Wondering how meal prep works? This Meal Prep For Beginners article will show you how to get started on meal prepping and tips for meal prep success.
Have you been wanting to meal prep but don’t quite know how to get started? This Meal Prep for Beginners post was made for you! Everything that you need to know about how meal prep works you’ll find here, plus some super simple tips to help get you started.
Life can be a little chaotic. And sometimes, that means that there just isn’t enough time in the day to figure out what to do for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Perhaps you want to save time and have all your meals ready in the refrigerator for the work week. Perhaps you want to save money so you’re not forced to eat out during meals. Or perhaps you want to save calories and portion control your meal (as well as have more nutritious options).
Instead of getting stressed out and throwing in the towel, you can easily figure out how to meal prep for beginners. What this means for you is that you’ll have the tools that you need to plan out meals that are weeks in advance. Just think about how much time that will save!
Meal Prep For Beginners: How Meal Prep Works
Cooking meals for yourself or your family is no longer something that you need to dread. Instead, you’ll be able to meal prep and figure out how to make it work well for you.
Whether you want to save time, save money, or save calories, meal prep is a great way to do one or all three of those things.
How do I start meal planning?
This is the first question that most people have! Meal planning actually isn’t all that hard but it’s often presented that way to those who have never tried it.
Meal prepping is actually a super simple process once you get a hang of it. To get started, you just need to pick a day that works well for you to sit down, and write out your menu for the week. Once that happens and you have your meals chosen and picked, you can then head to the store and buy the groceries that you need.
Some people even take it a step further and come home and prep all their recipes that day, too. And while that is another great way to make meal prepping awesome, it’s definitely not a requirement to do all of these things in one day. Batching them together can make the process easier, but it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing type of scenario.
How far in advance can you meal prep?
This can vary per person, but a good rule of thumb is to meal prep no more than one week in advance. This is for a number of reasons but one of the biggest ones is that you don’t want to buy too much food and have it spoil in the process.
Meal prep foods generally last no more than 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Refrigerated soups and stews last up to 5 days. Salads without any dressings or meats can last unto 4-5 days.
If you want to meal prep more than a week out, you can do so but you’ll need to understand that you’ll then be making mainly freezer meals to keep them ready to eat.
A lot of people incorporate freezer meals into their meal planning regimen and it works out really great. Using your freezer can allow you to prep several weeks of food at one time.
How Does Meal Prep Work?
As mentioned above, the meal prep process is actually super simple. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by it, just make certain that you’re breaking it down into easy parts. Start by picking out a day to meal prep and set aside a block of time to make it happen. Sundays are usually a popular day to meal prep for the work week. Use the sale ads for the week to give you inspiration as well if you’re needing to stay on budget.
You can then head to the store and buy your groceries and bring them home to prep. Cook a variety of foods during that block of time and then pre-portion them in containers and have them labeled for the week.
The hardest part about meal prepping is thinking up things to eat. Pull out some cookbooks, look online for inspiration, or just experiment with the food that you’ve bought. You’ll learn very quickly that meal prepping is a great way to get your week started where you actually feel like you’re ahead of the game.
Simple Tips for Meal Prepping
- Don’t overthink meal prepping. If you’re feeling like you’re frustrated or can’t find a rhythm that works for you, take a step back and talk to someone else who also meal preps. More than likely, they’ve had those same feelings. (and they also probably have some awesome tips, too!)
- Keep your meal prepping as simple as possible in the beginning until you get the hang of it. As you get more comfortable, you can then increase your options each and every time.
- Start by prepping for one or two days for the week, then increase the frequency as you discover what foods work best.
- Keep a pantry stocked full of your favorite spices and condiments to help change the taste of different foods.
- Pin some recipes that you think you want to try, bookmark some meal prep websites (like this one!) for more meal prep tips and ideas.
Meal prep for beginners isn’t hard, but it will take a little bit of time to get used to. These simple tips and ideas can be a great way to give you that encouragement and boost to start!
Do you have any tips for those who are just starting to meal prep?
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