Meal Prep for Beginners
How to Get Started
It's important to remember not to get
overwhelmed when you are a beginner. Too often people get bogged down in the details with complicated recipes.
Don't try to incorporate too many things at once.
I've been cooking professionally for over 25 years, but when it comes to meal prep even i try to dumb it down a notch. Start with recipes and cooking methods you are comfortable with.
Pick a Day
The first thing you should do is pick a day to prepare your meals. For most, Sunday is best because its a day when you are home from work and you can enlist the other family members to help if you need it. Plus it gives you that sense of "Now i'm ready to start the week off right!"
More experienced meal preppers seem to like Sunday and Wednesday as their chosen days to cook and prepare for the week. Using those two days allows them to split up the weeks prep.
In the beginning though, you don't want to prepare meals for the whole week. Just start with two or three days.
Ok guys and gals stay focused and it won't seem like hours in the grocery store. Here is what I do, I choose:
3 proteins: chicken, fish, lean beef, pork tenderloin, ground turkey
2 or 3 grains/starches: brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, lentils, farro
4 or 5 vegetables: brussel sprouts, snap peas, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, bag of salad greens, spiral veggies.
Regarding vegetables: roasting or grilling are the healthiest and tastiest methods of cooking. Veggies that are good for roasting are asparagus, green beans, cauliflower, zucchini, peppers and brussel sprouts. I usually just drizzle them with a little olive or avocado oil with crushed fresh garlic, black pepper and a low sodium all purpose seasoning of choice. Fresh herbs such as rosemary and thyme are great as well.
If you do not feel 100% confident in the kitchen, most larger supermarkets
have a great prepared food section you can use as a base for your meal assembly when you get back to your kitchen.
Save some time ( and frustration ) by picking up some staples such as grilled chicken, prepared salmon, sliced london broil and those rotisserie chickens are great for shredding up in a salad.
In the Kitchen
Again, dont try to cook a weeks worth of meals in one shot. Baby steps. You may want to do this later but for now just try to find your meal prepping groove.
Multitask: Remember you can cook different things at the same time. Use your oven space to the fullest by selecting recipes that lend themselves to the same method of cooking.
When planning your first shopping trip ask yourself if you have enough sheetpans, aluminum foil and other utensils you may need.
Time to Assemble
Once you have all your items prepared, you are ready to build your meals. Here is the fun part because at this point you have the freedom to mix and match your proteins, grains and veggies anyway you like.
Example: You can build 3 or 4 different meals with your grilled chicken by serving them all with a different starch and vegetable and then put one on a bed of greens for a salad!
The most beneficial advice I can give you starting out on your meal prepping adventure is to use ingredients and recipes that taste good to YOU. So many people fall off the healthy eating bandwagon because they get tired of eating bland food or food they would never normally eat.
In other words don't eat that Kale salad just because its healthy (if it tastes like S***)
~ Cheers and happy cooking!