Tips for Prepping Your Meals Ahead of Time, Plus Menu Tracker
Meal planning and prepping are incredibly underrated skills yet are essential to your personal health and wellness. Without meal planning, the urge to give in to quick, and often unhealthy food choices, is that much easier, leading to long-term established habits that become harder to break over time.
A thoughtful meal plan has the potential to help you improve your diet and reach a specific health goal. It will most definitely save you time and often results in a financial saving as the tendency to shop for unnecessary food items becomes a thing of the past.
Amazing Benefits of Meal Planning and Prep
If you need a little convincing that meal planning and prep are essential habits that will significantly improve the quality of your life, then have a read of some of the many amazing benefits that result from consistently incorporating meal planning and meal prep into your weekly schedule:
- More time for yourself and the family
- Less use of the kitchen during the week, reducing mess and stress
- Your meal times and schedules become simplified
- You will find that the quality of your meals improve
- You feel a sense of organization gained in your life and weekly routine
- You never have to guess when asked “what’s for dinner”
- That feeling of being hangry will become a thing of the past as you always have something wholesome prepared ahead of time
- Grocery purchases are more organized, saving you time and money
Creating a sustainable, streamlined, and enjoyable meal planning system has never been easier with this free downloadable Meal Prep Tips PDF plus grab your Menu Tracker here too. Here’s an overview of the 23 tips for meal planning.
Tip #1: Begin With A Few Meals
Overcome meal planning stress as a beginner by starting with just a few meals or snacks in your first week and then gradually adding an extra one or two every week that follows.
Tip #2: Pay Attention To Each Food Group
Unless you are following a particular diet that restricts an entire food group, you should be getting a balanced representation from all food groups in each meal you plan.
Learn why incorporating foods from each food group is so important as well as the kinds of foods you should focus on to ensure a healthy and balanced diet. The PDF download will also explain what food stuffs you should limit or avoid completely due to their lack of nutritional value.
Tip #3: Organization Is Your Friend
Being organized is key to succeeding in meal planning and prep. It includes getting your pantry, fridge and freezer in order as well as having a well thought-out menu and grocery list.
Tip #4: Make Use of Top Quality Containers
Quality food storage containers are one of the most essential tools you will learn about in this PDF. Learn about the benefits of investing in top quality containers as well as the safety aspects when considering which to buy online or from your local store.
Tip #5: Always Have A Well-Stocked Pantry
A well-stocked pantry means a more streamlined meal planning process without the hassle of constantly needing to run to the store for ingredients.
Examples of healthy and versatile foods to stock up on have been conveniently included in the PDF download so that you don’t have to do any of the guesswork.
Tip #6: Make Your Food Flavorful By Stocking A Variety Spices And Seasoning
There are quite a few health benefits associated with the use of herbs and spices in your meals, including reduced cellular damage and inflammation.
When you are just starting to adopt a healthier eating plan, these spices and herbs will also help provide interesting and delicious flavors, making you less likely to crave the processed foods you may have been used to in the past.
Tip #7: Scrutinize Your Pantry Supply Before Meal Planning
To make the start of meal planning that much easier, consider taking stock of what you already have in your pantry, fridge and freezer and build an initial menu around that to save you time, food waste from possible leftovers, and money!
Tip #8: Make Time For Meal Planning
This may seem obvious given that this entire post is about meal planning but it’s vitally important that time is specifically carved out each week to plan your menus, create your grocery list and prepare some of your weekly food. As time goes on, you will find that you require less time to set aside as your systems become streamlined.
Tip #9: Store Recipes And Meal Plans In An Easy Location
Find a way to store and refer back to your recipes and meal plans. This could be digitally on your electronic devices, through an app or using the more traditional paper-based method.
Tip #10: Get Meal Planning Ideas From Others
Why do it alone when you can get ideas and meal inspiration from your family, friends, colleagues as well as social media and health and fitness bloggers? There is so much variety out there and it’s usually just a click or conversation away!
Tip #11: Record And Rate Your Meals
Record your meals and preferences to quickly identify those meals which you keep as regulars versus those you’d prefer to ditch.
Did you make any modifications to the recipes you want to keep on your meal plan? If so, make sure to keep notes so that you aren’t left guessing what you did the next time you make that particular dish.
Tip #12: Always Head To The Store With A List
Never shop without your shopping list. A shopping list saves you time and money by avoiding unnecessary purchases.
Tip #13: Don’t Shop On An Empty Stomach
You are more likely to buy unhealthy and unnecessary food items when hungry. Avoid this by shopping post a meal or snack!
Tip #14: Save Money And Time By Buying In Bulk
Buying pantry staples in bulk is a great way to save money and time shopping if you take the time to plan for your meals over an extended period of time.
Tip #15: Plan for Leftovers
Leftovers should definitely form part of your meal planning process. Have some leftover roast chicken from dinner? Shred the meat and use it for tacos, soup or salad for the following day!
Tip #16: Add Batch Cooking To Your Meal Planning Strategy
Learn what batch cooking entails and how it can be used as one of your best meal planning strategies yet. This strategy is a huge time-saver.
Tip #17: Make Use of Your Freezer
Using your freezer for storing larger quantities of foods prepared ahead of time is a good way to save you time, reduce waste and stretch out your food budget.
Tip #18: Pre-Portion Meals Or Food Items
Seasoned meal planners pre-portion meals or food items into individual containers to help them keep track with weight-loss goals, and to keep track of their daily calorie intake.
Tip #19: Wash and Prepare Fruits And Vegetables Immediately After Purchase
Want to stop that unhealthy habit of snacking on cookies or potato chips? Learn how washing and preparing your fruit and veg immediately after purchasing it can help solve this problem.
Tip #20: The Goal Is To Prep Smart, Not Hard
Learning to work smart and not hard is key to ensuring that meal planning and prep becomes sustainable and enjoyable. But is cutting corners being lazy? Have a read in the downloadable PDF of why we don’t think it is at all.
Tip #21: Take Out The Slow/Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot
Hands-free cooking with the use of an Instant Pot or Slow Cooker means that you can get on with other daily items while your meal is cooking.
Tip #22: Add Variety To Your Menu
Nothing will put you in a dieting rut faster than eating the same foods and/or meals every week. In fact, the lack of variation could contribute to nutrient deficiencies.
Learn how to easily swap out foods as well as add seasonal foods to your diet.
Tip #23: Enjoy The Process
As with anything, if you enjoy what you are doing, you are more likely to stick with it and bear the fruits from your consistent efforts. Here are some fun ways that you can make it more interesting and enjoyable.
The Bottom Line
Meal planning and preparation is a great tool to help you make healthier food choices, saving you time and money as well.
Although it may seem daunting at first, by applying the tips provided above, you will soon find your own personal rhythm to make it a sustainable practice that you actually enjoy.
At the end of the day, it’s vital to remember that not everyone’s meal planning and preparation will be the same. Take time to experiment with the different strategies, tips, and tools provided in this list to find a system that works best for you! Grab the full version of our Meal Prep Tips here and your Menu Planner here.