5 PRINCIPLES OF MEAL PREPPING
I've been actively researching and educating myself on how to effectively take advantage of the benefits of meal prepping in my journey to healthy eating and eventually weight loss. So far, I have been enjoying the preparation, including the menu planning as well as the slicing and cooking. Aside from observing that we have less food wastage now, I also noticed that my craving for desserts and unhealthy snacks have lessened.
Based on my research, I've found out that meal prep really helps and is one of the key factors in a person's fitness goals. The whole process can be overwhelming for starters though but if you don't give up then everything will be pretty easy to do. In fact, meal prepping can save you so much time in the long run.
The success of meal prep hinges on having a plan - menu plan, shopping plan, cooking plan, and storage plan. Planning is really crucial as it will be the foundation and therefore the dealbreaker of the meal prep.
Create A Meal Plan and Ingredients List
Set aside a few minutes to think about the food you want to prepare and eat. Write down the meal plan so you know the ingredients you need to buy when you go to the supermarket. This step will ensure that you won't forget a crucial ingredient for a certain dish. Stick with staple items when planning your meals. When doing meal prep, I steer clear of making soupy dishes so I prevent food spills inside the refrigerator or when I bring my food outside the house where I don't have a way to reheat it.
Here are a few staple ingredients:
- Proteins: eggs, chicken, fish, turkey, beef, almond milk, yogurt
- Vegetables: broccoli, green beans, carrots, spinach, cucumber, asparagus, bell pepper, cabbage, zucchini, snow peas, radish, chayote
- Carbs: wheat bread, sweet potato, red/brown/black rice
- Healthy Fats: avocado, extra virgin olive oil, almond, peanuts
- Sugars: fruits
Identify The #MealPrep Day
Pick a day to do your meal prep for the week. In my case, I do 2 prep sessions in a week so I won't get tired eating the same food for the whole week plus I won't have any spoilage. The quality of food is maintained if food portions are prepared in smaller batches. I usually choose Monday and Thursday. I don't schedule on weekends because I'm normally busier on these days.
Choose The Right Meal Container
Pick a container that would be able to maintain the freshness and quality of the food. A spill-proof container is recommended. Bento lunchboxes are acceptable as well. When picking a container size matters so make sure you pick what is best for your needs and be mindful of portion control.
Don't let your food go to waste so if you will be on the go make sure to also invest in a cooler or insulated bag.
Cook The Meat
All meats in meal prep should be cooked. Invest in a meat thermometer to ensure that you don't store uncooked or partially cooked meat in your refrigerator. However, it is also good to know that you don't overcook your meats as you are still going to reheat your food when you eat it. You don't want to be eating rubbery meat.
Practice Safe Food Handling
Safe steps in food handling should be practiced at all times to avoid food-borne diseases. You don't want to jeopardize your health so keep this in mind all the time. You can't see bacteria so better be safe than sorry.