What is meal prep?
It’s simple really, and the chances are you’re already doing it. The concept of meal prep is basically preparing your meals in advance for the next couple days/week etc. In doing so you are able to eat clean, healthy and nutritional meals in work, college or where ever; because let’s be honest, if you’re buying your own lunch each day you likely wont be opting for the healthiest option.
Okay, so now we know what meal prep is we can go into some detail on how to do it, when it’s best to do it, and the pros and cons of doing so.
When and how to do it.
So we already know (or at least you should) that diet and nutrition are essential to maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle. This is why we prepare our meals days before for convenience, and to avoid eating rubbish. Makes sense right? Most people set aside a day (usually Sunday) to prepare all of their meals for the week ahead. If this doesn’t fit your schedule you can simply prepare for only one day in advance, or two, or three, it’s really up to you.
Lets say you’ve set a side a couple of hours at the end of the week for your meal prep. All you want to do is cook your meals for however far in advance you would like. (Don’t go too far as the food will spoil) I recommend that you prepare lunch, and maybe even breakfast, this avoids preparing too many meals, and you get to have a hot meal for dinner when you get home later in the day. Once you have prepared your food, just throw the meals into separate Tupperware containers, and you’re good to go.
You may be thinking that food prepared a week in advance will go bad. And yes you’re probably right. In this case, put your meals for tomorrow in the fridge, and the rest in the freezer. Then simply leave your meals for the next day out to defrost the night before.
Just before moving on, I think it’s important to highlight that sometimes its a good idea to take a break. Eating the same meals can be repetitive, and if you don’t have access to a microwave in the day, eating cold meals on the daily can take its toll. This is why its important to take a day out in the week to treat yourself (maybe a Friday) and buy yourself dinner. You could even prepare your own snacks, and then treat yourself, it’s all about balance, and the best part is that it’s completely up yo you.
The Pros and Cons.
- Allows you to eat healthier: As previously mentioned healthy eating is important, and if we were left to our own devices in our lunch hour it likely wouldn’t end well. The solution? Preparing healthy, nutritional meals in advance.
- It’s convenient: although it can be seen as inconvenient to spend a couple of hours preparing your meals for the following week, the time and hassle you will save throughout the week make it well worth it.
- Saves you money: times are tight, and everyone will jump at a chance to save a little cash. Buying your afternoon lunch as the local deli, shop or food van will almost ALWAYS cost you considerably more than preparing your meals at home.
- Lack of variation: sometimes the options for meals that can be eaten cold and put into Tupperware are limited. This is why many people go with the classic chicken, rice and broccoli 5 days a week.
- Cooking 5 days in advance can be unappealing: understandably eating food that has been frozen, and sitting in the fridge for a while doesn’t appeal to everyone. Alternatively meal prep for a couple days in advance.
Simple meal ideas.
Just before we come to a bit of a conclusion I know that a lot of people get stuck with ideas for what meal to prepare. To help you out here is a short list of ideas you should try:
- The classic chicken, rice and broccoli
- Tuna pasta
- Tuna & sweetcorn wraps
- Chicken and lettuce wraps
- Corned beef hash (surprisingly good cold!)
- Overnight oats (Perfect for breakfast)
- Pork rice bowl
Whatever your pre-made meals consist of, just try to fit in your three macros nutrients. These are key to a healthy diet:
- Healthy fats: Avocado, nuts, and coconut oil etc.
- Proteins: Chicken breasts, lean beef, pork, steak etc.
- Carbohydrates: Breads, pasta, rice etc.
Is it worth it?
In conclusion meal prep is ideal for most peoples lifestyles. Preparing our meals in advance prevents us from eating rubbish at lunch, saves us money from expensive high street prices. It also saves us the time and hassle of going out and looking for something to eat everyday. The only downside is that meals can get a little repetitive, I mean after all there are only so many meals that can be eaten cold and packed into little Tupperware containers. In addition, for some people eating meals prepared 4 or 5 days ago isn’t the nicest thought, however this is an easy fix. By simply preparing meals for one or two days in advance rather than 4 or 5. So yes, meal prep is worth it, and you should defiantly give it a go!