Meal prepping can save you precious time. With these shortcuts and meal preparation tips, you can save even more time when you meal prep for the week.
Did you know that meal prepping and planning really doesn’t have to be time-consuming at all? If you’re looking for some simple time saving tips for meal planning that you can easily implement without much of your time, you’re going to find that here – plus more.
The biggest complaint that you’ll hear when you talk to people about meal prepping is that they think it just takes way too long to do. Every time I hear this, I can’t help myself but think about how wrong they all are. You can easily meal prep for the week in just a few moments of time! All you need to do is have a little plan and course of action to best use your time wisely.
Does meal prepping save time?
It does! While it might not seem that way in the beginning, I can assure you that it does save time once you get the hang of it. You just have to understand that it takes about a month or so to really get the hang of how to do it properly. In order to give it a fair chance, you have to give it a fair amount of time.
How do you store food for meal prepping?
Storing the food is one of the most important parts of meal prepping so it’s important to make certain that you’re doing it right. You don’t want to spend all that time prepping and planning out your food only to have it go bad or spoil in the process.
Head to the store (or order online) glass or plastic containers that you are using. I recommend using clear containers so you can see in them without having to take off the lid. This will not only save you time, but it will also save your sanity, too.
Keep in mind also that plastic containers can absorb smells, so if you’re really looking for the best options, I always try to use glass containers with lids if at all possible.
How many days can I meal prep for?
This is really up to you, but I don’t like to meal prep more than 5 days in advance. That way. I can be certain that the food that I’m preparing is the freshest and most delicious taste, ever. (and to be honest, 5 days might be pushing it, too. Three days might be a little better of a number to shoot for!)
Make certain that you’re paying attention to the expiration dates on the food items that you’re using as well. If something doesn’t have a long shelf life, that needs to be in your memory bank when you’re using that ingredient. The point of meal prepping is to get ahead and be able to have healthy and quick options so the last thing that you’re going to want to worry about is getting sick from some of the food choices.
Time Saving Tips For Meal Prepping
If you’re looking for some simple time saving tips for meal prepping, these are some great ideas that can really help!
- Plan out your meals and shop on the same day
If you’re anything like me, you just might forget everything that you worked so hard in planning if you don’t act quickly. Don’t allow yourself to run out of steam that fast. If you’ve sat down and are meal planning and prepping for the week, finish it out by heading to the store and buying all the ingredients that you need.
That way, you can easily get started right away on getting your meals prepped and planned out for the week.
- Hire out your grocery shopping
Technology is wonderful nowadays. You can hire someone to do your grocery shopping for you and have it delivered. Apps like Instacart and Shipt makes this tasks a breeze. Simply provide your star and grocery list on the app, and then a shopper will shop for you and deliver it for a fee. If time is more a priority than budget, then grocery shopping apps might be worth it. Amazon Prime also offers this service in select markets.
- Stick to one protein and go with it
What can make meal prepping feel like it’s taking forever is when you try to cram too much into the process. I like to pick a protein or a vegetable that is on sale for the week and base all my future meals around that item. Not only does it mean that I’m saving a ton of money easily, but it also means that I can be super-efficient when making all the meals, too.
If you’re planning on having a bunch of meals with chicken in it, it’s really simple to cook the chicken in one big batch and then figure out a lot of easy recipes to use it in. This is a huge and easy way to save a ton of time when meal prepping.
- Pre-Cut products
More and more grocery stores are offering pre-cut or prepared product for you to just simply include in your meals. You can get pre-sliced fruit. You can buy washed and cleaned salad packs full of greens. You can also find pre-cut vegetables that are already ready to be cooked. If you don’t mind the frozen stuff, you can also get some fruit and veggies that are frozen. Then you simply have to heat it up to include in your meal prep.
- Chop a few extra items
If you’re going to be doing some chopping and preparation, you might as well prepare a few extra portions of your most used ingredients. For example, chop up a few extra onions while you have everything out already. Use what you need and store the rest. If you know you are using carrots in a meal prep meal, then clean and chop up some extra for a healthy snack.
- Make extra portions
For certain meal prep-friendly meals, you can make extra portions so you’ll have leftovers. For example, if the family is having chili that night, make extra so you can have some chili in your meal prep meals or have some to freeze for the future. When you are cooking bacon on the weekend, cook some extra slices to have for your meal prep lunches.
- Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker
This handy kitchen gadget can save you a lot of time in defrosting and cooking. Simply set it, and your meals can be cooked in a fraction of the time. I’ve been loving my Instapot for when I forget defrost the chicken.
- Buy the pre-made stuff
If you know you don’t have a lot of time for meal prep that week, don’t sweat it! You can get the pre-made stuff and still have a nutritious meal. Buy a grocery store rotisserie chicken and cut it up for salads or meals that week. I love these cauliflower rice packets to have on hand for a quick side. Another quick and easy breakfast staple are these breakfast sandwiches (I just throw away the bread part to save on calories and carbs).
- One Pot or One Sheet Meals
Save time by not having to do as many dishes. With one pot or one sheet meals, most of your mess can be cleaned up easily. For one sheet meals, you can line the baking pan with foil to save even more time.
- Clear Containers
As mentioned before, using clear containers and food storage can help quickly see the food and what you have to eat. You can get them with clear lids like this or clear all around like these. Having clear containers also helps you easily stack similar meals together so you can grab and go. For example, all the chicken meals are in one stack and all the salads are in another stack.
- Keep dressings in the fridge.
If you are doing meal prep to save on calories then you can portion out your condiments and dressings. I put them in these little plastic containers. Once you’ve been meal prepping for a while, you’ll know the portion size of dressing you’ll need. If you have access to a refrigerator at work, see if there is room to store dressing and condiments there. You can save time by not having to portion out your dressings and condiments. You can simply just use them straight from the container at work.
When done correctly, meal prepping is a great way to save time! The sooner you get started, the more time that you’ll have to concentrate on other things.
Do you have any time saving tips for meal prepping?
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