We discussed why people meal prep (also called batch cooking or batch prepping). Now let's talk about how to meal prep effectively. Meal prepping is probably my favorite Millennial trend. It proves that our generation really cares about our long term health. To the non-Millennials, thanks for teaching us your ways.
What You'll Need
Storage containers. You have two options.
- Glass storage containers are nice and last longer than plastic containers. With glass however, you must be much more careful. If you plan on taking your food to school on your long day of classes, glass may not be the best option because it could break in your backpack.
- This leads to plastic containers. Plastic containers do not last forever. They are cheaper than glass and can be thrown away. Plastic containers are super cool in that there are containers with dividers if you do not like your food to touch or plan to keep more than one meal/snack in the container. I would suggest 2-3 containers for the amount of days you are prepping. I usually have breakfast, lunch, snack prepped. Pro tip: to remove colorings and smells clean with soap and vinegar.
Knives and utensils. Unless you like washing the same knife and spatula a billion times, it is a good idea to have 3-4 knives and 2-3 of each utensil you will use on hand.
Ziplock bags. Ziplock bags (doesn't have to be the name brand) are handy for storing snacks. They are essential to freezing food without taking up too much space.
Foil/Parchment paper. Be sure to cover your food while it cools!
Cutting board. A good cutting board means everything. Not only does it protect your knives and it prevent some messes from occurring. Be sure to clean thoroughly if you are cutting meats or any other food that could cause a food-borne illness.
A few hours. When I first started started meal prepping, it would literally take me all day. I'm not the most experienced cook so along with the learning curve, I was try to make a billion things at once. Now, it takes me 2-3 hours depending on how much food I make.
A plan. Know what you will make ahead of time. When you have a plan, it is easy to make multiple meals at one time. I usually have something on the stove and something in the over at the same time. I also try to make meals with similar ingredients at once to make the prepping simpler. I would usually try to come up with a printable, but a plain piece of paper works perfectly fine. Since I am making everything at once, during the week, I will usually just grab the easiest thing to carry on my way out.
A clean refrigerator. If you decide to meal prep all meals for a week, your refrigerator will become full very quickly. Be sure to throw out any rotten food before you start.
Entertainment. It can be hard to cook in silence, especially for several hours. I personally grab my iPad mini and binge-watch a tv show while I am cooking. If I am making meals that do not require a lot of attention, I will also use the time to FaceTime my family and make sure they are doing okay.
Food (duh). I suggest thawing your meats in the refrigerator the night before you prep. This is the safest way to de-thaw your meat. Be sure to stop by the grocery store to pick up any items you will need.
Next on the blog, we will begin talking about my new dietary habits ... (hint: I haven't eaten beans in two weeks)
Thanks for sticking around this long. If you enjoyed the post tell me in the comments:
1. What day is your prep day?
2. Your favorite show or movie on Hulu
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