Preparation is everything. Whether it’s your career, personal life or your healthy lifestyle, those who plan, get the best results.
Meal prep is the foundation of a great diet full of all the protein and other nutrients you require to get fitter, stronger and to build muscle mass.
So what is it?
Meal prep is as simple as it sounds, preparing your meals in advance, but with anything, it can take a bit of practice to get it right.
If you are taking your first timid steps into the world of meal prep, this is the perfect beginner's guide to ensure you achieve early success.
Why meal prep?
There are several great benefits to meal prepping;
- It helps you stick to consistent healthy meals.
- It makes portion control easier.
- Save money on your grocery bill by reducing food waste and buying in bulk.
- Meal prepping will save time as it involves batch cooking.
- It makes it easier for you to control your calorie intake and count your macros which can help you lose weight, build muscle and achieve a lean physique.
- There are thousands of meal prep ideas in both recipe books and online, which will keep you from getting bored.
Meal prepping for beginners
Great meal prep takes practice. So don’t be tempted to set aside your whole Sunday to prepare every single meal for the week ahead when you first start meal prepping. If you choose a recipe that doesn’t quite work, you could end up wasting your time and money leading you to give up on the whole concept of meal prep.
Instead, try preparing around six meals using two different recipes. Keep the recipes simple and give yourself plenty of time to cook.
Another pitfall is assuming that your current favorite meals will work well as prep meals, but some foods really don’t taste great when frozen or reheated.
It’s best to avoid salad, for instance, and chicken in a tomato-based sauce doesn’t taste great when frozen and reheated.
A quick Google search should answer whether your planned meal is good for meal prep - someone is sure to have tried it before you!
Meal prep recipes
The internet is full of meal prep recipes, and some are definitely better than others. If you can find reviews, that’s a great way to verify the recipe. Here are some protein-filled meal prep recipes we love!
Breakfast meal prep
- Overnight oats can be stored in sealed glass containers for up to a week in the refrigerator. Check out this recipe.
- Egg muffins can be stored in the refrigerator for five days. Check out this recipe.
- Breakfast burritos are suitable for freezing. Check out this recipe.
Lunch and dinner meal prep
These recipes can be frozen and reheated or stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Sweet Chilli Salmon. Check out this recipe.
- Honey Sesame Chicken. Check out this recipe.
- Beef Chilli. Check out this recipe.
- Turkey Taco Bowls. Check out this recipe.
We hope this meal prep inspo has you feeling ready to go!
Meal prep tips
Here are a few more tips to help you start with meal prepping;
- Create a meal prep plan before you do your grocery shopping to make sure you have everything you need to meal prep efficiently.
- Invest in some high-quality meal prep containers - solid Tupperware and glass containers that are easy to open and close. Keep your favorite meal prep containers in an easy-to-access, neat drawer. There is nothing worse than when you can't find the correct lid!
- Separate your meal prep recipes into individually portioned meals so to make things easy when you are defrosting and reheating.
- Combine your meal prep with good meal planning i.e., write out a list of what you will have for breakfast, lunch and dinner each night of the week so you know what you need to defrost the night before.
- Invest in a slow cooker to create some straightforward, tasty recipes.
- Use recipes that share some ingredients to save money.
- Frozen foods, particularly fruit and vegetables, keep your cost down and make meal prep for beginners even easier as you don't have to worry about waste.
- Purchase a meal prep cookbook to give you lots of new ideas.
- Don’t sacrifice your social life! If your friends are all going out to dinner on a Friday night, and you want to join them, just go. Your meal prep will still be there for you the next day!
- Expect to cook a few meals that taste rubbish at first. Yes, that might mean you waste some of your lovingly prepared batch cooking, but this will happen less and less over time.
Meal prep like a pro
Meal prepping is a great way to make healthier eating a simple process.
Focus on easy meal prep recipes when starting out, and don’t expect to get it perfect the first time. This way, you’ll stay motivated, and after a few weeks, you will feel like a meal prep pro.
Your frozen meal prep recipes can usually last for 3-4 months before they have to be defrosted, so after a few weeks, you can start to build up some good variety in your freezer to stop you from getting bored. Meals will last around 3-5 days in the fridge.
So set aside a few hours this Sunday, write out a plan in advance, and give it a go!