Do your goals this this year include staying healthy and spending less?
Here's an easy way you can cut two carrots with one knife: cook your own meals.
Prepping your own meals is a lot cheaper than buying because you can get bulk ingredients at lower prices for more meals. You get to pick the healthy ingredients you want in the serving you need and keep away from that food you should avoid.
This gives you lots of control over portion size and food quality.
There's one obvious drawback though... Meal prep is time-consuming.
Meal Planning Done Right: Your Step-by-Step Guide
Meal planning may sound overwhelming for some, but it does not have to be as complicated as you imagine. If you think that meal preparation is the same as waking up hours before your usual schedule and then rushing through deciding and cooking your meal, then you have it wrong. Effective meal planning is having ideas at least a week in advance and having everything ready before that week.
For you to understand and get started, here are the helpful tips you can follow as a beginner meal planner:
Step 1: Make Sure You Have All the Tools and Equipment You Need
You do not need to invest in a whole new kitchen setup, but at least have a container to put your prepped-in-advance meals. Here are some suggestions you can use:
- Tupperware containers
- Plastic wrap or beeswax wraps
- Brown bags
- Reusable bags
Step 2: List Down Your Meals and Their Ingredients
Here is where the real planning happens. Start listing down the meals you want to eat for the coming week. If you want to save more, make sure to choose meals that share common ingredients. The more dishes you can cook from specific ingredients, the less your waste and the more savings you have.
Some of the most flexible ingredients are pasta, grains, eggs, canned tuna, bread, vegetables, and other salad ingredients. You would be surprised by how many meals you can make from them.
Step 3: Shop for the Ingredients Once a Week
Grocery shopping once a week has many benefits:
- It helps you stick to the ingredients you intend to buy; therefore, it also adheres to the meals you planned
- With all the ingredients present, you can already start preparing your meals and avoid any delays
- It helps you build and stick to a habit
Step 4: Prepare Everything Ahead
Having all the ingredients you need but letting them sit in your kitchen or refrigerator would not do you any good. If you want your meal prep not to take much of your time every day, assign one day to do all the heavy preparations you need.
For the meals you cannot prepare in advance, such as pasta or sandwich, make sure to assemble every ingredient you need the night before. Shred the rotisserie chicken, cut up the vegetables, place layered salads in mason jars, or boil the eggs the night before you plan to eat them. That would speed up the cooking process.
In the morning, all you need is to grab all the ingredients and put them all together, and you have a healthy planned lunch to enjoy for the day.
Start saving money for more important things by preparing your lunch every day. By dedicating a little time to planning and preparation, you can save thousands of dollars a year. You get to master an essential life skill―cooking―and have control over what you eat. Moreover, you would know that you are eating healthy foods with ingredients you can identify.
If you are an office worker or traveller, make sure you have a stylish lunch bag to put your packed meals in. Ru Supply Co. is your source for cute lunch boxes for adults in Canada. We have the most versatile, spill-proof lunch box made from recycled materials you did not think you would need today. Check them out now.
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Designating a day to prepare your meals for the rest of the week takes away a tremendous burden from your daily tasks. It means you don’t have to think about what to eat, or spend an hour or so preparing all three meals every day!
Weekly meal prep saves so much time and energy you can spend with your family or on your hobbies. It can also help you ensure that you are getting all the protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables you need to stay healthy.
Read on for a few simple tips to make meal prep more efficient and to make sure that your packed lunch for the whole week is as delicious as possible.
Tip #1: Plan Accordingly
Meal prep can take several hours. For maximum efficiency, you should make sure that you have all the materials you need:
- Meal plan – Before anything else, you should have a complete layout of all your meals for the week. Your meal plan depends on your personal preferences—maybe you just want to prepare the lunches you’ll bring to the office. Maybe you prefer doing ingredient prep and mix them up to your liking during the week. Your family members likely have favourite ingredients you want to integrate. Take note of theses and incorporate them in your preparations!
- Grocery items – Make sure you have all your grocery items on hand before you start cooking. There’s nothing worse than firing up the stove and realizing you’re out of a crucial ingredient in the middle of meal prep.
Tip #2: Invest In Good Containers
If you are committed to the meal prep life, you should buy all the food containers you need, with a few extra pieces just to be safe. Stackable containers are perfect to organize food items in your fridge. Additionally, they let you separate ingredients inside your cute lunch bag. Vary your containers’ sizes, too—meals come in different shapes and sizes, after all. Make sure to buy small containers for dips and dressings.
Tip #3: Be Creative
By nature, meal prepping will involve a significant degree of repetition. If you or anyone in your family is not fond of repeating meals, you’ll have to be creative when you mix and match your meal components. Do some research and think outside the box—ingredients can be used in so many ways!
Tip #4: Learn From Your Mistakes
Nobody’s perfect, and you will likely have to go through some trial and error before you get through a week without some flubs. Some recipes are just not meant to last in your fridge for several days. While some meals can look and taste appetizing for a week, certain foods will be mushy and inedible by day four. If you make that mistake once, you are better equipped to make smart decisions in the future.
Tip #5: Don’t Take On Too Much
If you’ve never tried meal prepping before, don’t throw yourself into the deep end immediately. You don’t have to prepare breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks all at once. Lunch is an excellent place to start—you know how much food you need to sustain you through the workday, so it’s easier to plan accordingly.
Weekly meal prep is a fantastic habit that saves you a lot of time and energy during the workweek. It helps ensure that you and your family are eating healthy, too. When you bring your packed lunch into the office every day, you need to make sure you’re using high-quality containers and a durable lunch bag.
Instead of using single-use items, you should opt for reusable, ethically-made, no-spill lunch bags. rü supply co. is the best source for lunch bags that will carry all your beautifully prepared meals to your office. Our bags are spacious when you need them to be and compact when you don’t. Check out our store today!