Why You Should Start Meal Prepping
Meal prepping simply means preparing your meals ahead, and its popularity has soared throughout the years as people become more conscious of their diets. Some benefits of meal prepping include saving time, money and having the ability to control your daily calorie intake.
You do not need to be a masterchef or seasoned cook to start meal prepping. Some of the key points of meal prepping are that dishes are simple to prepare, with minimal ingredients and kitchen equipment needed. Professional fighter and martial arts coach Kirstie Gannaway shares with us some of her meal prepping mantras.
It is important to note the number of meals you are preparing in advance because it allows you to have better portion control and avoids wastage.
Kirstie’s Tip: When you plan ahead, you are able to cook a variety of ingredients that can be prepared in different ways over the week. I usually opt for versatile ingredients like grilled chicken breasts and vegetables as they can be prepared and stored separately in advanced. You can always then customise your meals the night before with the ingredients you prepared previously so you are not stuck with eating the same meal for the entire week.
Keep It Simple
One way to avoid over preparing is to stick to the idea of one protein, vegetable and starch each meal. The process of meal prepping should be fuss free and utilise as little kitchen equipment as possible
Kirstie’s Tip: Especially in your first few attempts at meal prepping, you will realise that it is a trial and error process. Try preparing your meals in parts – I dedicate days to prepare different components, one day can be for sauces, another for grilled vegetables and sometimes I even cook the proteins on the morning itself.
Label Your Items
It might be tempting to prepare an entire week’s worth of food in advance, but some food have a limited shelf time in the fridge before it goes bad. Always label your items so you can keep track of how long it has been in the fridge. A general rule to follow is storing cooked meat in the fridge for three to four days. Do not be afraid to freeze your food, as that can extend its storage period as well. Invest in clear containers so your food are visible and can be stored easily.
Meal Prep Shouldn’t Mean Flavourless Food
Many have the misconception that meal prep food are usually bland and tasteless. While the basic components might be similar each day, you can always switch up the taste with different sauces and flavourings!
Kirstie’s Tip: You can always try making your own sauces if you cannot find low sodium alternatives at the store. Sauces and dressings can be prepared in bulk and stored over time, so it might be worthwhile to prepare your own. Especially when you are eating clean, flavours from sauces can really make meals exciting. Try incorporating flavours like garlic, onion or even spices as these can really elevate the flavour of your dish. They are a great way to keep things interesting – pepper, cumin, paprika and garlic powder are some fantastic options.
Meal prep is a great option for those who are looking at improving their diet and want to save a few bucks. Rather than pay for expensive store bought salads daily, preparing your own allows for customization to suit your palette.