Tips for Better Meal Preparation
Have you ever tried meal prep? If you are just starting out, want to give it a try, or are struggling with it, check out this list of 10 tips tested by our Registered Dietitian, Rachel Hannah, that will set you up for success when it comes to meal prep:
Make a menu for the week:
- Start your week off organized with a menu of the meals that you will have for the week! Add your personal favourites, simple staples, and don’t be afraid to throw in a new recipe every once in a while, to spice things up!
Stock up on pantry staples:
- Whether it's pasta, rice, chicken broth, and/or dried fruit, stock up on your go-to pantry items so you always have what you need when you are preparing your meals for the week.
- Keep an eye out for when they are on sale to save you some money on these items that you know you are going to use!
- Shop during student discount days! Metro and some Zehrs locations in Guelph offer student discount days. Metro offers 10% off while Zehrs gives you 10% back in PC points which can be used to buy more groceries!
Invest in the right tools:
- Having the right tools makes the meal prep process much easier, quicker, and safer.
- Did you know that sharper knives are actually safer when used properly?
- Investing in the right tools now will save you time down the road and will make your prepping experience a lot more enjoyable.
- Helpful kitchen tools include good quality glass storage containers, mason jars, a vegetable chopper, sharp knives, an instant pot, and/or an air fryer.
Mix & match ingredients:
- Using ingredients that you can put in multiple recipes can save you a lot of time and energy.
- Chicken, eggs, and hummus serve as great protein sources that you can use for multiple snacks and meals.
- Vegetables like peppers, baby tomatoes, and spinach are versatile vegetable options that can be used on their own or in several recipes.
- You can switch up the ingredients that you use each week to keep things exciting.
Batch cook with sheet pans:
- Prepare and cook several meals at the same time by batch cooking.
- You can either throw the meals in a container to eat for the next few days or prepare them to be cooked and throw them in the freezer to cook at another time!
- There are many healthy and simple sheet pan recipes that you can find online.
Use a slow cooker:
- Toss your favourite recipes in the slow cooker and come home at the end of the day to a warm, cooked meal (and leftovers to eat another time)!
Take advantage of the freezer:
- The freezer is a great assistant when it comes to meal prep.
- From preparing and freezing meals to reheating frozen meals, the freezer provides you with readily available meals for the days that you do not feel like cooking.
- You do not have to use your leftovers for the same meal! If you have an extra chicken breast, slice it up and use it for your sandwich for lunch the next day or use your extra potatoes for hash browns the next day.
- You can also use leftovers to make various soups. The possibilities are endless!
Make it fun:
- Try to find ways to make prepping meals an enjoyable experience!
- Throw on your favourite podcast, crank the tunes or call up an old friend to chat while you prepare your meals.
Take shortcuts when you can:
- There are several ways to work smarter not harder when preparing your meals.
- Washing and cutting up all your vegetables at once reduces the number of dishes you need to use and saves a lot of time when it comes to preparing your meals.
- Grocery shopping online can also be a great shortcut so that you do not have to spend time walking around the store if you know exactly what you need. Zehrs PC and Walmart's online shopping programs are easy to use and allow you to plan your meals based on your recipes and stay on budget!
For more information, book an appointment with Rachel Hannah, HPC's Registered Dietician.
Reference: My Fitness Pal Blog