By preparing healthy meals in bulk, you’ll be able to get through the week without having to rely on vending machine snacks or take-out lunches. Looking to save time and build a better you? Getting started with meal prepping is quite simple.

What is meal prep?

Meal prep basically means carving out a few hours each week to prepare enough food to last multiple days. EatingWell contributor Carolyn Hodges notes that meal prep breaks down into several different methods, including cooking meals that you can reheat throughout the week. Meal prep can also be something as simple as chopping vegetables or marinating meat to cut down on cooking time later in the week.

One of the main goals of meal prep is saving time. If, for example, you cook a week’s worth of chicken and rice in one afternoon, you’ll minimize the amount of effort it’ll take to eat healthy throughout the week. Meal prep can simplify healthy eating habits and help you break the habit of eating out.

Start with a plan

You can’t meal prep without meal planning. Kelli Foster, the senior contributing food editor for Kitchn, writes that you should start your journey into meal prepping by figuring out what recipes best match your wants, needs, and flexibility. The meals you prepare may be different depending on your priorities, whether it’s saving time, saving money, or aligning with a specific type of diet.

No matter what kind of food you prepare, one thing should be common: It’s something that will keep in the refrigerator or freezer. The fundamental basis of meal prep is food that will keep for upwards of a week, so you’ll want to avoid anything that will get soggy or spoil quickly.

Hodges recommends writing out a menu for the week if you’re planning multiple meals for the week ahead. This also helps ensure that you’re getting the right balance of vegetables, carbohydrates, and proteins. And just as importantly, it simplifies shopping and ensures that you don’t forget any key ingredients.

Make sure you have the right tools

As much as a thorough shopping list is key to effective meal prep, you won’t be able to make the most of it without the right equipment. Among the most important, Foster notes, is food storage containers. If you’re relying on old, worn-down plastic containers, it might be worth it to upgrade to higher-quality glass containers — especially if they’re safe for use in the microwave, oven, or freezer.

As you get serious about meal prep, you may find yourself needing more cookware and appliances. Dutch ovens, carbon steel skillets, and pressure cookers are examples of kitchen equipment that can come in handy for meal prep. If you can get it at a good price and it helps save time during the preparation process, it might be worth adding to your arsenal.

Speaking of time, that’s the absolute most critical tool for effective meal prep. Hodges recommends doing your meal prep on the same day that you go shopping, which also helps ensure freshness. Another great tip is to make meal prep a regular part of your weekly schedule. If you build three hours into every Sunday for meal planning and prep, you’ll be able to build a strong habit that keeps you accountable.

Meal prep is a great way to achieve your wellness goals in the new year. With plenty of healthy meals to go around, you’ll feel better and more satisfied throughout your week.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with Adirondack Bank. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. Adirondack Bank is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the information provided or the content of any third-party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. Adirondack Bank makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

Source: IMakeNews, Inc.