Many people avoid meal prepping because they can’t think of anything worse than sacrificing their Sunday afternoon to chopping, cooking, and packaging food. However, it doesn’t have to be a boring or frustrating experience.
Set yourself up with high quality cookware, utensils, and storage containers, and you can turn meal prep into a fun and rewarding experience. The tips below will help you do just that.
1. Blast your favourite tunes
There’s nothing quite like music when you need to lift your mood and get motivated for a repetitive task. You can transform the otherwise tedious job of meal prepping into a delightful experience of dancing and singing around your kitchen. Explore the entire discography of a favourite artist, play some nostalgic 80s anthems, try out a genre you’ve never listened to before – you’ll soon develop a wider appreciation for the music that’s out there. You may even find that the good mood that arises lasts all through the week.
2. Start with whole foods
To ensure you’re creating healthy meals, it’s essential to start with the right ingredients. For carbohydrates, opt for fruits, vegetables, and complex carbs like brown rice, quinoa, and oats. For protein, vegans may wish to consider beans, lentils, hemp hearts, and tofu. Non-vegans may wish to add eggs, fish, chicken, and lean cuts of beef or pork. Some healthy fats to consider for your meals include avocado, nut butter, tahini, extra virgin olive oil, and chia seeds.
By sticking with whole foods and avoiding processed ingredients, you’ll have a good basis for constructing healthy meals.
3. Vary your meals
While it might seem easy to make the exact same thing for lunch every day of the week, you’re likely to get bored with it and end up binning it in favour of a tastier takeaway meal. So, be sure to give yourself a varied diet, not just week to week but day to day and meal to meal. You can still use many of the same ingredients – just prepare them in a different format. For example, you might pack a delicious avocado-basil salad for lunch one day and a creamy avocado-basil pasta the next.
4. Stock your pantry with spices
One of the best ways to add variety to your meals is to experiment with different herbs and spices. The same basic pasta dish, for example, may taste completely different if you spice it up with oregano one day and chili the next. Use recipes, cooking gurus, and herb and spice combination guides to figure out which flavours generally pair well together. From here, you’ll be able to get a sense of what you personally enjoy, and you can riff on the themes to develop your own perfect flavour profiles.
5. Buy in bulk
While you will be creating variety in your daily and weekly diet, you will also be working with a core group of staple ingredients. This means you can save money and cut down on wasteful packaging by purchasing ingredients in bulk.
Brown rice, quinoa, oats, barley, buckwheat, and the like can all be purchased in bulk and stored in your pantry or a suitably cool, dry space. You can even purchase protein sources like chicken or edamame in bulk, separate them into portions, and freeze them. The same goes for frozen vegetables.
Follow the tips above, and you can transform meal prep into a fun and rewarding activity you actually look forward to each week.
Photo: S’well / Unsplash