Does the thought of meal prep seem overwhelming, but you don’t necessarily want to fall back on meal prep services? You know prepared meal delivery is a viable option, but you take pride in cooking for yourself? Maybe you envision hours of non-stop cooking followed by a sink full of dishes. If so, we’re about to show you just how simple and time-saving meal prep actually is. The trick is to start with tasty and versatile ingredients, a clear plan, and a few amazing recipes. So let’s get to it:
1. Keep it simple
Choose one day during the week and make this your meal prep day. Don’t take on too much; five days worth of meals works best and will keep your workload reasonable and your meals their freshest. Knock out your meal prep in the morning so you can enjoy the rest of your day. That Clean Life has some great meal prep ideas for keeping the process simple. We have 10 more meal prep ideas for you here as well.
2. Take advantage of time savers
There’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of precut veggies or canned beans. The great news is that many grocery stores are expanding their selections. You are no longer limited to chopped carrots and broccoli. Today, you will often find halved brussel sprouts, diced onions, and even spiralized zucchini at your local Stop&Shop or Whole Foods.
3. Reuse staples
One of the best time savers in meal prep is to repurpose ingredients. Ground beef can be used in spaghetti and tacos and vegetables can be prepared in a variety of ways. Choose which area you want the most variety and keep the rest simple. A common approach is two types of proteins, four types of veggies, and two types of carbs.
4. The oven is your friend
Try to choose oven-friendly meals when picking your recipes. Meats and vegetables both get a flavor boost when slow-roasted in the oven. Roasting vegetables is simple and requires little prep work, meaning you’ll spend less time in the kitchen while still enjoying delicious, unique recipes.
5. Learn how to make simple vinaigrettes
Vinaigrettes are essential meal prep recipes and a great addition to almost any meal. They are easy to make and versatile. Use them as a marinade or toss them over a salad. Try this honey dijon vinaigrette. We hear it goes great with pork!
6. Keep your pantry stocked with dried herbs
Fresh herbs are great, but they can be time-consuming, and let’s be honest, sometimes a little pricey. Dried herbs work just as good and can take your food to a new level. Transport yourself from Morroco to Italy, simply by opening your spice cupboard. Be adventurous and try a new spice the next time you visit the grocery store.
7. Try new things
Eating the same meals week after week gets boring really quickly. It’s a sure-fire way to resent meal planning and give up on it for something new. That’s why it’s important to incorporate variety. Choose at least one new recipe every week and keep track of the ones you love (and the ones you didn’t). Being open to experimenting with interesting flavors is key!
Sometimes you don’t want to rely on healthy meal prep services and you’d rather meal prep for yourself. You don’t have to cringe the next time you hear “what’s for dinner?”. By taking a few hours each week to plan, healthy meal prep can be a reality. You can spend less time worrying about dinner and more time doing what you love.