Basics to Meal Prep
Meal Prepping: Is it something challenging?
As someone who has been meal prepping over the course of a year continuously, I would definitely consider it as part of my lifestyle, a routine and a habit. Something that I actually look forward to and use as a form of meditation.
If you want to prepare your own meals, it can seem daunting if you do not have the right tools or fundamental knowledge!
But first, let us look at some benefits of meal planning:
This is obvious right? You are in control of how you prepare your food, and what kind of ingredients to cook with.
Not salty or spicy enough? Add some sea salt or more cayenne pepper! Everyone has an individual taste preference and the best thing about making your own meals? You do not have to cater to anyone else's needs except yours (unless you are cooking for other people too).
Saves you time.
Yes you have to spend 1 to 2 hours on most likely a Sunday to prepare your food, but if you think about the weekdays, you are just either grabbing a lunchbox to go (less than 5 seconds) or have food ready to warm up (2 minutes) when you get home from work. It saves you time during the rest of the week, and trust me, it is a lifesaver!
Saves you money.
This largely depends on what you buy, but my recipes use budget friendly option ingredients and staples that you can find at home. In addition, buying spices or superfoods can last a long time, up to 3 months so your money is being spread out.
Increase creativity and knowledge.
Creating and spending time making your meals expands and widens your eyes to food. You would soon see that there are so many ways of creating a dish that suits your preferences and style. As you learn more about different ingredients, you become aware of what your body gravitate towards to and that my friend, is the first step to creating optimal health choices!
What are the basics?
First and foremost, consider some questions about yourself:
Eating preferences: What sorts of foods do you prefer? Do you have any dietary requirements or any food allergies? What do you currently eat versus what do you WANT to eat?
Lifestyle: Do you have the time to cook? When and where? What are your cooking expectations, budget, experience in the kitchen? How familiar are you with the variety of fruits and vegetables and healthy grains?
Goals: Are you looking to increase or decrease weight by meal planning? Are you looking for restored energy or longevity? Do you have specific health ailments that depend largely on restricting what you should eat?
These are typical questions during an initial assessment entail when we work together to build your customised toolkit; more importantly these questions should be in your mind!
Set up your meal plan and grocery list
When you know what kind of foods to prepare, it is time to plan out a grocery list! Take note of what you have in your pantry and include staples that are not already there. Ingredients like garlic, ginger, onions, rice, olive oil, coconut oil, spices and herbs are considered base elements when it comes to cooking and are there to provide both nutritional benefits but also flavour!
What is your meal plan like? Perhaps you would like to start off with 2 or 3 days worth of meal planning. It is crucial to plan out which days you wish to eat your own food and which days you need to eat out. This would determine which DAY of the week you need to set aside to prep those meals.
I find Sundays the best day to plan out and cook everything because on the weekdays it becomes a 'grab and go' concept.
Set aside time for your meals, perhaps Sunday evenings? This is a commitment required based on your goals and its one that creates the eventual habit and behavioural change.
What are you cooking?
Here comes the fun part! You might already have some idea of what kind of cuisine you wish to make and this is where it gets more detailed. Scouting for recipes online can be exhausting and confusing so that is why I would recommend using the *"Prepear" App to get started! The app is curated for both wellness professionals and normal everyday goers like you and me. It is super user-friendly and have a good base of filters to get to specific recipes tailored to your diet. (for example vegetarian, dairy free, gluten free preferences)
In a nutshell, you can drag your recipes to a calendar and it generates a shopping list for you based on what you have in your pantry. This is probably the most convenient and simple way I can think of as a beginner to meal preparations, as it strives to reduce any fears or uncertainties you might have.
*This is not an advertisement for Prepear, opinion and recommendations are my own. I do not receive anything in return for expressing positive reviews about the app.
Of course, through all this you might still be unsure as how to get started! There are so many excuses that can get in the way, including time management, misconceptions about healthy eating and lack of experience in the kitchen. I am wholeheartedly extending personalised help to you should there be a need for it.
Fortunately, I am currently offering a 7 day customised meal plan for you! It covers everything that we have talked about including assessment, grocery lists, preparation work, recipe lists and so forth. This is a great way to kickstart your journey right now. It's time to start creating your optimal health, through cooking, for yourself by yourself.