Meal planning and prepping is one of the best tools you can gain for ensuring you are getting nutrient-dense meals throughout your week.
Planning ahead removes decision fatigue, saves you time, and prevents you from making decisions you don’t truly want during a moment of “hanger.”
There’s no better feeling than starting off your Monday knowing your fridge is stocked with everything you need to mix, match, and build meals that you truly enjoy.
How many times have you opened up your fridge, determined there was “nothing” to eat, and resorted to ordering takeout instead? Yup, we’ve all been there once or twice before!
Set yourself up for success this time around. We have a fool-proof way for you to prep in advance without committing to eating the same exact thing every day.
We know that variety is key for a sustainable healthy lifestyle, so we’ve got you covered.
Benefits of Meal Prepping and Batch Cooking
So you’ve heard about meal prepping and batch cooking, but you’re wondering whether or not it’s the right fit for you. Is it really worth it? We definitely think so, and here’s why.
Helps You to Be Consistent with Eating Well
We can have the best intentions to eat well, but if we don’t plan ahead, in the moment, they can get forgotten or seem too challenging. When you use meal prepping and batch cooking in your weekly routine, you’ll become so much more consistent with eating well every day.
When you know what you’ll be eating and you’ve reduced some of the time it will take you to make that meal, it makes it so much easier for you to follow through with your choices knowing that you already have everything you need in your fridge to create a nourishing meal in 15 minutes.
Taking a few minutes each week to plan what you’re going to eat at each meal and batch cooking some of that ahead of time will give you that consistency with your eating habits.
More Time For You
Hear me out. Yes, you will need to dedicate some time to actually plan and prepare the food. But once that’s done, think about all the extra time you have during the week!
The time you previously spent rummaging through the pantry and subsequently cooking is now freed up.
After a long day of work, wouldn’t it be nice to have some extra time to yourself? To watch your favorite tv show, workout a bit, spend some time with your kids, or take a bubble bath with a face mask?
Save Some Extra Cash
Who doesn’t want to save a little money!
From the takeout you’re no longer ordering to the fresh produce you’re actually using before it goes bad, the savings really start to add up.
When prepping multiple meals in advance, you can also take advantage of bulk purchasing. Whether that’s at your local grocery store, wholesale club, or even a farmer’s market.
No Need For Willpower
Willpower isn’t needed when you have habits set in place around your eating and lifestyle. That’s why getting into a routine with meal prepping and batch cooking can be such a powerful habit to have integrated into your life.
When the planning and prepping is done in advance, we don’t have to use quite as much willpower when making food decisions.
Reduce Food Waste
How often do you find a smelly bag of arugula at the back of your refrigerator? Or maybe it’s some moldy raspberries you didn’t quite get to in time?
When you’re meal prepping and batch cooking, you know exactly what you’re going to do with the food that you purchase which can help reduce food waste.
Set Your Kitchen Up For Success
Now that you’ve decided to take the leap and get cooking, let’s make sure your kitchen is all prepped and ready to go. Since cooking and eating at home is a form of investing in yourself and your health, it’s easier — and more fun — when it’s in a space where you love to be.
Stock The Pantry
You’ll want to stock your pantry with a few common foods so you always have something on hand and so you won’t need to buy every ingredient you need every single week.
Dry goods that are frequent flyers in your favorite recipes can be purchased in bulk and stored in your pantry. Think dried beans, pulses, grains, and superfoods.
Get Storage Ready
You’ll need some storage containers to store all of your prepped food once the cooking is done.
These airtight glass containers and reusable bags are some of our favorite options for this! They’ll keep your food fresh and tasty throughout the week.
You can also use reusable wrap like this as well.
Have The Right Tools
Having the right tools can make a world of a difference when it comes to cooking in the kitchen.
To get you started, the five basics I believe every home cook needs are as follows: a sturdy cutting board, a sharp chef’s knife, a reliable blender, and non-toxic cookware.
How to Create a Simple Meal Plan Rotation
Creating a meal plan rotation is a fool-proof way to ensure you’re prepared to make meal prepping and batch cooking a long-term, sustainable part of your routine.
A rotation is a week’s worth of 3-6 recipes you use for one week, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The following week, you switch it up and choose 3-6 different recipes.
You repeat this process every week for a month. At the start of the new month, you repeat rotation number 1 and cycle through them again!
Using rotations not only reduces the stress about thinking of what recipes to make, but it also saves you money because you’re purchasing only the food you need for those recipes.
Rotations also encourage you to add variety to your diet from week to week which increases the nutrient-density and nutrient-variety you’ll eat in the span of a month!
Let’s dive into how exactly you can do that!
Select 3-6 Recipes Per Week to Meal Prep
Step one is to determine the recipes you’re going to make for the week ahead. These are what you will use for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.
You’re only committing to your choices for a week. Depending upon your particular likes and dislikes, adjust your choices accordingly.
For example, if you’re a creature of habit and can eat the same breakfast Monday through Friday, great! Do exactly that! Yet on the other hand if you need to switch it up a bit, select two breakfast options and switch off daily. The format is completely up to you — make it your own so you truly enjoy it.
After week one is complete, swap out any (or all) of the recipes you used that week, and come up with 3-6 additional recipes for the following week.
Repeat this process for one month.
In the end, you’ll have 4 weeks of recipe combinations.
Come week 5, all the hard work is done. Now all you need to do is circle back to week one and repeat the process!
This keeps things fresh and interesting so you’re not eating the same meals day after day, week after week. Yet at the same time, you have some stability and organization so you can plan and prep ahead.
But we’re not done just yet, there’s one last piece to the puzzle…
The post How to Use Meal Prep and Batch Cooking to be Consistent with Healthy Eating appeared first on Nutrition Stripped.