As long as I can remember, I have prepped my meals. I didn't go to a school with a lunch program or a cafeteria. We sometimes had a pizza lunch once a semester and boy, did I look forward to that! I remember making the same sandwich the night before school, ham and cheese with mayonnaise on white bread. The best day, the cheese would melt a little bit and the mayonnaise was warm...I get sick to my stomach just thinking about it.
This made way for my eating habits today. I don't like eating the same thing everyday, I organize for work the night before and I make my own lunch. Of course I look forward to ordering lunch once a month as well- we all need a treat. 😁
So since meal preparation is so main stream and popular I wanted to break things down, my way. Simple. Precise.
1. The containers
Now, I know you can easily get that awesome combo pack of containers at Costco. They are so cheap and cute, right? But for meal prep, they are all wrong!
I know it can get expensive, but having the same sized containers is key to success.
Here are a couple of my favourite options:
Glasslock: leak proof, oven/dishwasher/freezer safe, and glass. This container tops my list. A little on the pricey side, $12-$15 but I've had mine for over 3 years and they have been great!
Anchor: glass, oven/dishwasher/freezer safe and affordable. You can usually find these in 3-packs on sale at Canadian Tire.
Clearlock: these are made of BPA-free plastic. I find them really handy for salads and fresh items. Glass can get quite heavy, so for items that I won't be reheating, these are perfect. Again, leakproof and dishwasher/freezer safe.
Mason jars: these, of course have had a reemergence in current society. Not completely leak-proof, but easy to carry around and makes a good drinking vessel when you're done your meal.
2. The Plan
Of course when there's preparation to be done, you need a plan! Answer the following:
When (day and time) will be the best suited for your meal prep? It will usually take 2-4 hours from menu planning to completion.
What do you want to eat? You can spend as little or as much time on this. I suggest looking through Instagram, Flipboard or Pinterest on your lunch break to find some inspiration. Doing this on a regular basis will encourage creativity and get you to try new things.
How much do you want to spend on groceries? Finding a grocery store that has a bulk section will decrease the amount you spend on pantry items like rice, quinoa and toppers like nuts and seeds.
When you have answered those questions, you are well on your way to becoming a master!
3. The Excecution
Meal prep is easier when you have the right tools. Here is a list of some basic items you should have:
Now you can enjoy the fruits of your labour! For the rest of the week you can relax about what you're going to eat! This is the best part about it. Just imagine, getting home taking out dinner, reheating it and then enjoying in front of your favourite show! Ahhh....no cooking, no clean up.
Here's one more piece of advice: find a friend that also wants to food prep and cook for each other! Remember in grade school if you traded your lunches, your friend's sandwich always tasted better? That when someone makes you a grilled cheese sandwich, it's always better than yours? It's because someone else made it.
I find that when you cook for someone else the love and care you put into it, transfers to the food making it tastier. 😍
So there you have it, meal prep in 3 easy steps. Remember that everything takes practice. So if your first attempt takes you 4 hours, it will get easier.
Keep it simple.
Make sure you have perfect portioning:
Eat vegetables, at least half of your plate; eat meat, about 5 ounces or 140 grams and 1/2 cup of starch.
Remeber, like anything, all new things take practice. So start small and within months you will be a meal prep star