Meal prep is simply the art of preparing meals ahead of time. A fantastic idea on paper but many find it challenging to execute most of the time. Some are consumed by their careers that there’s no time to step into the kitchen. Others can’t handle the kids and cook at the same time. Then there’s the lot of non-kitchen enthusiasts. Yet, at the end of the day, you’ll still want something to eat.
The bitter truth is, meal prepping is not a problem, the problem is when you don’t allocate time for it. Enters time blocking. A simple approach that is certain to increase your productivity. All you need is a calendar, which you already have on your smartphone or computer.
Time blocking refers to using your calendar to create time for your most important priorities. Call it a plan of action, led by your calendar. Your calendar dictates what you’re supposed to do at a given time. With time blocking, you will never be caught like, “what I’m doing next?”. Because you already have a program. You will be able to work, cook, spend time with kids, read a book, watch Netflix – all in a well-organized manner.
We eat to live and so cooking is a universal priority. But, you don’t want to eat quick pan-fried foods every time. You want to eat healthily, and healthy foods need time to prepare. That means you have to block time for prepping meals. So how do you go about it?
Mark down the days that you can plan out your menu, go shopping (or do it online) and cook your meals. Set a reminder on your smartphone to keep you in check. Decide if you want to cook your meals all at once or 2 per week. For a start, give yourself more time. That’s because you don’t want to get overwhelmed and then forget it. Keep in mind that your meal prep is designed just for you, to suit your lifestyle.
You have already blocked time for when to plan your menu. List down the foods you want to eat during the week. That will help eliminate three common issues;
Think of what you want to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and don’t forget snacks. Stick to your go-to’s or favorites for a start then slowly introduce new recipes. Obviously, you don’t want to eat the same foods week in, week out, or you’ll get bored. You might do with a few tips here; 12 tips to avoid getting bored with your meal prep. Remember, your breakfast and lunches should be portable and easy to store. When it comes to dinners, choose whether you want to reheat your meals or have everything ready to go to make cooking super quick
The meals are written down. It’s time to create a shopping list. Find a store that will offer everything you need so as to save time moving from one store to another. Alternatively, split your shopping trips or have someone else handle the job. Is Uber delivering groceries in your area?
Don’t forget to stock your pantry with spices and staples for your refrigerator or freezer. Your meals will only be as delicious as you can make them. A well-stocked pantry will eliminate frequent trips to your local grocery store.
This is perhaps the easy part of meal prep, especially if you enjoy cooking. Many families prefer meal prep Sunday because company if not reinforcements are usually available. No problem if you’re flying solo. Simply binge watch one of your favorite shows whilst you cook or psych yourself up with your Spotify playlist.
There are two approaches when it comes to cooking. First one is you cook all the meals for the entire week or for a few days, so that they are always ready for you to warm and eat. The other option is to prep your meals half way then you get to cook them in 30 minutes or less whenever you want to eat.
Do you have the necessary tools? Slow cooker, blender, instant pot, mason jars, storage containers or ziplock bags? All these will come in handy. Our cooking tools can vary but storage containers are a must in meal prep? Learn a few storage tips here; how to properly store your prepped meals. Remember to label your meals accordingly.
That’s it! time blocking and meal prep clearly go hand in hand. The goal is to achieve a healthy eating habit while being in control of your lifestyle rather than going with the flow. Save the money you spend eating out, avoid last-minute grocery runs, and set time for prepping meals every week.
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