How to Save Time and Money By Meal Prepping in 2023
Are you tired of spending hours each week shopping for food and preparing meals? Do you worry about your food budget spiralling out of control? Meal prepping is the answer!
Meal prepping helps you save both time and money by allowing you to plan and cook meals ahead.
With a few simple steps, meal prepping can help take the stress and hassle out of getting dinner on the table while also keeping your food budget in check.
What is Meal Prepping and What are the Benefits?
Meal prepping became popular from 2013-2017 when everyone wanted to have their meals ready to go for the week ahead. But it isn't a new trend: humans have been cooking and storing food since the dawn of time!
Meal prepping simply allows you to plan out your meals in advance, saving time and money in the process.
It means you are in control of the macros your meals contain and can easily adjust your macronutrients like protein, fat, and carbs – depending on what you need. Plus, it eliminates the stress of deciding what to eat each day.
Meal prepping also makes healthy eating easier. Since you're preparing meals in advance, you don't need to worry about making unhealthy choices when a craving strikes. Plus, you can portion out meals and store them easily in the fridge or freezer, so they are ready to grab and go!
Get Started with Meal Prepping
Step 1 - Establish Your Goals
Committing to a workable plan is essential if you want to make meal prepping a part of your life. To start off, spend some time thinking about what kind of goals you can set for yourself that are realistic and achievable. Are you looking to save time in the kitchen? Eat healthier food? Cook more at home?
Once you have an idea of where you want to go with meal prepping, it's time to set some specific goals.
Do you want to prep two dinners and one lunch per week? Prep on Sundays for the whole week? Cook at home four nights a week? Start slow if you're just beginning your meal-prepping journey; aim low so that you don't get overwhelmed.
It can also be helpful to have a timeline for your goals. Having an end date for some of the more ambitious ones can help you stay focused; it's always encouraging to look back on how far you've come since you started working toward them.
Step 2 – Gather Recipes and Plan Meals Ahead of Time
Once you have worked out your goals, you can then start preparing a weekly menu and grocery list.
This is the fun part and allows you to get creative with your meals. Start by choosing a few dishes that you love, will be easy to cook in bulk, and will fit within your time frame.
There are plenty of articles available online to help you come up with ideas or even get creative and start experimenting. Don't be afraid to try out new recipes!
Once you have decided on what dishes to make for the week, next comes the grocery list. This is essential as it will help you buy only what is necessary and avoid wasting food (and money) in the long run.
Organise your list by sections - fruits, vegetables, meats, grains, etc. - and double-check what ingredients you already have in your fridge or pantry before writing each item down!
With a little planning and preparation, you will soon be on your way to healthy eating through meal prepping.
Step 3 – Cook and Store Your Meals
You've got the menu and ingredients ready - now it's time to review recipes, create a cooking timeline, and get down to business!
Begin by checking for the completeness of your recipe list. After that, assess how much time each dish will take so you can plan your cook-up accordingly. For instance, if one meal requires an hour in the oven, use this opportunity wisely by prepping other dishes simultaneously!
Once you have an idea of how long everything will take, create a cooking schedule that starts with the longest-cooking items and ends with the quickest ones. That way, you'll have plenty of time to get something on the table, even if there's a delay along the way.
You'll find that both slow cookers and steamers are really helpful when you are meal-prepping. With the slow cooker, you can just throw all your ingredients in and let them cook while you prep other dishes or take a break. Steamers make it easy to whip up side dishes like vegetables, potatoes, and fish without having to stand over the stove.
Finally, don't forget to store your meals in airtight containers and label them with the date they were cooked. That way, you can always tell if something is too old to eat or if it's safe to enjoy!
Step 4 – Enjoy Delicious, Budget-Friendly Meals!
You've set your goals, researched your recipes, and cooked your meals. All that's left to do? Sit back, relax and enjoy! Meal prepping is the perfect way to enjoy delicious meals with a budget-friendly price tag. So get creative in the kitchen and use meal prepping to save money while still enjoying your favourite flavours. Bon Appétit!
What containers should I use for meal prepping?
Glass and BPA-free plastic containers are best for meal prepping. Avoid using foil or paper containers, as these may not be able to keep food fresh for as long. Reusable lidded glass storage containers with tight seals are an excellent option for meal prepping; they can easily be reheated in the microwave or oven and can go directly from the fridge to the table. You should also consider your portion size when selecting a container; if you're only prepping food for one person, smaller containers will do the trick!
How long does it take to meal prep?
Meal prepping typically takes between 30 minutes to 4 hours, depending on the complexity of your meals. If you are making simple dishes, such as a stir-fry or salads, it will take less time. However, if you are preparing more elaborate recipes with multiple ingredients and cooking methods, it could take upwards of 4 hours to plan and prepare enough meals for a week's worth of eating.
How much money can be saved from meal prepping?
Meal prepping can save you up to 50% in costs compared to eating out or ordering takeaways. Pre-planning your meals and shopping for ingredients in bulk can reduce monthly expenses significantly. Additionally, having your meals prepped ahead of time eliminates the need for expensive convenience foods like microwave dinners and snacks.
Meal prepping is an excellent way for busy young parents to save both time and money. Being organised in the kitchen and having a clear plan of action can help families of all sizes enjoy delicious, budget-friendly meals.
The key to successful meal prep is having specific goals and a timeline for achieving them.
First, decide on your prep goals and create a weekly menu. Next, make a grocery list based on the dishes you've chosen. After that, prepare a cooking schedule to determine how long each dish will take. Finally, cook and store your meals in airtight containers and enjoy!
With just a little bit of planning and preparation, meal prepping can turn into a time- and money-saving habit that provides delicious, nutritious meals for the whole family.
Happy meal prepping!