Getting healthy in the new year can seem overwhelming. One way to help you stay on track is by preparing in advance for your meals. This will help you avoid making poor eating decisions just because you want an easy option. Although meal prepping can seem like a lot of work, there are a lot of things you can do to make it easy and stress-free. Here are five tips that will help you get started and stay on track with your new healthy eating habits.
Planning ahead is the key to keeping the stress out of meal prep. Choose a day of the week that you will sit down and plan what your meals will be and what groceries you will need to purchase for them. You can even categorize your shopping list by grocery store department to make shopping a breeze. Keep your ingredients organized once you get them home also. This way, when you are ready to prep your meals, you will be able to find all your items quickly and easily. Make sure that your kitchen tools and dishes are also in good order so that you can quickly access them when needed.
Use Quality Containers
Trying to meal prep with mismatched storage containers will be nearly impossible. You’ll want to have a dedicated set of containers that are suited to your needs. Try to have at least a couple of size options that can handle different shapes and types of foods. Make sure your containers are microwave and dishwasher safe to make reheating and clean up easy. Taking good care of your containers will extend their life and ensure you have clean containers when you need them. Having a water softener in your home can help your dishes last longer and come out of the dishwasher cleaner.
Have Spices On Hand
If you want to stick with meal prepping for the long run you need to make sure that your meals are not only healthy, but tasty. Having a variety of different spices in your pantry will allow you to give your food lots of flavor. You can also change up meals easily by adding different seasonings. By meal prepping the same foods with different flavors, you can ensure that you don’t get bored and give up on your meals half way through the week. Many spices also have health benefits, so adding them to your food can further ensure you are getting a nutritious meal every day.
Keep Track of Your Favorites
The biggest obstacle of meal prepping is making things you actually want to eat. By tracking your favorite recipes in one spot, you will have an easy list to refer to when it’s time to make your plan for the week. You should also keep note of any alterations you made to recipes so that you can easily change things up for next time. Come up with a system that works for you, whether that is a recipe box, a binder, or simply a handwritten list. You can even keep a list of recipes or food combinations you didn’t like so that you don’t make the same mistake twice.
Cook in Batches and Freeze
Making things in large batches can be very cost effective in addition to saving time. You can make a large amount of sauces, broths, soups, or even some types of sandwiches and freeze them to pull out when needed. This method will allow you to prep for lengthier periods because your food will last longer. Using a combination of previously prepared frozen items and fresh items when you do your weekly meal prep will allow you to cut more time off your preparation. Having many frozen staples on hand will also allow you to bring as much variety as possible to your meals.
It’s easy to convince yourself that healthy meal prepping is confusing, takes too much time, or is simply too much work. However, following these simple tips can make healthy eating much more manageable.