I’m sure you’re familiar with the feeling of coming home from a long day of work to a fridge full of food, but with no idea of what to actually cook! It can be absolutely maddening, but there are more than a few things that you can do for yourself to help you to avoid these situations. One of the best solutions that has risen in popularity over the last few years, is to prep almost all your meals in advance. So, with that in mind, I’m going to help you to say goodbye to that culinary writer’s block and hello to meal prep.
This is a pretty simple, catchall point to action, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t valid – organising your kitchen and your food will make your life substantially easier. The scale and level of this organisation is down to you, but even simple things like assigning shelves in your fridge can help out in defining what you have available and what you need. For example, a vegetable shelf, dairy shelf, bulk shelf (meat, Quorn etc) will help you to quickly formulate meal ideas and see what needs to be replaced in a way that your previously jumbled fridge just couldn’t.
Bulk Buy to Bulk Cook
One of the basic elements of meal prep is the bulk cook – this is usually a set period of time in which you prepare the vast majority of your meals for the week in one cooking session. Bulk cooking helps you to enjoy your time more productively throughout the rest of the week and it is also a good opportunity to work on different meal ideas.
Since you’ll be doing large amounts of cooking at once, it is worth considering bulk buying your ingredients as well. Whether this is weekly or once a month, buying your ingredients in bulk will help you to save some money and eliminate the need for regular shopping, helping you to stick to your meal plans during the week. Another benefit of buying groceries in bulk is that there are plenty of ways to save online, including deals from Groupon.
Make a Schedule
Unless you’ve not been paying attention, you’ll probably have noticed me mention the words “meal plan” quite a few times already, well a key part of this “planning” as they call it, is to create an outline of what you’re going to do, otherwise known as a “plan”. Making a schedule of all your meals for the week is pretty much essential when it comes to meal prepping, and it’ll help you to make sure that your meals are varied enough to stay interesting. Without a schedule, you might find that you end up with a few back to back identical meals, which can put anyone off the idea of meal prepping altogether.
Experiment with Flavours & Recipes
An unfortunate side to meal prep is that there are some meals that are simply easier to prepare than others, which can lead to you making a whole lot of the same meals regularly. To stop things from getting boring it is important that you try and experiment a little with new flavours and recipes. Every week try and prepare at least one entirely new recipe (or one you haven’t used in a while), this will help to keep you interested and engaged in this whole meal prep business for much longer.
The majority of your prepped meals will be going into the freezer to keep them good for future use, and you’d be surprised at how quickly your freezer will fill up with lots of visually non-descript containers. To save you from having to open up each container to see exactly what is inside, you can try using labels to identify what is in each box. It’s also a good idea to put the date of preparation on the label as well, so that you don’t inadvertently eat ancient food or clear out a meal that is still okay to eat.