We’ve all been there before – You get home from class, exhausted, only to find a half-eaten block of cheese, rock-hard frozen chicken breasts and a bag of semi-soggy salad that you were supposed to eat last week. Homemade dinner is probably not happening tonight. Again. But your wallet (and your waistline) are also pretty tired of ordering takeout.
So what’s a time-crunched, hungry weekday warrior to do?
Meal Prepping 101
- Set realistic goals for how much food you can prepare.
- Pick a day to prep your food and stick to it. (Sunday’s are the best.)
- Choose meals for the week based on what you like to eat and your dietary needs.
- Make sure you’ve got the right tools.
Before you go grocery shopping, you’ll want to gather some kitchen essentials to streamline your prep time. Efficient batch cooking requires a few basic kitchen tools, including (the right kinds of) cutting boards, knives and mixing bowls, as well as high-quality appliances, such as a slow cooker and food processor.
Choose the Best Containers
Start with a plastic or glass multipack with a variety of sizes and airtight lids. If you’re going the lightweight plastic route, make sure your containers are chemical-free and safe to use. Check the resin identification code (RIC) located inside a triangle on the bottom of the container and choose containers that are labelled with numbers 1, 2, 4 or 5. Opting for glass? You’ll want to know what to look for when buying those, too.
How to Meal Prep Breakfast
Nutrient-dense picks include a hearty green smoothie, low-carb quiche crafted with a cauliflower crust and four-ingredient pancakes that keep you full until lunchtime. Plus, they’re perfectly portable, so you can grab them and go.
Lunch Prep Made Easy
Instead of succumbing to vending machine snacks and break room doughnuts once lunchtime rolls around, prep your meals in advance to avoid undoing your healthy-eating goals. Meal prepping lunch can not only help you avoid resorting to empty calories, but it can also save you time and money as well as reduce the stress associated with deciding what to eat or rushing through making meals.
What’s for Dinner?
Yes, Consider Prepping Snacks, Too
Snacks make up almost a quarter of most people’s daily calories — which is exactly why you should always have healthy eats on hand. Because most grab-and-go snacks are processed and include added sugars and preservatives, you want to take the time to pack your snacks ahead of time so that you’ve got something wholesome to reach for when hunger hits. Plus, midday munchies are a great way to ensure you’re checking off all your macro boxes. Use snack time to help fill your nutrient shortfalls. If you didn’t have enough fibre during breakfast, make sure to choose a fibre-rich snack later on in the day.