No Stress Meal Prep!

Meal Prep: a key part of dieting, efficient, and raved about by nutritionists everywhere. But what exactly does it mean to prepare meals? How? How often? What? When? Who? There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there on preparing healthy meals for your week, so we’re here to break it down for you. Without further ado, CINCOfit presents the ultimate guide to easy and stress free meal prep.

At its most basic, meal prep is exactly what it sounds like- prepping for meals. It usually includes a variety of ingredients that can be made into different dishes quickly and easily. That means making a plan and sticking to it. But, there are several approaches you can take.

  • Full make-ahead meals: You cook an entire meal and store it in your fridge or freezer.
  • Batch cooking or freezing: Make multiple meals, then portion and store them. This method is useful for recipes you can easily cook in large batches, such as soup, quinoa or mashed sweet potatoes.
  • Meals for one: Prepare food and portion it in single-serving containers. (Usually enough to last a few days.)
  • Ingredient prep: For people who like to cook and serve food all at once, just prep parts of recipes. Chop veggies, mix spices or marinade meat in advance to save time when you’re ready to cook.

There isn’t a right way or a wrong way! Try different styles until you find something that works for you, it will make it easier to stick to your plan. 

So what are some more examples of easy food to prep? Cooked meat, roasted vegetables, soups, sauces, nuts and sturdy raw vegetables make good bases for meal prep recipes. Think Paleo Steak Bowls, Roasted Butternut Squash Soup and this Rainbow Mason Jar Salad. Try to avoid any soft vegetables, cut fruit, or crunchy food though. Time spent in your refrigerator will only make them softer. 

Think about re-heating. Will you have access to a microwave or stovetop on your lunch-break? Look for recipes and ingredients that lend themselves to cold eating or gentle heating so you don’t damage any fats or proteins that may be inside!

However, maybe most importantly, pick foods that you enjoy. Learn how to prep and cook leftovers with ease before you try something new. And remember, keep it simple to start! You’ll save time and eat well with a well-researched and well-planned meal prep schedule.