Photo by Ella Olsson
The average adult spends 37 minutes per day on food preparation.
Are you struggling to find time to prepare food and do all the extra work involved (serving, cleaning, etc.)? If so, you might want to try bulk meal prepping instead.
Not sure how to meal prep? Want to learn how to make the process more efficient and ensure the food tastes good? Listed below are some effective tips you can start using today.
Benefits of Meal Prep
If you’re having a hard time figuring out how to lose weight, meal prepping could be the perfect solution. Here are some of the top benefits regular meal prepping offers:
Some people are turned off by meal prepping because it seems too time-consuming. In reality, though, it can help you to save time throughout the week.
What if, instead of spending 30-plus minutes in the kitchen every evening after a long day of work, you could just reheat some food you’d already cooked and get dinner on the table right away? That sounds more appealing (and less exhausting), doesn’t it?
How much money do you spend every week on fast food and carry-out from restaurants? If you’re like most people, there’s a good chance that number is higher you want to admit.
If you’re tired of spending your hard-earned money on food that you could prepare at home for a fraction of the cost, meal prepping is a great option to consider. You get to eat fresher, healthier food and you get to stretch your dollars a bit farther.
Reduce Food Waste
Meal prepping also reduces the amount of food you waste. The average American throws out approximately $640 worth of food per year.
When you meal prep, you cut down on the amount of food that you throw out. This helps you save money and reduce your carbon footprint since you’re not putting as much waste into landfills.
Stick to Your Diet
We’ve all been there. We start a new diet with great intentions and do well for a few days (or maybe even a few weeks). Then, our work schedule ramps up, our kids pick up a new activity that requires extra drop-offs and pick-ups, and before we know it, we’re rolling into the drive-through because we don’t have time or energy to prepare our special keto/paleo/vegan food.
When you commit to regular meal prep, you always have food on-hand that aligns with your specific dietary needs. This makes it easier to stick to your diet and see great results from it.
Our Top Tips for Meal Prep
Okay, you’re convinced that meal prepping is right for you and your family. How do you meal prep effectively, though? Here are some tips to help you get started and ensure your food tastes good:
Create a Meal Calendar
The key to effective meal preparation is, well, preparation. You can’t wing this and hope for the best.
Sit down and create a meal calendar for the week (or even the month if you want to be extra ambitious). That way, you’ll know exactly what you want to eat and when.
Write Out a Shopping List
Once you have your meal calendar figured out, write out a shopping list for the week. Take a look in the fridge, freezer, and pantry first to see what you already have on hand (this also helps you to cut costs). Then, write down everything you need and head to the store to stock up.
Schedule Your Shopping and Meal Prep Days
Pick a day that makes sense for grocery shopping and meal prep. For most of us, that’s either a Saturday or Sunday.
If you have some flexibility in your schedule, though, you may want to choose a different day when the stores are less crowded or you have more time to spend in the kitchen cooking. There’s no right or wrong day here. Find one that works for you.
Use Quality Containers
Dividing food into separate containers can help you manage portion sizes and avoid overeating. Look for high-quality, durable containers that can be microwaved and washed in the dishwasher.
Many people prefer glass containers because they last longer than plastic. However, glass can also be bulky and take up a lot of room in the refrigerator, so this might not be practical if you’re prepping for a lot of people.
Add Citrus Juice
Adding fresh lemon or lime juice to your food right before eating is a great way to freshen it up and boost the flavor. Keep some lemons or limes on hand so you can slice one and squeeze some juice to top off your dish.
Store Sauces and Dressings Separately
Avoid adding sauces or dressings to your meals ahead of time. Make them separately and then add them when serving the food.
This helps you to prevent food from getting soggy or slimy (in the case of salad greens). It also gives you a chance to switch up flavors to prevent boredom. For example, if you make pasta and then two different sauces, you can alternate between the two so you don’t get sick of one before the pasta runs out.
Don’t Microwave Fish
If you’re meal prepping fish, try to avoid prepping it more than one day in advance. Remember, fish doesn’t keep very long in the fridge.
When you get ready to serve it, heat it in the oven or a frying pan, too. Microwaving fish is a recipe for disaster, whether you’re at home or in the breakroom at work.
Start Meal Prepping Today
If you’ve had a hard time with dieting and weight loss, these tips for meal prepping can help. Give them a try today so you can save time, stick to your diet, and achieve your goals.
For those who need extra help losing weight, we offer a variety of medically supervised solutions to provide you with more support. Get in touch with us today to learn about our services or to schedule an appointment for a consultation or treatment.
Dr. Anand Thakkar is a licensed Internal Medicine physician. He is Board Certified in Anti-Aging & Regenerative Medicine. He has been a member of the teaching faculty for students at Chicago Medical School and has been featured on ABC, FOX, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes as a recognized authority in wellness, fitness & nutrition, weight loss, anti-aging, hormones & metabolic medicine, holistic medicine, lifestyle coaching and women’s & men’s health.
Learn more about Dr. Thakkar or Chicago Weight Loss and Wellness Clinics here.