For my first post on health and nutrition, I thought I’d discuss one of the big changes I’ve made to my diet that has saved me time, money and pounds (kilograms?). If you haven’t ever or don’t know what meal prepping is, it’s pretty simple but can have a big effect on your weekly schedule. If you don’t cook, then this is a great way to start (and if you don’t cook, you absolutely should! Read on).
There are hundreds of articles and recipes online to use to meal prep, so in this post I will break down the basics, the benefits and my go-to recipe.
What Is Meal Prepping?
Meal prepping is the simple act of preparing a quantity of food that is large enough to last for multiple meals. For example, instead of cooking dinner every single night, you could cook a big batch Monday night and have the leftovers for dinner on Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. While it may take you more time to prepare on Monday night, the time you save on Tuesday will be well worth it.
There are hundreds of ways to meal prep, and sometimes it doesn’t even require you to cook. You can prepare sandwiches, burritos, a batch of chili, anything really, in a large batch or separately packaged. It doesn’t matter how you do it, it just matters that you are making more than one portion.
If this idea doesn’t already sound appealing, here are the reasons why you should start meal prepping today.
Why Meal Prep?
As previously explained, meal prepping takes more time up-front, but it saves you a ton of time overall. Think of the time it takes you to think of meals, prepare them, wash the vegetables, season any meat, heat up the oven/stove, clean up after, etc. Doing this once instead of multiple times will save you a ton of time, and there’s no better feeling after a long day than coming home and realizing you don’t have to cook because you already have a fully prepared meal in your fridge.
This depends on what you are cooking, but from my experiences, buying your own (healthier) groceries and cooking them yourself is much healthier than constantly eating out. By doing this. you control what type of food you’re eating and avoid restaurants that load there dishes with salts, sugars, unhealthy fats, etc.
Cooking your own healthy meals can do wonders for your diet, and the day I started cooking more meals for myself, I started losing weight and was able to keep it off.
I didn’t realize how much eating at restaurants cost until I started cooking more at home. You quickly realize that buying your own ingredients and preparing your own dishes can be done for a fraction of the cost that a restaurant charges. While prices vary depending on your country/city, it is very easy to buy healthy, tasty food at a reasonable price. And even if you’re spending a little more at the grocery store, it probably isn’t as much as you’d pay eating out, especially considering tips (if applicable in your country).
You may not enjoy cooking or have never tried it, but if you make meal prepping an activity and don’t think of it as a chore, it will be a much better experience. For example, I make sure to download a new podcast or album on Sunday afternoons because I know I will be meal prepping that night, and having some music or podcast going on in the background makes it more enjoyable. I also find cooking therapeutic after a hectic day n the office.
As a big foodie, I also find it fun to look up new recipes to try, and you can look at them as a “challenge” to try and complete successfully. If you think cooking is boring, make it more of an activity and you will enjoy it more.
Every Sunday night, I cook a big batch of something to have for lunch during the week. I like to switch it up every week, but there is one staple meal that I make once a month because it is simple, cheap and tasty. For a beginner to cooking, this is as easy as it gets (note: prices are in Canadian dollars):
- A package of lean ground turkey ($4.99 at Costco) (any protein works, this could be chicken, beef, beans, etc.)
- A bag of frozen veggies (I buy the green giant garden veggie bags, or the massive mixed veggies at Costco. The green giants cost about $3-4 and costco is around $12, but lasts me a while) (alternatively, you could use your choice of fresh veggies)
- Quinoa ($11 for a massive bag) (could also use rice, pasta, etc.)
First, I throw the ground turkey in a big pot or pan on medium heat with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and cook it until it browns (the red goes away). I like to break it into smaller chunks.
Once it’s browned, I throw in the mixed frozen veggies on top. Make sure to mix every minute or so to make sure it is all cooking evenly. I might also add a can of beans as well, because they are cheap, healthy and make the batch of food larger. Season everything with whatever you’d like, I usually toss on some more salt/pepper, as well as some garlic powder, cayenne pepper, really anything you’d like.
Meanwhile, I’m cooking the quinoa in another pot as per the instructions.
After the veggies have cooked enough, you’re done! Lay the quinoa on a plate with the turkey/veggie/bean mixture over top, and you have a healthy, wholesome meal in 20-30 minutes. This usually gives me 4-5 portions, all for the price of about $10 or $2/portion. Good luck finding those prices at a restaurant.
Make sure to let the leftovers cool, then put them in the fridge in separate containers, or one big container that you can portion out each day. It’s that easy!
I hope this post has inspired you to give meal prepping, or cooking in general, a try. Cook more for yourself and/or your family, and you will save money and have a much healthier diet. Feel free to comment below, drop some of your favorite recipes, or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading!