habits that stand the test of time.
Let’s get started…
The 5 Steps of Successful Meal Prep
Step 1: Understanding your time
When it comes to cooking good food on a regular basis the biggest enemy is time.
Regaining the time to cook and create success with meal prep requires you to first know how much of it you have available.
Grab a pen and paper and make a note of the times you:
- Wake up
- Eat breakfast
- Leave for work
- Get to work
- Work until
- Take a break
- Go for lunch
- Get home
- Head out to socialise or pick up the kids from one of their sports clubs
- Cook dinner
- Go to bed
This may seem a little over the top but it’s often very hard to see the time slots you have available when you’re in the thick of your daily routine.
Once you have a firm grasp on how you’re spending your time, you can see how much you realistically have available for meal prepping. This is key when deciding what kind of meals you will cook.
Step 2: Determine the best meal prep method for you
Now that you know how much time you have available, you can pick the meal prep methods that best fit your schedule:
Full meals cooked in advance that can be refrigerated and reheated at mealtimes (such as a pot of soup or a casserole). This is particularly handy for evening meals.
Making large batches of a specific recipe, then splitting it into individual portions to be frozen and eaten over the next few months. These make for popular warm lunch or dinner options.
Individually portioned meals
Preparing fresh meals and portioning them into individual grab-and-go portions to be refrigerated and eaten over the next few days. This is particularly handy for quick lunches.
Prepping the ingredients required for specific meals ahead of time as a way to cut down on cooking time in the kitchen.
Snacks and cold meals
Preparing meals or snacks that don’t require refrigerating and/or reheating. For example, oatcakes or fruit with nut butter. This is ideal for people who don’t have access to a fridge or microwave at meal time, especially those who spend a lot of time on the road.
Step 3: Make a plan
Once you’ve decided on the types of meal prep you’d benefit most from, spend a few minutes creating a simple game plan to keep you organized.
Consider the following:
Stick to a schedule
Meal prepping works best when you stick to a regular schedule. Knowing exactly when you’ll shop for ingredients and prep your meals will help you form a good routine.
For instance, you might reserve Sunday mornings for food shopping and meal prepping. Or you could select Monday evenings for making lunches for the rest of the week.
The schedule is up to you and should fit your weekly routine. Keep in mind that picking specific times and sticking to them will simplify the decision-making process, freeing up mental space for other things.
Choosing your recipes
When planning your meals, it’s best to rely on some tried and true recipes that you’ve cooked before. Keeping things simple will help save you time.
If you’re not sure where to start, head over to a website like BBC Good Food, find a recipe you like to look of, and double or triple the quantities.
Make a Shopping List
With your meals planned, it’s now time to go out and buy the ingredients you need.
Aim to get everything you need for the week in a single trip to the supermarket to save time. Stocking up on essentials like herbs, olive oil, grains, and certain tinned goods is always a good idea and gives you extra meal prepping options.
Step 4: Cooking your food
Now for the fun part!
I personally love cooking. Spending time in the kitchen helps me switch off and relax. It’s a time to chill out and create.
But, having worked with many clients over the years, I’m aware that this isn’t the case for everyone.
If you’re not a fan of slicing onions and peeling garlic, here are some ways you can turn the kitchen into a more relaxing place to be…
Set the scene with some good music. Fire up an app like Spotify and put on your favourite playlist.
Listen to a podcast or audiobook. We’re all so busy these days that it can be difficult to find the time for reading. Cooking is a great opportunity to catch up with your favourite podcast or audiobook.
Cook with your partner. Cooking is a great way to spend time together and halve the workload.
Step 5: Storing your food
So you’ve just prepped enough to feed a small army… but where are you going to store it all?
Good quality Tupperware is the answer.
And you’re going to need a lot of it.
You’ll need a variety of sizes that can be used to accommodate your main meals during the week along with snack options when at work or on the go.
Take care to find a brand that offers BPA Free & also Phthalate Free as this will be important when heating up your food in a microwave.
Here is my top pick when it comes to Tupperware.
The Next Step
If you want to lose weight and live healthily, then eating well is non-negotiable.
Short of having a private chef cook all your meals for you, meal prepping is the best way to ensure that you are eating good food on a regular basis.
Now you just need to get started.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, pick a recipe you already enjoy cooking and double up on the quantities. Pop the leftovers in the fridge and have them for lunch the next day.
- Photo by Ella Olsson from Pexels