These easy tips and delicious recipes are going to save you a ton of time and money.
By the time you get home from work, make dinner, eat it, and clean up, it can feel like it's almost time to go to bed — not so fun. Enter meal prepping, a planning method that simplifies cooking and bases it around your schedule, so you're not scrambling through a 16-step recipe when you'd rather have your feet up, dinner done, and Netflix on.
Meal prepping can describe several different food preparation methods, but basically, it's almost like organizing leftovers for easier breakfast, lunches, or dinners. There's no singular way to do it, but two common types include:
Batch Cooking eg: making big recipes at once and freezing or saving for use later on and individually portioned meals where you divvy up portions into containers ahead of time so you can grab and go.
Meal prepping can save you time and money since you're buying and preparing home-cooked food ahead of time. Many people meal prep by shopping and cooking on the weekends, which may work better with your schedule than cramming it in during a weekday. Meal prepping can also make it easier to eat healthier (and lose weight, if that's your goal) since the menu gets set in advance. You're less likely to choose a not-so-great option when you've already have a healthy dinner at home, ready to go. But before you do anything, you're going to want to stock up on reusable, airtight food storage containers that will make your prepared ingredients or meals stay fresh longer and taste better by locking bacteria and odors out.
We love these crystal clear containers with removable dividers that allow you to customize your lunch, and the salad box comes with portions you can remove and microwave, and a separate cup for dressing to keep greens fresh. However, one size does not always fit all, and PackIt knows that. Their bento boxes have removable dividers so you can adjust the sections exactly how you'd like.
The foods you prep are going to be based off your dietary needs and fitness goals, but if you're looking for some healthy, quick ways to get started we've compiled three of our favorite healthy recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
110 Calorie Crustless Veggie Quiche
Chicken Shawarma & Sweet Potato Fries Bowl
In a large gallon size zip-top bag, combine the chicken, honey, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, lemon juice, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and 2 tablespoons olive oil, toss to combine. Seal and chill for 30 minutes or up to 12 hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
3. Place the sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, then flip and bake for 15-20 minutes more.
4. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. Transfer to the oven and roast for 10-15 minutes.
5. Place the marinated chicken on a large baking sheet and spread in an even layer. Transfer to the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
6. Divide the couscous among 4-6 storage containers and arrange the chicken, sweet potatoes, asparagus, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes on top. Alternately, you can store the couscous, chicken, and veggies in separate containers and assemble when ready. Food will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.
7. Before serving, warm each bowl if desired and top with garlic yogurt (see below) and your desired toppings.
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Keep stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.
30 Minute Chili Maple Lim Salmon Bowls
Prepared foods can remain refrigerated for 2–5 days or frozen for 3–4 months, depending on the ingredients. To play it safe and avoid foodborne illness, keep food out of the "danger zone" — temperatures between 40° F and 140° F. Sealing food in airtight packaging or storage containers will not only keep bacteria out, but also protect the flavor and lock moisture in.
And there you have it, you've now learned how to meal prep like a boss and have some tasty meals to get you started!