Do you want to save time, money or simply eat a healthier diet? Meal planning can help you achieve your goals! Meal planning is taking time once a week to prepare for all of your upcoming meals. In contrast to meal planning where you follow recipes to fit your schedule best, meal prepping is the act of preparing meals or ingredients ahead of time and then storing them for future use. Whether you prefer making and freezing entire meals ahead of time, preparing meals in individual containers for quick on-the-go lunches, or chopping and storing ingredients ahead of time, meal prepping allows you to reduce food, save money, and eat a healthier diet, too. Ready to get started? Here are some tips for success on your first meal prep.
Start small Preparing an entire week’s worth of meals can be overwhelming for someone just starting with meal prep. You could consider starting off with just a few meals a week, or even just dinners, lunches, or snacks. You can immediately begin the positive changes to your meal planning habits!
Make a checklist Writing down everything you need to do during your weekly meal prepping session is a good idea. Get all your recipes and make a shopping list of the things you need. This assures you that you will have the right ingredients on hand once prep day comes.
Invest in containers When you meal prep, you will be making meals or preparing ingredients for several days of meals at one time. Because of this, it is important to invest in a set of quality food storage containers that are sturdy and reusable. As it could take a few weeks before you figure out how many containers you will really need, so it would be good to start with a medium-size set and then just add more containers as needed. Keep in mind that glass containers are more eco-friendly and usually last longer than plastic.
Gather ingredients A few days before your planned prep day, start gathering the ingredients on your shopping list. Your pantry is the best place to start shopping. Take stock of what you already have or what you can use and what you actually need to buy. Regular food rotation in your pantry helps you to avoid wasting money on expired food 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. Make sure to allot a good chunk of your time for your meal prepping session. It is best to schedule your meal prepping on the same day of the week and, at the same time, make it a consistent part of your meal planning system.
Prep smart Even if your ultimate goal is to prep everything fresh or from scratch, be at liberty to take a few shortcuts as the need arises. If chopping vegetables is not your thing, or it just takes up too much time, then go ahead and buy pre-cut lettuce instead. Also, this is not yet the time to go for big or elaborate meals. While it is desirable to include all the basic food groups in your meal plan, feel free to scale back your meal prepping a bit if you find yourself struggling to keep up. When you make your meal prepping sessions more efficient, you will most likely do it consistently.
Finally, keep in mind that meal prepping is different for everyone. Experimenting with different approaches is a good way to find a system that works best for you.
Are you in the market for a Jenks rental home with a kitchen where you can comfortably meal prep? Contact Real Property Management Abound to view listings near you, or check out our available rentals online!
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