Meal planning is the practice of preparing entire meals or dishes ahead of time. It is especially popular among busy individuals since it may save a significant amount of time. Having pre-prepared meals on hand can also help you limit portion size and achieve your dietary objectives. You’ll avoid unhealthy alternatives like TV dinners or takeaway this way, especially if you’re feeling stressed or weary. Meal planning can also lead to more healthful meal choices in the long run since it requires you to decide what to eat ahead of time.
Contrary to popular belief, there are several ways to meal prep that do not all include spending an entire Sunday afternoon cooking food for the upcoming week. You can select the strategies that are most effective for you.
Different Ways to Meal Prep
You may believe that preparing meals for the week ahead will take up a significant portion of your weekend. However, because there are several methods for food preparation, you don’t have to spend an entire Sunday afternoon in the kitchen. Everyone can discover a meal preparation approach that works for them. The following are the most prevalent methods of meal preparation:
Make-ahead meals: Complete meals can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated or reheated at mealtimes. This is especially useful for dinnertime food.
Batch cooking is making huge quantities of a certain recipe and then dividing them into individual pieces to be frozen and consumed over the course of several months.
Individually portioned meals: preparing fresh meals and dividing them into individual grab-and-go pieces to be refrigerated and consumed over the next few days. This is very useful for fast lunches.
Ingredients ready to cook: Preparing the components for certain meals ahead of time to reduce cooking time in the kitchen.
The method that will work best for you depends on your goals and daily routine.
For instance, make-ahead breakfasts might work best if you’re looking to streamline your morning routine. On the other hand, keeping batch-cooked meals in your freezer is particularly handy for those who have limited time in the evenings. The different meal-prepping methods can also be mixed and matched depending on your own circumstances. Start by choosing the most appealing method, then slowly experiment with the others to determine what suits you best.
Cooking Time Saving Techniques
- Stick to a Consistent Schedule
- Pick the Right Combination of Recipes
- Organize Your Prep and Cook Times
- Make a Shopping List
The Bottom Line
Meal prepping is great for people who want to spend less time in the kitchen. It can also promote nutrient-rich, healthy meals and discourage less nutritious fast food options. Depending on your goals, schedule and meal preferences, meal prepping may involve making large batches to be frozen, full meals to be refrigerated or prepared ingredients to be combined as needed. Find a method that works for you and pick one day per week to meal plan, shop and cook.