*This is the first in the series of meal prepping posts I will be doing on the blog.
I think it’s time for me to start my series on meal prepping. I’ve gathered the questions that were asked and I’ve put them into the categories. Where most people just want ideas for what to make, a lot of people just have some basic questions about the process. Today I will address some of the issues and challenges people have had with meal prepping.
The most asked question is about keeping things in the fridge all week. Won’t the food go bad? Honestly, I’ve never had a problem with food going bad in the fridge. I usually do all the prep on Sunday and I usually prep from Sunday – Friday. Saturday and Sunday allow us more time at home which isn’t a rush job on the food or we eat out. Anything over 6-7 days is pushing it and I think you will have a problem with keeping the food fresh.
We prep every meal for the week. We do breakfast, lunch and dinner. I also portion out my snacks into packs so they are grab and go. It just works out better. The purpose of meal prepping is to take a little time to save you big time during the week. I advise you to prep on EVERYTHING that you possibly can. Organization is key to meal prepping.
The best way to do that is to make a plan, write it down, make a good grocery list and get to make your meals. I am sharing with you a meal planning sheet for you to use at your own home. A tip would be to print out the sheet, laminate it and use dry erase markers each week so you don’t have to keep printing out a new one each week.
You’ve planned out your meals, so you need to make a list of grocery items you need. When you write down the meal, write down everything you need for that on your grocery list. Meal prepping is about saving time so multiple trips to the store would be time consuming.
We cook the meals AND THEN WE PORTION THEM OUT! Yes, it takes up a lot of space in the fridge but it’s truly a grab and go situation. This helps in so many ways but most importantly, it sets the portion size. I had a lot of questions about having enough food to last the entire week or overeating of a portion size of things that are really delicious! Make it, portion it out and that’s all you get! We need to remember we shouldn’t be eating to have that full feeling; we are eating to live. Portion control is a huge part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Of course, Willie and I don’t eat the same portions of food. I compensate for that by giving him more of stuff that he needs but that is all planned out if something needs to be different.
Which leads me to having the right storage containers for your food. We use the ISOBAG containers. Even if we didn’t have the cooler, I would invest in a set of these containers. They keep everything together, they are smallish and fit well in our fridge. The containers are BPA free, microwave/freezer/dishwaher safe. This set is $25 for a set of 15 containers. It’s well worth the money.
When I didn’t have these, I used the Rubbermaid Easy Find Lid set! What I loved about this set is how stackable it was in the fridge and for cabinet spaces. I didn’t like the lack of variety in the container sizes because sometimes it didn’t work for all my meals. Some containers would be super big and some would be too small. We eat with our eyes and if you open up a a container that is so big and there’s barely in food in there (because of the size of the container) you’re already starting off on the wrong foot. That problem is fixable by buying an extra set. This set also sells for $25 for a 24 piece set (but those 24 pieces include the lids).
Also, sandwich bags help out a lot for your snacks. I really love using the snack size bags because they are perfect for our in between meals.
It is also important to have a water bottle/cup nearby all the time. This is to make sure you are drinking water on a regular schedule. When it’s sitting in front of you, you’re probably going to remember to drink it. Hydration is a great way to keep your metabolism in check and helps with digestion of all the yummy meals you are trying to prep.