Meal prep is the number one way to improve your ability to stay on track when making changes to the foods you are eating. I have referred to meal prep many times over the past few years and it has occurred to me that I've never fully explained what meal prep is and/or how to execute meal prep.
What is meal prep?
Meal preparation or meal prep is simply the process of planning and preparing meals.
How to execute a successful and cost efficient meal prep process?
Start with raw ingredients you can purchase in bulk. For example, whole chicken a bunch of celery a bag of onions a bunch of carrots a container of mayo a bag of avocados a bag of slaw mix and a head of lettuce. With this combination of ingredients you can plan several meals that use the same ingredients in different ways, with different spices to make different meals. This will cut down on food waste and make a more compact shopping list.
First, plan your meals for the week so that the meals are using recipes which call for similar and/or the same ingredients. Using a paper that is divided into days of the week and meals periods for each day write down what will be made for each meal. This can be a dry-erase board on the fridge as well. Now you have you meals planned for the week. The next step is to prepare these meals and prep the vegetables for the meals that will be prepared each day so that all the rest of the work is just cooking the foods.
Second, get all the vegetables you need to make each recipe cut and stored for the week. This way the prep work for these meals is done and will not take time during the week. This means cut up the veggies such as (onions, pepper, zucchini, and even wash and shred the lettuce (this is just an example)) and prepare the meat. To work more efficiently I suggest marinating the meats that will be cooked off and let them sit while cutting the vegetables. Once the vegetables are cut and stored now make the meat then let it cool and store it. Use this to make your meals for the week.
Third, is the easiest step. Execute the meals you have prepared for dinners and breakfast. Don't forget to pack the extras and bring your lunch to work. Lunches can also be fully prepared and packed on the prep day so these are ready to go for the week.
This is a three step meal prep process that is cost efficient and organized in efforts to reduce the anxiety around food.