You’ve made your list, and you’ve shopped… now what? Now you need to start thinking about your storage options. Are you going to use glass? Plastic? Partitioned meal prep containers? That’s completely up to you and what makes the most sense for your budget. Personally, we use the bulk meat storage option, and just weigh it out for each meal, because our fridge isn’t super large.
- Sausha: I touched on this a little earlier, but investing in a nice set of portioned containers helps immensely in the beginning of your meal prepping journey. When they’re portioned, all you have to do is weigh your food and stick it in there and then it’s just heat and eat and it’s way easier to log or write down every day.
Get a few different sizes of containers, and make sure you get some little guys for your condiments. The 20-24 oz containers are good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner… and the 1 cup size containers are great for snacks.
TIME TO COOK
While you get used to meal prepping, set aside a 2-4 hour block once a week to prep your food… Sunday is a good day for this because it sets you up for a work week full of awesome food, with a meal or two available if you want to get delivery or go out to eat. If you want to cook more than once a week, set aside 1-2 hours on Sunday and Wednesday for meal prep.
Sadie: Cook all of your protein at the same time. This is where I love the instant pot, because you can literally throw pounds of chicken in there and it will cook perfectly in less than 45 minutes. While the chicken is getting tasty in the instant pot, brown your ground beef. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, this is a good time to prep your tofu, beans, lentils, quinoa… whatever your favorite protein options are.
- Sausha: The WAY you cook your meals is really up to you. If you want to batch cook your proteins so you can season and sauce based on how you feel on a given day, do that. If it doesnt bug you to eat the same thing most of the week, make it all the same flavor profile. I personally think it’s most fun to batch my protein because then if I make a big thing of shredded chicken, I can have a variety of meals out of it: tacos, enchiladas, salads, sandwiches, etc. That keeps me from chicken fatigue!
How are you going to cook your veggies? Roasted, steamed, raw? Cut and prep all of your veggies once your protein is finished, cut them the same size so everything finishes at once. Don’t forget the salt and pepper!
- I typically like to do the same with my veggies because then I can season them the way I want to based on the day. I like roasting a big batch of the veggies I chose for the week.
Now that veg is handled, cook your starches if you’re going to have rice or quinoa on the menu. Got potatoes? Get them hacked up and cook them on a different pan while you cook your chicken in the oven.
- Sausha: For your carbs, I’ve found it’s easiest to batch these out, too. If you’re picking rice or lentils or quinoa, it’s all plug and play there, too. Then you just have to divy it up into your containers and boom, you have lunch or dinner.
Let’s talk breakfast. Breakfast is essential, and it can be whatever you want it to be… if you’re not into eggs and ham, make yourself a second lunch and take that as your breakfast… whatever you choose, just make sure you’re eating breakfast because it sets the tone for the rest of your day. Easy breakfast options are: egg bakes, omelets, protein muffins, oatmeal, and cereal.
- For breakfasts, there are a ton of options that are easy on the go or easily heated up. Something like an egg sammy is great because you can make 5-6 or them and then freeze them and grab them each morning and toss them in the microwave. You just have to cook your eggs how you like them, the sausage, throw some cheese on if you like and then put it on an english muffin. Wrapping them in parchment paper and then putting them in individual bags makes it super easy to have a balanced morning sandwich with hardly any effort for the week.
- Mini egg cups are great for this also. You can plug different veggies or even an additional protein source in. cook them in a muffin tin and they’re preportioned for your days.
Meal prep doesn’t have to be super complicated, don’t get fancy, and you’ll be just fine. It’ll take you a couple of weeks to find your groove, but be patient… you can do this. If you have meal prep questions, or need some inspiration, hit us up.