Meal Prep for 2020 | New Year, New You
We are sure you’ve heard about the popular food trend that is meal prepping. It’s a great way to save time and money, reduce food waste, and make healthy eating easier. 2020 is the start of a brand new decade, so it’s the perfect time to try something new that will change you for the better!
What is Meal Prep?
Meal prep simply refers to preparing a meal(s) and portioning it out to eat later. Generally, meal prepping involves preparing 3-7 days worth of food at one time, so you only have to cook once. During a meal prep session, you can prepare one or two simple recipes that keep well and eat several portions of those recipes throughout the week.
Why Meal Prep?
Meal prep is all about making your life easier. Prepping all of your meals for the week in one or two sessions saves you a lot of time throughout the rest of the week that you can devote to other activities. Additionally, having meals already prepared can save you money because even when you are too tired after work to make something, you already have a home-cooked meal you can pop in the microwave. If eating healthily is a struggle for you, preparing your meals ahead of time can make it a lot more convenient and affordable.
What Can You Meal Prep?
What you can meal prep truly depends on your own palate, but there are some general guidelines on what foods are best for meal prepping. Some foods that work well for meal prepping include: cooked grains and pasta, cooked beans, cooked meats, roasted vegetables, hearty fresh vegetables (like carrots, bell peppers, kale, etc.), whole fruit, nuts, cheese, and sauces/dips. Foods that don’t usually meal prep well include soft fruits and vegetables (think lettuce, berries, and cut fruit) and crunchy items, like fried foods, crackers, and chips.
It also helps to pack ingredients individually to keep flavors fresh and prevent some ingredients from making others soggy. Most people heat their prepared meals in the microwave, but you can also prepare meals that are served cold if you don’t have access to or a desire to use a microwave.
How Do You Get Started?
The key to starting and sticking with meal prep is to start simple. For example, you could try packing up dinner leftovers and bringing them for lunch the next day for a week. Pay attention to what types of foods you enjoy as leftovers and keep that in mind when you actually start prepping. Once you are ready to dive in, buy some divided, microwaveable meal prep containers and choose one meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) to prep for and one simple recipe to start with. After you get comfortable prepping one meal at a time, try prepping two. If you find it overwhelming, feel free to go back to one! Even if you are only able to prepare one set of meals for yourself each week, that is still a huge accomplishment.