How many times have you starred at your fridge wondering what you should eat? After about 5 minutes you give up and settle on ordering pizza.
Does this sound familiar?
This is because when you wait until the last minute to figure out what you will eat you will be more likely to make a poor choice.
This is why meal prep is so important for those who are on a journey to better health. By preparing your meals in advance you will not only make healthier choices, but you will save yourself a great deal of time and money.
With that being said, here are a few simple hacks that will cut meal prep time in half.
Keep Things Simple
The purpose of meal prep is to simplify your life. The last thing you want to do is over complicate it by attempting to prepare some elaborate meals that require far too many ingredients.
Focus on preparing meals that are practical and have very few ingredients.
As you become more comfortable in the kitchen you can start preparing meals that may require a bit more time.
This way you will be able to eat healthy without stressing out.
Set Aside Time To Cook Once a Week
Meal prep is a big commitment that will require your undivided attention. That’s why you should set aside time to do everything at the same time.
Chop your veggies and meats, cut up your fruits, and get all other ingredients ready all at the same time.
If you prepare your ingredients before each meal it will take you 10-15 minutes of prep just to get the ball rolling.
If you prepare all of your ingredients for the week at the same time you will have everything done for 10-15 meals in less than an hour. That’s a huge time saver!
Everyone has a different schedule and will therefore need to schedule meal prep around their schedule. Just make it a point to do the bulk of your shopping and cooking on the same day.
Keep A Few Prepared Meals In The Freezer
The purpose of meal prep is to make sure you are always prepared when its time to eat. But as you very well know, life happens.
And sometimes you may find all of your prepped meals have run out. Having a few already prepared meals in the freezer is a great way to ensure you stay on track.
Most cooked meats can last up to 6 months in the freezer. Vegetables on the other hand can last up to 10 months.
All you need to do is place your meals in freezer bags and write eat by dates on them. As long as you eat them before that date you will be just fine.
The amount of time cooked frozen food lasts will depend on how it is prepared and how it is stored.
Prepare Meals In a Slow Cooker
The only thing we can say about slow cookers is that they are amazing. They make it super easy to prepare dishes that are juicy and full of flavor.
If you don’t have one, now is the time to invest in one.
The type of slow cooker you get will depend on your budget and the amount space you have in your kitchen.
If you don’t have a lot of counter space opt for a small 2.5-quart slow cooker. If you have some space to play with go with the larger, seven-quart slow cooker.
The seven-quart slow cooker has the ability to cook up to 10 meals at the same time. Talk about a time saver!
All you have to do is throw in all the prepared ingredients, plug it in, and go. Most recipes require a minimum of 4 hours to cook. That means you can go run errands while your meals are cooking.
Don’t Be Afraid To Repeat Meals
Its okay if you find yourself eating the same meal or snack several times a week. There is absolutely nothing wrong with repeating meals.
Especially if those meals are enjoyable and are helping you stay on track.
Keep in mind meal prep is about saving time. Preparing a big batch of your favorite meal and dividing it up for the week is a great way to save time.
However, the last thing you want to do is get bored with your meals. The easiest way to prevent boredom is to come up with 3-5 meals that you can repeat.
For example, one week you can have chicken and sweet potatoes, and the next week you can have vegetable stir fry.
Swapping meals out every few weeks will make it easier for you to stick with the program.
Eating healthy is not easy. It is one of the main reasons so many people fail to drop unwanted weight. That’s why meal prep is so important.
Follow these simple hacks and you will find that eating healthy isn’t as challenging as you thought.