I still get a lot of questions about meal prep on my instagram when I post my pictures every sunday. I know it can seem like a huge hassle when you first start doing it but over time you learn how to make things much quicker and more efficient. You also learn a few little tricks to make sure your meals turn out delicious every time. I did write a general guide on meal prep a few months ago but I thought I would do a revised one because there’s a few new things I have learnt and also for anyone who is a new reader too.
Some people choose to make their breakfasts AND lunches (with snacks) in their meal prep but as I work from home, time isn’t such an issue for me in the mornings. There are lots of breakfasts you can prep in advance like overnight oats or baked oatmeal, yoghurt, fruit and granola, homemade protein squares, protein muffins, boiled eggs etc. The options are endless!
The first thing you’ll need is a pack of cheap tupperware boxes – I get mine from tesco. I would advise not putting them in the dishwasher after you’ve used them as this can warp the lids and means they don’t fit on properly afterwards. I always make sure I buy in things like individual greek yoghurt pots, Nakd or Pulsin bars are great as snacks and I also buy Trek bars for when I need a big boost of energy. I sometimes make my own protein snacks and there are loads of recipes on places like pinterest or instagram.
Avoid Food Poisoning
I’ve been asked a lot about food poisoning with regards to reheating chicken or rice. Firstly I always buy Uncle Bens or Tilda rice sachets and put them straight into the tupperware without cooking them first. That way you’re only cooking it as it reheats. Always make sure you heat the meal until it’s piping hot and this will guard against any problems with the cooked chicken. I keep the first two lunches in the fridge for Monday and Tuesday and the rest go in the freezer (to be taken out first thing in the morning each day). That way it’s fully defrosted by lunchtime and ready to be reheated.
Make your life easier
I often find it’s easier to cook a whole chicken and shred it to make my lunches. Making a whole sweet potato cottage pie is also a great option. Both of these save on time and washing up. Another option would be making a pan of chilli and serving it out with rice or sweet potato to add a bit of variety. Boiled eggs are also easy to prepare and fantastic for snacking on for a good protein hit. I’ve found that spinach doesn’t reheat very well in the microwave and goes a bit slimy so I prefer to use broccoli.
Cooking your veg
I only ever par boil my vegetables to avoid them going all mushy when I reheat them. When I’m roasting the sweet potato, I also just undercook it slightly to stop the texture from going too soft when you reheat your meal.
Keep it Simple
I don’t go too complicated with my meal prep because I like to get it all done within a 1 hour window. No one wants to spend half a day cooking in the kitchen! I make sure I have spice mixes put aside for my meat and sweet potato. I have tried using fish for meal prep but for me, it just doesn’t taste that great after being in a tupperware container for a day or so…even after freezing it. It’s just hard to judge the cooking time to get it just right and not overcooked. I sometimes add a drizzle of sweet chilli sauce or Waldens BBQ sauce just to change up the flavours. It’s important you don’t get bored of what you’re eating or you’re less likely to stick to it. I always keep my snacks very simple and I make sure they’re things I can just chuck in my bag when I’m on the go.
Be Efficient With Time
I find it really helps for me to choose a specific time to start my meal prep then give myself an hour window. It means you don’t mess around and you don’t get distracted by other things. I always get things done a lot quicker when I;m under a bit of pressure! Also, consider if there are things you can cook together such as roasting all of your veg together while you bake sweet potatoes or grilling sausages and burgers at the same time for example. I sometimes buy a bag of shredded carrot or courgetti just to save time on prepping my veg. It’s also a good idea to make chilli or casseroles in the slow cooker.
My last tip is to make sure you double check that your tupperware is sealed properly before you put it into the freezer otherwise the food will get freezer burn and won’t taste very good.