How to plan for a meal prep
1. Decide which meals to make
The biggest part of starting to meal prep is being prepared. Not just finding recipes, but choosing practical recipes that you'll actually want to eat. Next, you need to make sure that you're making enough for the whole wee or whatever your needs are. For me, I meal prep lunches and dinners for the workweek, so I need 10 meals.
Then, it's time to decide how many different meals you want to make. Do you want 2 different meals for the whole week? 4 different meals? I've found it's easier to make two meals for the whole week.
2. Check the fridge and pantry before going to the store
This is crucial and helps you eliminate extra cost by not buying duplicates. If you already have a bag of quinoa, don't buy more unless you need it. Same with other ingredients.
3. Make a list!
Now I'm probably neurotic, but I make two lists before heading to the store. The first is a larger list of all possible ingredients I will need for my meals that week. Then I go through the pantry and fridge and remove items from the list that I already have. Then, I create a new list to take to the store. This list I organize into sections based on groups of common ingredients and the where I would find them in the store. This helps cut down on time spent shopping as I do not have to go back and forth because I forgot to get something.
4. Ensure that you have adequate storage
So, now that you've chosen your meals and made your list, you still have to store the food you make. Next week I'll post a cheat sheet for food safety guidelines, however, you want to ensure the containers are not too deep if you're storing hot food. Storage can be done in many ways, but the easiest is to just have containers for each meal you need. This way you can grab and go throughout the week. Another popular way is to put all the separate parts into their own containers and portion out throughout the week as needed. Choose whatever works best for you!
5. Keep it simple
Once you start cooking, look for ways to make your life easier. Can veggies be cooked together in batches? Or utilize one pot recipes to eliminate mess and stress.
6. Portion out and put away
Once all your meals are done, you can rest easy knowing the week ahead will have one less stress.