Save Time and Energy with Meal Prep by Beyond Type 1

Meal Prepping is for Everyone

They say failure to plan is planning to fail, and that applies to your nutrition too. The best way to set yourself up for success in the kitchen is to meal plan and prep. 

Meal planning means deciding what you would like to eat for your meals each day of the week. From that list of meals, you can create your grocery list and shop. 

Meal prepping means cooking meals ahead of time so they’re ready to grab, pack, and reheat. However, for people with busy lives, meal prepping can sound overwhelming—but it doesn’t have to be. Meal prepping is for everyone and can be as easy or as complicated as you make it. Here are some tips and tricks to save time and energy while meal prepping. 

Save Time and Energy with Meal Prep
How to Save Time and Energy with Meal Prepping

Always Have a Grocery List
Shopping without a list, or worse, hungry, is an easy way to overspend and end up with a soggy bag of spoiled lettuce in the back of your refrigerator. Many people go shopping without a list and try to come up with a plan for all the ingredients they purchase afterward. Without a clear plan for how you will be using your groceries, they’re more likely to go to waste. Coming up with a recipe on the spot can be frustrating and may lead to people ending up at a drive-thru instead. Save time and money by always having a grocery list so you’re in and out of the grocery store with exactly what you need.

Buy Pre-Portioned and Pre-Cut Foods
Although you can save money buying foods, like yogurt, and portioning it yourself, it can be easier to buy pre-portioned foods, like individual yogurt cups, instead. Pre-portioned foods make meal prepping as easy as grab and go. There are many options, like individual peanut butter servings, hummus and pretzel cups, bistro snack packs, pre-sliced fruit and veggie cups, and many more. Save time cutting and portioning food yourself and purchase pre-cut and pre-portioned foods where you can. 

Set It and Forget It
The best way to save time and energy with meal prepping is to pick recipes that let you set it and forget it. Not being stuck stirring a pot frees up your time to do other things. Free up your time and hands by using recipes for crockpots, pressure cookers, and sheet pans. 
Crockpots, or slow cookers, can be prepped the night before and started on your way out the door the next morning, like this spinach lasagna
Pressure cookers require some more hands-on cooking but cut down the time it would normally take to cook. You can use your pressure cooker to cook chicken thighs in less than ten minutes and other dishes, like cauliflower chickpea curry.
Sheet pan recipes allow you to cook multiple foods at once like chicken breasts and diced veggies, like this sheet pan chicken, green beans, and potatoes. By using just one sheet pan, you’ll also save time and energy by washing fewer dishes.

Batch Cook
What is batch cooking? Batch cooking foods can make meal prepping a breeze by cooking large batches of food to use for multiple meals. By making food in bulk, you save time during the week from having to cook every day. Here are just some foods you can cook in bulk:   
Brown rice is a staple food to cook. Use it as a side dish, in stir fry, in burrito bowls, etc.
Oven-roasted veggies are perfect for saving time. Just chop, season, coat in olive oil, and pop in the oven.
Chicken breasts can be cooked ahead of time and used in several ways for multiple recipes. Pair it with oven-roasted veggies, shred it for tacos, put it in BBQ sauce, and more. 

Save Leftovers for Later
Meal prepping can be hard if you’re cooking for one or even two. Don’t let that stop you from meal prepping. If you find yourself making too much food for one week, freeze it! Most foods freeze really well in freezer bags or Tupperware. However, foods like lettuce, cabbage, and cucumbers do not freeze well and cream-based sauces may split if frozen. Freezing food in single portions can make it easier to take out and pop in the microwave to eat. 

One Meal at a Time
Meal prepping doesn’t have to be complicated. If you’re new to meal prepping, take baby steps. Pick one meal to start with, like breakfast. Once you have a handle on getting breakfast prepped, then you can add on lunch, then dinner, then snacks. You don’t have to prepare for a whole week, you can prep for two or three days at a time depending on your schedule. Start small and then add in. There are tons of recipes online to give you new ideas!

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