How to meal prep – a beginner’s guide
“You should always know where your next meal is coming from” is a saying that I once heard that makes a lot of sense if weight loss, or indeed weight gain is a main priority.
You should be able to eat more nutritious meals by planning ahead and won’t need a last minute journey to fast-food restaurants or feel the need to order fat-laden delivery foods.
The concept of meal prepping is simple- it is to simplify your life. In the next sections you will learn how to meal prep, pick up some meal prepping tips and ideas and hopefully learn that there are some easy ways to meal prep- especially if you are a beginner.
Your local supermarket likely offers special deals and promotions on various meats, fruit and vegetables each week. Check their newspaper ads, website and in-store offerings to save money as you will need to buy a higher number of servings of food than you may be accustomed to.
I personally prefer to use glass Tupperware dishes when meal prepping rather than plastic. In my opinion they heat better, are easier to clean and just feel better. However, if you are just starting out with meal prepping plastic might be a sensible, cost effective option.
Meal prepping for beginners does not need to be complicated. Each meal should contain 400 to 600 calories and have a lean source of protein, a starch or carbohydrate food and a vegetable or bean. I do not recommend specifically adding a source of fat in your meals [like oils for example] as most protein options will be cooked in spray or oil.
|Turkey Breast||Potato||Green Bean|
|90%+ Ground/Minced Beef||Pasta||Carrot|
Meal prepping and eating the same foods over and over can seem boring at times. To help with this, I recommend cycling or changing the spices that you use on meats as well as vegetables if applicable. Below are some spices and combinations I like to use in my own cooking and meal preparation.
Cumin – Chilli Powder – Smoked Paprika
Onion – Garlic – Rosemary – Thyme
Salt – Crushed Red Pepper
The purpose of this article is not to provide meal prepping recipes but rather to give you an idea of what you need to successfully accomplish your first meal prep.
Try to base your own recipes around a combination of hub and stovetop as well as the oven. If you don’t you’ll lose time in your day waiting for one thing to finish cooking before you can put on the second thing. For example, you could roast chicken and put it in the oven while you boil rice and green beans in two different pots on the stove top.
Putting it all together
Without taking a deep dive into macronutrient breakdown, here is a simple formula for your beginner, prepped meals; each container should contain ⅓ protein, ⅓ vegetable and ⅓ starch or carbohydrate. This should provide at least 35g of protein, a full serving size of vegetable and approximately 200 calories from starch or carbohydrate based foods.
How often should I meal prep?
The answer depends on your work schedule, shopping routine and ability to store food in the fridge or freezer. In the past I meal-prepped on Sundays and Wednesdays and stored each pre-cooked meal in the fridge.
You can freeze your cooked meals but just be aware that some foods seem to freeze better than others. Rice freezes better than potatoes, for example. I hope this article helps with your planning. What is your favourite meal prep routine?