How to meal prep for a week
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How to Meal Prep For a Week

6th June 2019
Two dishes in meal prep containers for the week

If your goals involve saving money and overall spending less time cooking individual meals your lifestyle might benefit from a little meal prep. We've compiled a list of different approaches you can take to preparing your weekly meals and enjoying the benefits it brings to everyday life.

If you want to meal prep without doing the planning and organizing, follow our free keto or low carb meal plans which can be found at the end.

Summary of meal prepping

Meal prepping means preparing meals ahead of time. It involves the following:

  1. Decide the meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) you want to have ready for the week
  2. Choose the recipes and method of meal prep
  3. Make a plan to follow and decide when you’ll be doing the cooking
  4. Create a grocery list of all the necessary ingredients and go food shopping
  5. Cook the meals and store safely in fridge or freezer

There is no such thing as a ‘meal prep recipe’. If a recipe can be frozen and reheated, it is suitable for meal prepping. Ultimately choose recipes you like or would like to try.

Meal prep day

A meal prep day is one where 3-7 days worth of meals, whether it be breakfast, lunch, dinner or a combination, are prepared in a single session. How many different meals and recipes are cooked is entirely dependent on your time, skill and the amount of effort you want to put in.

The best way to succeed with this method is to be organized and have a good plan to follow, starting from the grocery list all the way to how the recipes are executed.

Keep things simple in the beginning by only choosing 1-2 of different recipes.

Cooking all your weekly meals in one go is batching all cooking related tasks into one session. Your brain is focussed and you are in a flow state. You have a plan to follow for the upcoming week which eliminates the need to figure out what to eat daily.

Things to consider:
It can be time consuming to organize a big meal prep especially if it's your first time. Even though it cuts down cooking time during the week, it is still a long time to spend cooking at once. There is also potentially lots of washing up.

Tips

  1. You can experiment with new recipes easily without fearing that you’ll have to force feed yourself bad dishes if it all goes wrong.
  2. Using similar ingredients, for example cooking a lot of chicken and using it for two or three different meals with different flavour profiles keeps things interesting and reduces time spent in the kitchen.
  3. You may still have to cook fresh vegetables daily.
Two dishes in meal prep containers for the week

Batch cooking method

This concept is fairly simple to put into practice. Every time you cook a meal, double or even triple the recipe. Then freeze the meals into individual portions for easy access.

This method very quickly builds up a good reserve of freezer food. It creates variety as you can rotate between pre-cooked meals, which is great for those who aren’t keen to eat the same thing every night for a week.

Pick a recipe that you’ve made before. Double it correctly, paying attention to the seasonings. Portion it out and freeze. Rotate between meals.

It does not require extra steps or planning. You may spend slightly more time chopping vegetables and portioning out the remaining meals, however, the extra time is minimal compared to making a meal from scratch.

Things to consider:
This is not a time to start experimenting. Stay away from recipes you’ve never tried before because you may end up with 8 portions of inedible food. And if you throw them out, you waste money, time, effort and food. Only cooking recipes you know and trust will increase the chances that it turns out great.

Tips

  1. Make sure to lable each container/freezer bag. It is hard to distinguish between identical bags of frozen food.
  2. You can even keep a running list on the freezer door of what meals are currently still in the freezer.
  3. Make sure to do the math right of ingredients and season meals correctly. Taste as you go!

The leftover game

Much like the batch cooking method, this strategy also involves cooking a large amount of food in one go. However instead of freezing portions, you’ll be just eating what you made until it’s all gone. Since you are only making one meal and eating it, this method requires very little planning and is very easy to execute.

Things to consider:
Make sure to use nutrient dense ingredients because you won’t be having the most variety in meals. Also keep in mind that the recommended time to keep cooked food in the fridge is between 3-4 days.

Eat a single meal until it is all gone. Repeat.

chopping vegetables ready for meal prepping

Prep-chopping

This method involves having chopped vegetables ready to go in the fridge. Pre-chopping vegetables reduces the overall time spent in the kitchen during the week.

Things to consider:
You still need to have a plan for the week in order to know what you can do ahead of time. Onions, carrots, garlic, peppers ect can all be chopped and happily live in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can do other smaller tasks as well

Do small time consuming tasks to get them out of the way and make cooking faster during the week

Freezing uncooked meals

Placing raw ingredients into a freezer bag/container is a great solution for a lazy weekend meal. All you have to do is to defrost the bag and place the insides into a slow cooker or cooking them on a low heat in the oven.

How to save time while meal prepping for a week

  1. Buy a rotissery chicken or pre-made pulled pork
  2. Use canned beans instead of dried beans
  3. Use frozen vegetables. They last longer and require less overall prep as they can be thrown into a baking tray or steamer easily. Great frozen vegetables include broccoli, pepper mixes and cauliflower
  4. If you find you’re spending a lot of time chopping garlic or onion, these items can be purchased pre-chopped. Garlic can be found in jars and tubes while the onion is usually in the frozen section


Kickstart your journey

Keto & Low Carb Meal Prep Plans

Meal prep your weekly meals with handy shopping lists and step-by-step instructions. Complete with optimised weekly nutritional intake and calculated calories.