Meal Prep for Beginners
Whether you are a work at home mom, a single parent or a student, meal prep is a concept everyone should try at least once. If you ask me for the most important reason, I would say that the effects on your savings will be great in the long run.
I have heard many people say that it’s too hard to meal prep or it might not be an effective solution for their family. But I’m here to tell you meal prep does not have to be difficult.
In fact, there are so many ways meal prep can change your life that I implore you to try it if you haven’t done so.
The meal prep process does not need to be overwhelming if you take the right approach and keep things simple.
You can do as much or as little of it as you want. It’s about choosing a method that’s suited to your needs. For example, you can meal prep for one week’s worth of dinners or you can do just breakfast for a few days.
And if you become pro at meal prepping, you can plan and prep for various meals to last you a whole month! It can be done. You can even make takeaway style meals which are good for your waist and pocket!
So today, I’m going to show you the benefits of meal prepping and how it can seriously improve your lifestyle for the better.
If you want to reduce overwhelm and stress (who doesn’t?) while eating healthy and saving money, meal prepping is really for you.
Save more money
Yes, meal prepping is one of the best ways to support frugality if you are looking to save money. Here is how meal prepping will save you money.
Firstly, meal prep requires planning ahead of time for your meals. You will make a plan, write the list of ingredients you need for those meals, and then shop for it all together.
Once you have set up a system that works for you, it should help cut back on how frequently you grocery shop. I’m a firm believer in grocery shopping less frequently to save money.
The more visits to the supermarket, the more unnecessary food items, and snacks will be purchased leading to overspending (and even waste).
Having your meals organized ahead of time will also mean less temptation to eat takeout. It’s no secret, the less takeout you buy, the more money you will save.
Eat clean and healthy
In the same way, this concept of planning and preparing homemade food presents itself as an opportunity to use fresh, healthy food. Of course, eating healthier through meal prep will still be dependent on the types of food you decide to prepare.
But you will want to take advantage of this opportunity to make it worth your time (and to benefit your health). Meal prep with the aim to eat healthier and you will feel great.
It’s a good way to get into including lean proteins such as grilled chicken and pairing those with roasted veggies and various pulses.
There is a multitude of recipe ideas for healthy meal prep. Do the planning now and you can easily start eating healthy, whole foods.
Another great thing about this concept is that it forces you to dish out healthy serving size portions into those awesome meal prep containers. This will hopefully translate to consuming food in healthy portions.
Okay, I’ve heard a few people say that meal prep means having to eat repetitive meals. But I beg to differ. It’s really what you make it. And frankly, this is quite the opposite of true for me.
In fact, I have started eating a wide range of healthy food just because I intentionally plan to do so. With a little creativity and proper planning, you can create enjoyable, nourishing meals with plenty of variety.
When meal planning, consider the types of protein, carbs and healthy fats you will include, then prepare or pre-cook 2 or 3 different dishes. You will then be able to alternate between those meals.
Save more time
This is a big one for me and it’s the main reason I started meal prepping. I would rather spend less time in the kitchen, and more time doing something else with my time.
That may or may not be true for you depending on how much you enjoy cooking and how much time you have in your hands.
But if you’re looking to cut back on the number of trips to the supermarket, or even on cooking daily or a few times a week, meal prepping is going to benefit you. You will be able to spend more time on hobbies that you enjoy.
Meal prepping is a great way to have flexibility. Depending on preference, it can be done for any meal of the day and/or snacks. You can meal prep for a whole family or just for you.
Because you’re planning ahead of time, you can plan your meals to cater for your children and everyone in the family. There will be no last-minute fuss about what everyone is going to have for dinner or lunch.
Apart from grabbing takeout, there is no better option than meal prep when it comes to convenience at meal times. It’s easy once you get used to it and have a system. You can keep it super simple.
There are so many recipes you can use that are specifically for meal prep. Pinterest is full of these recipes. Most of these meals can also be done in a slow cooker or instant pot, which makes it even easier.
Cuts back on decision fatigue
Yes, decision fatigue is a thing. Let’s face it, we have all been there. Last minute cooking is just not fun. It’s that moment when you need to think up of what to cook and how long it will take you to do it.
It’s having too many choices to make through the day, one of them being how to eat healthier, better, or what to cook. I don’t know about you but I love being able to cut back on the last-minute rush.
Simplify and succeed
And finally, I find preparation helps me do better in other aspects of life. It might seem far-fetched, but meal prepping to eat a variety of healthy foods and portions, you feel better for it.
You also simplify your life and do more of what you enjoy. You will hopefully also have more time to focus on other goals you want to achieve.
So there you have it. That’s my take on how meal prep can change your life and improve your lifestyle. If you’re a beginner and want to meal prep, I would love to share the following practical tips to get started.
Practical tips for meal prep:
- Never freeze a large amount of cooked food in one big container. You will want to store appropriately sized portions in separate containers for easy defrosting.
- Use up an array of interesting herbs and spices to add variety to your meals.
- Buy appropriate meal prep containers, preferably BPA-free since you will do a lot of re-heating. Or if you can, glass containers are a great option.
- Start small with one or two simple recipes you can try. You can always do more as you get better at it.
- Choose ingredients that are fresh and healthy. It makes meal prepping worth your while.
- Avoid buying ingredients you don’t frequently use just for the sake of one recipe. Usually, omitting one or two items (like spices) won’t make a huge difference to the meal.
- You can opt for frozen vegetables and fruit to save time on preparation.
- Try to choose one day of each week, fortnight or month to meal plan and prep, depending on how often you want to meal prep.
And that’s a wrap.
This lovely guest post was contributed by Fana of Happy Nifty Life. Fana is the founder of Happy Nifty Life, a lifestyle blog dedicated to exploring simple life hacks and ideas to create a happy life. She is passionate about discovering savvy ways to save time, manage finances, organize the home and simplify life.
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