Let's face it: spending an excessive amount of time meal prepping can be a real drag. The thought of having the stove and multiple burners in use, a sink full of dirty dishes, cluttered counter space, and half-completed projects waiting to be put away can overwhelm anyone. If you're like me, you prefer finding ways to cut down on meal prep time without sacrificing the benefits of healthy, homemade meals. That's why today, I want to share a few of my favorite meal-prepping hacks that will help you slash your prep time in half.
Plan your meals in advance:
Spend a few minutes each week to plan your meals for the upcoming days. This will help you create a shopping list, avoid food waste, and streamline your prep process.
Use versatile ingredients:
Opt for ingredients that can be used in multiple dishes. For example, roast a big batch of chicken breasts that can be used in salads, wraps, or stir-fries throughout the week.
Invest in quality storage containers:
Having a variety of storage containers in different sizes will make it easier to portion and store your prepped meals. Look for containers that are microwave-safe and stackable for easy organization. I prefer air-tight glass bento containers for the compartments.
Pre-cut and wash produce:
Wash, peel, and chop your fruits and vegetables in advance. Store them in airtight containers or Ziploc bags for quick and easy access when cooking.
Cook in bulk:
Prepare larger quantities of grains, such as rice or quinoa, and proteins like beans or lentils, and store them in the refrigerator or freezer. This way, you'll always have a base for quick and nutritious meals.
Utilize slow cookers, Instant Pots, and rice cookers:
These appliances are great for hands-off cooking. You can prepare soups, stews, or chili in large batches and portion them out for future meals.
Create assembly line setups:
Set up a designated space in your kitchen for meal prep. Arrange your ingredients, cutting boards, and utensils in a systematic manner to streamline the process and minimize cleanup time.
Make marinades and dressings ahead of time:
Whip up your favorite marinades and dressings in larger quantities and store them in jars. This way, you can easily add flavor to your meals without making them from scratch each time.
Freeze individual portions:
If you have extra servings or leftovers, freeze them in individual portions. This allows for quick and convenient meals later on when you're short on time.
Instead of reaching for unhealthy snacks, pre-portion healthier options like nuts, fruits, or cut vegetables into snack-sized bags or containers. This makes it easier to grab a nutritious snack on the go.
Remember, meal prep should be tailored to your preferences and needs. Experiment with different hacks and strategies to find what works best for you. Happy prepping!
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