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Meal planning and meal prepping are often confused, but these are two entirely different things. With meal planning, you are simply deciding what the future meals will be. Meal Prepping is the process of preparing your meals ahead of time, usually to save both time and money. There are many different ways to Meal Prep, and this article will explore some of the most popular methods.

Benefits of Meal Prep

Meal prepping can offer several benefits, including:

Save money.

By preparing your meals ahead of time, you can avoid spending money on expensive take-out or restaurant meals.

Eat healthier

When you have prepared meals ready to go, you are less likely to make unhealthy choices when you are hungry.

Save time.

By taking the time to prep your meals ahead of time, you can save yourself both the time and effort of having to cook every day.

Reduce food waste

When you meal prep, you can make sure that all of the food you buy gets used, which can help reduce the amount of food waste in your home.

Stay on track with your diet

If you are trying to lose weight or eat healthier, Meal Prepping can help you by making it easy to stick to your goals.

Types of Meal Prep

There are many different ways to Meal Prep, and the best method for you will depend on your family’s needs and preferences. Some of the most popular methods include:

Batch Cooking:

This method involves cooking all of your meals at once and then storing them in the fridge or freezer to be eaten later. Batch cooking can be a great way to save time, as you only have to cook once, but it can also be helpful if you have trouble sticking to your Meal Prep plan.

Meal Planning:

Meal planning is a great way to make sure that you are always prepared with healthy meals. It involves creating a menu for the week and then prepping all of the ingredients ahead of time. This can be a great way to save money, as you can buy in bulk and cook multiple meals at once.

Pre-made Meals:

This Meal Prep method involves buying or cooking complete meals that are ready to eat. This can be a great option if you don’t have time to cook, or if you want to make sure that you always have a healthy meal on hand.

Meal Kits:

Meal kits are a great way to get all of the ingredients and instructions for a healthy meal, without having to do any of the work yourself. They can be bought online or in stores, and they usually come with everything you need to make a complete meal.

Meal Delivery:

Meal delivery services are a great way to get healthy meals delivered right to your door. These services can be a great option if you don’t have time to cook, or if you want to make sure that you always have a healthy meal on hand.

How to Get Started Meal Prepping

If you’re new to Meal Prepping, the process can seem daunting. But with a little planning and preparation, Meal Prepping can be easy and stress-free. Here are some tips for how to Meal Prep:

1. Choose a Meal Prep method: The first step is to decide which Meal Prep method will work best for you. Are you short on time? Then a Meal Kit or Meal Delivery service may be a good option. If you have more time, then you may want to try Meal Planning or Batch Cooking.

2. Choose your recipes: Once you’ve chosen a Meal Prep method, it’s time to choose your recipes. Make sure to choose recipes that are easy to make and that you know your family will enjoy.

3. Gather your supplies: Before you start cooking, make sure you have all of the supplies you need. This includes ingredients, storage containers, and any kitchen equipment you might need.

4. Preheat the oven: If you’re Batch Cooking, preheat the oven so that it’s ready when you are.

5. Start cooking: Now it’s time to start cooking! Follow the recipes you’ve chosen, and cook all of your meals at once.

6. Store your meals: Once your meals are cooked, it’s time to store them. If you Meal Plan, then you can portion out your meals into individual containers. If you Batch Cook, then you can store your meals in the freezer to be eaten later.

What Containers Should You Use?

When it comes to prepping food, you must be extremely selective about the containers you use. These aren’t only being used to store the components and cooked meals; they’re also intended to keep food fresh for longer. You must select what you put items in and how they are stored with care. Here are some suggested food storage containers:

Plastic Storage Items 

Plastic is okay to use, however you should be aware of the type of plastic you’re using. First and foremost, make sure it’s microwave safe, and dishwasher safe. Also verify that the plastic containers don’t contain any BPA, which might be harmful if consumed or cooked in.  If you’re uncertain about the plastic, don’t use it. Opt for something else that is safer.

Airtight Containers Are Ideal.

Make sure your containers have airtight lids to keep food fresher for longer. If you’re using Tupperware-type containers, fill them with water first and then turn them upside down to check for leaks. This is a simple method of determining how long your food will stay fresh in the container.

Use Mason Jars 

Mason jars are fantastic for keeping certain things and meals. You can use mason jars for overnight oats, smoothies, and other breakfasts on the go. They are also a great way to store prepared fruit.

You can also try packing each day’s salad in a wide-mouth mason jar if you like to bring a salad to work. Fill them with the heavier items at the bottom and the greens at the top so they don’t get soggy or crushed. Make sure to keep your salad dressing in a different container.

Casserole Dishes For Storing and Baking. 

When you’re cooking larger meals ahead of time to be reheated every night, casserole dishes can be the way to go. It’s best to use glass dishes that you can also use for baking and freezing. When using glass, make sure they’re left out after cooking to cool down before putting them in the freezer or they might fracture.

10 Meal Prepping Tips

When you first begin meal prepping, there are a few more things to bear in mind. After you’ve completed your meal plan, follow these easy instructions for preparing your meals:

1. Label everything with the date, meal, and any special instructions. This will make it easier to grab what you need when you’re ready to eat and avoid any confusion.

2. Precook anything that can be cooked ahead of time. This includes rice, pasta, potatoes, and quinoa. These items can be stored in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to use them.

3. Chop all of your vegetables and fruits at once. This way, they’ll be ready to add to recipes or snack on throughout the week.

4. Meal prep on the weekends so you have food for the week ahead. Meal prepping during the week can be tough if you have a busy schedule.

5. Use leftovers for Meal Prep. If you have leftovers from dinner, don’t throw them out! Use them to Meal Prep lunch or dinner for another day.

6. Get creative with your Meal Prep. There are endless possibilities when it comes to Meal Prepping, so get creative and mix things up!

7. Invest in some good-quality storage containers. This will make Meal Prepping much easier and will help your food last longer.

8. Don’t forget to Meal Prep snacks! Having healthy snacks on hand is essential to avoiding unhealthy junk food.

9. Keep Meal Prepping simple at first. As you get more comfortable with the process, you can start to get more creative with your meals.

10. Meal Prep with a friend or family member. Meal Prepping can be more fun when you do it with someone else. Plus, you can split the cost of groceries and prep time.

With these ideas, you’ll be well on your way to meal planning and preparation. This can save you time and help you create better meals for your family. Meal Prepping can be a fun and rewarding experience, so get started today!

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