Just the mention of food prep, and you can almost hear the groans. Creating a week-long menu, buying all the necessary ingredients, cooking your favorite dishes, and packing them in Tupperware while fitting a few into your freezer is easier said than done. And then, to top that off, you need to find time early the next week to prepare this same meal again.
Yet food prepping is vital for having a healthy lifestyle, especially for those who have busy schedules. While it may seem complicated and overwhelming at first, if you know what you’re doing and focus on your time management skills, you’ll be able to get out ahead of the game and start living healthier today. Here are some simple food prepping tips to help you make the most out of your busy schedule.
1- Plan your meals ahead of time.
The key to successful food prepping is planning. While this may sound simple, many busy families have found it much easier to plan last-minute meals than staying on top of a week’s worth of meal planning. Of course, every family is different, so you may find that you only need to do a few things every week and can thoroughly plan the rest. If you don’t know what needs to be done, look at your weekly planners and figure out the big things. Make a list of all the meals for the upcoming week and keep track of what your family has consumed so far next week. Each time you eat out or get something from your local market, add it to your list. Indeed, you can also try this food delivery provider, who will deliver healthy food to your door. Such a service will help you eat healthily and fit while sticking to your budget.
2- Make a list of what you need to buy.
After you’ve decided on meals, make a list of the ingredients you’ll need to make these. If you have an excellent memory and won’t forget about this, simply keep track of the items your family has used up and purchase those items again. However, if you don’t have a good memory or are going for something more challenging, like creating an entirely new meal each week, writing it down will help. Keep your list in an area where everyone in the family can see it to add anything they may need throughout the week.
3- Prepare your meals.
Now that you have a list of meals planned for the week, think of the best way to prepare them. Skimmicking out on ingredients is not the best idea and may create quality issues in your food. If you make a dish that requires seasonings or flour, you’ll need to ensure that you have enough for all meals. Some things get used up, but try to add as many items as possible.
4- Create a meal plan.
Most people find this step the most difficult, but it’s essential to have a plan. If you have several different families, think of the kids’ preferences and make sure that they have a variety of tastes and textures. For example, if you want to create a deliciously healthy and flavorful dish for your family, start with bell peppers, onions, chicken, and fish for protein. Whatever your family prefers and has access to is what you should consider preparing for them so that everyone can get the best tasting foods possible from each meal.
5- Back up your progress.
Use a schedule if you are entirely new to food prepping and want to keep track of what you’ve already done. Go through all of your lists for the upcoming week and list everything you have prepared. This can be a simple list of meals, but you can also include the ingredients that your family has used so far. Then create another sheet with all of the items still in your cupboards so that it’ll be easier for you to remember what needs to be purchased each time the pantry gets emptied.
6- Partake as much as possible.
You want to try to eat as many of your meals that you prepared yourself as possible. Pre-made meals from the grocery store may be convenient, but they typically have more preservatives and other ingredients that you don’t want. These pre-packaged packages can be budget-friendly, but they can also pack on unnecessary calories. Try to make a healthy snack or meal for your kids before they get into the kitchen if you have time. They will appreciate the extra nutrition, and it will give them something healthy to eat even if you’re not able to cook something else for them later in the day.
7- Store your food correctly.
Some people keep their food in coolers or even in the freezer, but this can cause the milk to go wrong, and other foods can get spoiled from the constant temperature fluctuations. Plus, since most people aren’t doing this regularly, they tend to forget what is in their coolers. If you want to keep your food for longer, you’ll need to put it somewhere so that it won’t get spoiled. While there isn’t a perfect way to store food, a lot of people use cabinets for their storage, and this is what I recommend for beginners. If you have the space between the fridge and counters, consider using that.
While you can’t fit everything into your schedule, and that’s okay, food prepping is a great way to help you gain control of your life again. If you keep preparing food that you like instead of eating out all of the time, your wallet will thank you because all of those extra expenses can add up fast, not to mention the nutrition you lack while throwing these meals together at a moment’s notice. For many people, it may seem like there is no time in their schedule for this task, but by using these tips and getting everything started today, you may just be surprised at how much better-organized things are.