So as you can see from the title, I’m going to do this blog on meal prep “types”. I know I’ve recently blogged about meal prep (search “meal prep” in), but it is an important topic that people are interested about. I think this short post will wrap up most of what needs to be known about meal prepping, so I hope you learn something from all 3!
When you do meal prep, there are no specific guidelines or structure to it; it really depends on what works best for you, your time, your lifestyle, and your needs. These are just the two main routes people take, or, like me, you kind of mix both depending on the week. The first type is prepping your complete meals for the week, while the second type is prepping parts or components and then making meals throughout the week.
This first type is what I would suggest if you’re new to meal planning, meal prepping, etc. because it’s a simple, think-less way to do it. The first step is to sit down before you shop and write out your meals (breakfast lunch, dinner and snacks) for the week and then make a list from there. Then, decide what needs to be prepped and what doesn’t. For example, if you’re going to have a protein shake or eggs for breakfast, you may not want to prep those days ahead of time. (Although you certainly could make a batch of eggs or oatmeal for the week if you want too.) As for snacks, having fresh fruits and veggies washed, cut, and prepared will make grabbing them for meals and snacks a much easier choice!
Anyway on to meal prepping your main meals. Once you know what meals you are cooking, you cook it all and place in a tupperware in the fridge. You could either have one or two big tupperwares that you serve or pack your lunch from (into smaller containers) or you can put only one serving in each container for an easy, quick, grab-and-go meal. And here your meals don’t have to be fancy, although they can. For example, I’ve just cooked sweet potato wedges, green beans, and chicken before and placed in 5 different containers for the week. But, I’ve also made spaghetti or another big dish rather than just parts–so really it’s up to you and what you like! Mix it up each week too!
The second type is where you instead just cook different components of a meal, leave them all in separate containers, and mix-and-match throughout the week for your meals. So this would look something like cooking up a batch of chicken, quinoa, roasted veggies, and ground turkey. Then throughout the week you make each meal from what you’ve prepped as well as use other foods. One night it might be a veggie and chicken quinoa bowl, a lunch could be chicken and veggies on a bed of greens, and another dinner is making pasta with sautéed veggies, ground turkey, etc. This option allows more freedom, if you don’t want to be eating the same meal all week (although nothing wrong with that and I actually enjoy it sometimes), but it’s a little less planned and prepped too.
Lastly, you can always mix it up, which is what I do most weeks! I’ll give you an example from this past week of my meal prepping to show you what I mean. On Sunday, I prepared white rice, yellow potatoes, steamed broccoli, and ground beef to use for lunches in the week. Then, I also cooked up a big batch of spaghetti (using Banza chickpea pasta) with ground turkey, and veggies to have for dinner every night. So I had components that I used to make lunches each day by adding all the parts into a tupperware container for lunch, but I also had pre-prepared meals for dinner.
This, is just what works for me, but I switch it up week-to-week. Sometimes I’ll cook a meal Sunday night and Wednesday night for the week and just make a batch of chicken or buy lunch meat for lunches. The great thing about meal prep is that it is so versatile that you do it around your schedule and lifestyle. You can also easily switch the foods or routine up if you get bored. I would highly suggest using meal prep in some form because it really can help make living a healthy lifestyle, and eating a wholesome, nutritious diet much easier and happier!