I’m busy dammit. I hardly get two seconds to myself. So anything I can do to ‘Get Ahead’ – I’m going for it.
I’ve been meal prepping for quite a long time now as it gives me a bit of less insanity time on school mornings. With advance meal preparation, you can make your life that little bit easier.
So if you are hungry and can only find ‘Ingredients’ in the fridge, freezer and pantry, you need to do some meal prepping!
1. Boil Eggs and Store in the Fridge
Eggs are protein packed and versatile, making a must-have staple for your kitchen. For instance, grabbing some salad and cutting a boiled egg over the top is a good healthy lunch for both kids, and grown-ups. Plus eggs are delicious! Having a few pre-boiled and cooled in the fridge so they are always available will save you time, and save you from eating bad! They last up to four days in the fridge – a quick tip is to write the date you cooked the egg with a sharpie. That way you won’t inadvertently eat a rotten egg. That’s just nasty!
A great kitchen hack is to use your oven instead of the stovetop in case that you want to ‘boil’ a bunch of eggs in advance. While you can typically fit in a pot up to five eggs, by baking your eggs for only 30 minutes in muffin tins you can prepare a dozen in one go. You can refrigerate for the week the perfectly hard-boiled batch. That way, you can eat them as you need to and always have meal proteins and healthy snacks handy.
2. Use a Food Processor to Grate and Chop
When it comes to preparing meals, a food processor can be a great time saver. You can have your veggies chopped consistently and almost instantly for salads, sautées, sofrito and more. You can also use the food processor for whipping together energy bites with dates and grains, as well as making smooth and creamy hummus.
3. Get a Pressure Cooker
Another great kitchen tool is the pressure cooker. You can use it in order to cook fork-apart, tender meats must faster than it would take in a slow cooker. In addition, you can skip any oils and fats you might usually need if you’re frying. Besides animal proteins, you can also cook vegetarian meals in a pressure cooker. For instance, you can prepare a batch of spicy pinto beans for quick burritos or just prepare some dried beans meal.
4. Buy Seasonal Produce
By buying local seasonal produce, depending on your region, you have access to flavourful and cheap cucumbers, tomatoes, oranges, grapefruits, mangoes, blueberries, strawberries, asparagus and zucchini. By buying them in bulk you maximise the value you get for your money. Freezing them for further use typically makes a great economical deal.
5. Re-purpose your leftovers
For many home cooks, re-purposing leftovers is a common practice. In order to not make them boring, you can re-purpose into something new your main course items. For instance, you can turn into tacos the plain chili from another night. You can also use them to top rice or spaghetti. You can also add a new flavour to leftovers by making a spicy tomato sauce, pesto, various sauces and vinaigrettes, or dressings.
6. Schedule Your Prep Time
In order to stay on track, you need to schedule time for food prep. For instance, prepare dinner at least one hour in advance, or prepare breakfast he night before. If you plan for it and schedule your prep time in advance, all of these meal preparation routines become easier. For instance, eating healthy meals with your family each day can be easier if you meal prep over the weekend. Whether you are cooking for friends, for yourself, or for your entire family, you can save money, time and energy by taking the time to plan future meals. This can also help you improve your eating habits. If you implement some strategies to save time and allow for improvisation you will be able to avoid ordering take out most of the time.
7. Buy on Sale
For a successful home kitchen it is important to have a variety of ingredients at disposal, from proteins to grains and vegetables. In order to ensure that, without overspending, you have always these staples, it buying items that are on sale or bulk items. If you plan accordingly you may be even able to get your stocks for half-price.
8. Interesting Lunches
Sometimes, it can be a challenge when it comes to packing lunches for your family that they will actually eat. A good way to add variation is to pack once in a while some salad. By buying bags of pre-made salad you can make them more convenient. You can use a plastic container to bring them to work. If you are limiting your calories or fat intake you may change the salad dressing to a homemade vinaigrette. In case that you do not have access to refrigeration at your job, you can put your salads in a Ziplog bag and then put that bag inside another one with ice in it.
Always pack a cold or frozen drink if you live in a hot part of the world so that your salads keep cool.
Finger Food is always a good addition to school lunches, think frozen grapes, yoghurt and muesli, vegetable sticks and hummus or even hot food if you have a thermos!
9. Use your Freezer
By using your freezer you can save time and money. You may pick up some frozen burritos, bags of shrimp, chicken breasts, and salmon fillets from a big box discount store and keep them in your freezer until you need to cook. Do not forget to defrost them the night before. Besides protein storage, you may also keep pre-portion fruits and vegetables in your freezer. They have a long shelf life and they are cheap to buy.
10. Cook Some Time-Saving Recipes
There is a great variety of easy to prepare meal ideas. They will also help you stay healthy and really taste good. Here are some favourite recipes: Chicken Ramen, Easy Chicken Burrito Meal Prep Bowls, Sheet Pan Hoisin Chicken, Caribbean Jerk Shrimp with Cauliflower Rice, Breakfast Burrito, Chicken Bacon Ranch, Lettuce Wrap, Mexican Bistro Lunch, Box Kale and Leek Pesto Pasta with Tofu, Lemon Roasted Salmon With Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli, Fruit and Nuts Snack Box, and more.
By following these ideas on advance meal prep, your life will certainly get easier.