Tips for Meal Prep
The concept of meal prepping sounds pretty nice, but do you find it a little inconvenient? You’d sure like an avocado kale salad with red onions and a bunch of other things that need to be finely chopped… but you’re hungry now. That angry kind of hungry. Hangry. Hangry doesn’t like to wait. With contempt, you reach for an energy bar, wincing at the preservatives and fake sugars as they sink into your impatient taste buds. The lone avocado sits in your fridge, hoping you’ll somehow have the patience to make do with it before it oxidizes.
If your avocado is on the verge of oxidation, this might be the blog for you! Meal prep doesn’t have to be as messy and time-consuming as you’re making it, and it can even be fun! Just think of the cons that come along with being unprepared for your hangry… overspending on premade grocery sandwiches; having few healthy options at a drive-through; buying energy bars in bulk to quickly combat the hangry, only to find that the energy bars are gross. There are some disgusting ones out there — ie. the pumpkin-flavored ones that hit the discount rack before Halloween even hits.
Here Are Some Tips to Meal Prep?
So what can you do to stop those awful things from happening?
Have Your Produce Already Washed
When you come home with your groceries, get some towels ready, and line them up on the counter. Wash every apple, every tomato, every easily washable plant! If you wait to wash them until you use them, you could be adding quite some time to your meal prep. Think of all the chopping, mixing, seasoning, and cooking you already have to do. Adding some washing and drying to all that is not only a pain, but it can take up space in a kitchen that’s already cluttered with cutting boards and knives. Just take this step out altogether!
If you don’t want to wash everything as soon as you get home — I get it, you’re probably tired — at least have your produce washed well in advance. Try to plan your meals the day before, and have everything cleaned by later that night.
Have Everything Pre-sliced
Well, pre-slice everything you wish to be sliced.
Either purchase your fixings sliced — keeping in mind that the price is usually higher — or slice them early. Is there a particular way you always (or only) consume a certain food? An onion is a good example, as I’ve yet to meet someone who bites a whole one like it’s some putrid species of apple. Should you catch yourself in one of those “Geez, I’m bored and wish I had something productive to do,” moments, remember your onion! Get it on the cutting board before you think of something less productive you could do instead! Now your onion will be ready for the omelet you suddenly crave the next morning.
Onions are the only tasty yet semi-tedious food. Pineapples should be called pain-apples (haha, I just made that up!) If you’re wanting a sweet and sour dish, it’ll be much easier to execute if that spiky fruit is already cubed.
Yay! That’s another messy step out of the way if you have it done in advance!
Make Extra Servings
This is a really helpful one! When preparing a meal, make more servings than there are eaters. You’ll not only have instant meals for later, but you can actually stop yourself from overeating. This might sound contradictory, but it works (at least for me). It’s hard to gauge exact amounts for the ideal serving when you’re cooking, and you can end up with an unbalanced amount of food if you try to do just that. If you end up with one and a half servings instead of just one, you might feel inclined to eat that half serving instead of saving that tiny bit for later. It adds up after a while if you do it too much. And it’s not just adding up in your belly, it’s adding more time to your next meal prep! Having leftovers is one of the best ways to meal prep!
Cook with a Partner
For obvious reasons, this will speed things up! You steam the rice, so-and-so will spice and cook the protein, and we’ll assume your veggies are already chopped. This can make it more fun too!
Read the Entire Recipe First
Ever experiment with a new recipe, following step by step… and then you reach a step that calls for something that you don’t have? For example, the recipe calls for an egg yolk separator, and you don’t have one. And you’re terrible at separating yolks. But you didn’t know you’d have to separate them until it was too late! Should have read ahead.
Consider Owning Weird Kitchen Gadgets
Why not own the egg yolk separator?! Or an apple corer? A garlic peeler? Or a handheld salad chopper? I love my handheld salad chopper! It really chops (haha) the time!
I’ll admit, some gadgets make me roll my eyes and say “have we really become this lazy?” A banana slicer is a real thing… sorry, but I think that’s just going too far.
But really! Is there anything that slows you down when you’re preparing food? Is there something that you make quite regularly that would be easier if you only had the right tools? Next time you find your meal prep time consuming, narrow in on the ingredient that’s taking up the most time. Is it the peeling of the potatoes? Are your hands always swollen after dealing with that peeler? If so, maybe consider a fancier one. Find one that’s extra sharp and has a comfortable handle. Just google search a tool for any specific food, and I guarantee you will find something!
Now Get Prepping!
Have your raw food swimming in the marinade for the next few hours and leave the dough out to rise. Happy meal planning!
Written by: Katrina Jenkins, LMT
Photo credit: Canva