Preparing meals at home has so many benefits! It’s good for your health because you know exactly what is going on in your meals, and you can sub for healthier options. It’s great for your wallet because you aren’t going out and spending money. Plus, you avoid purchasing unnecessary items. It saves time during your week and lets you be a more efficient chef. And the best part… you’ll always have an answer to the dreaded question…"what’s for dinner"!
While it might seem like a huge commitment to prepare your week’s worth of meals in one day, it pays off in the long run.
A 2017 study found that individuals who plan their meals are more likely to have better adherence to nutritional guidelines and increased food variety. In other words, by planning your meals, you are more likely to have a well-balanced, healthy diet with different nutrients. Who doesn’t want that?
If you are curious about taking the meal-preparing plunge, we have got you covered. Try these five meal preparation tricks that will help you become a pro in your kitchen.
Plan your Meals
The first step is always about planning. The mantra is simple; you plan, you succeed. Meal prepping at home is a great way to take care of your diet and cut off all unnecessary expenses. But cooking meals every day can be a tedious job if not planned well. If your goal is to make the most of your time in the kitchen, then start off by listing your meals ahead of the week. You can also start off by listing out a basic outline for the week: Pasta Monday, Taco Tuesday and so on. Many food experts practice that method as well to include all essential nutrients in their meals.
Don’t Shop Until you Drop!
The upfront commitment might seem overwhelming at first, but eventually, you will fall into a routine and the prep becomes less daunting each time. We find that one of the most time-consuming aspects of meal prepping is actually going to the grocery store and buying all of your ingredients for the coming week. Shopping online at Martie eliminates part of the issue. Check off all the things on your grocery list from the comfort of your own couch at a deep discounted rate and doorstep delivery. But while you have the grocery items at your fingertips, do not overstock and end up wasting half of it. Buy only the essential items. Then, go to your local grocery store once per week to get your fresh produce and refrigerated items. Go on the same day at the same time every week, to turn the routine into your behavior! Funny enough, 8 am on Monday mornings is the least busy time to go grocery shopping!
Choose Easy Recipes
Let’s admit, preparing cornbread or lasagna over quinoa salad on a weekday will take you a lot of time. The ideal way is to look for easy recipes to make for the busy weekdays and experiment with different dishes over the weekend. When you find an interesting recipe or something which is easy to prepare, save it. Once you make your picks for the week, buy the ingredients that you will require for these recipes.
Here’s a tip: When you make your meal list, try to include dishes that require minimal effort and similar ingredients. That way, you’ll not just save time in preparing them, but you’ll also limit your expenses.
Explore your Pantry First
Don’t even have the time to shop for new food? No problem! Contrary to popular belief, meal prepping can be done with what is already lying around in your kitchen. Shelf-stable items like canned vegetables and fruit, soup, grains, canned fish, and nuts are all prime ingredients for any of your meals. Don’t be afraid to bring out the frozen veggies and fruits or even remake that pancake batter. Pantry items and freezer finds are just as worthy to be all-stars of your next meal preps.
Portion it out
When you are preparing meals for the week, divide large recipes into ready-to-go single servings to save some time. This will also keep you from overeating and help prepare meals easily for the entire week. Put each serving into re-sealable glass containers or into silicon muffin tins and store them in your freezer for later use. Next time you prepare stew, soup, or broth, think about ways to repurpose it into making other dishes.
Having a healthy home-cooked meal when you’re on the run truly is a game changer! What’s your go-to trick for preparing meals on a busy day? Share your story with us on Instagram and Facebook and get a chance to get featured in our stories!