Meal prep is one of the best ways to save time, money and stress. It’s easy to throw together meals when you’re busy and tired, but doing so can add hundreds of dollars per month to your grocery bill and make you feel like you have no control over your diet. The solution? Meal prep! With a few simple tweaks to your routine—and none of them requiring any fancy equipment or difficult-to-find ingredients—you can make meal prep easier than ever before. Here are five tips for taking on the challenge:
Don’t start from scratch.
If you’re new to meal prepping, the idea of making a whole week’s worth of food from scratch can seem daunting. But if you’re pressed for time or want to save money, it’s not necessary—and it certainly doesn’t have to be boring! You can use store-bought items that are already prepared so that you only need reheat them before eating them (or stick them in the freezer for later). This is a great way to get started with plant-based meal prep because it allows you to focus on other parts of your day instead of slaving away over a hot stove.
Plantbased Meal prep is a marathon, not a sprint.
Meal prep is a marathon, not a sprint. As you begin to get more comfortable with plantbased meal prep and your routine, don’t be afraid to change things up! This way you can be sure that the plan you are using will continue working for you as your needs change. Here are some tips:
Write down what time you plan on cooking each day so that you don’t forget.
Remember that preparation is key; having everything ready before hand means less stress when it comes time to cook!
Don’t forget spices and condiments! You might find yourself wanting different foods later in the week, so stock up now while they’re still fresh!
Balance convenience and cost.
Have a variety of ingredients on hand, but also buy what you need. When it comes to plantbased meal prep, we’re all about using what you have on hand and making do with whatever’s available! However, this isn’t an excuse to be lazy when it comes to your grocery budget; if there is a healthier option that costs less or takes less time than the original recipe calls for, go for it! You can make your own spice mixes with items from the bulk bins or purchase them pre-mixed for cheaper than buying each ingredient separately—and sometimes in bulk sizes (e.g., 1 pound instead of 3). Consider buying frozen vegetables if they are cheaper than fresh ones as well! If organic produce looks too pricey at the store, consider growing some yourself—it can save money in the long run while also reducing pesticide exposure in your diet and keeping harmful chemicals out of landfills (plus it’s fun!).
Make it fun
Invite friends over to join you in plantbased meal prep. You’ll be more likely to stick with the plan if there’s a social element to it.
Make it a team effort
Share with your partner, kids and/or friends. The more people who are involved in making the food, the better! This way everyone can eat their favourite foods without worrying about portion sizes or calories. Plus, everyone will get excited when they see all of their creations come together into one big meal!
Don’t be afraid to take shortcuts.
When it comes to meal prepping, don’t be afraid to take shortcuts. But don’t go overboard! If you’re making a salad primarily out of lettuce and dressing, that’s not going to feed your body any real nutrients.
Your goal should be for your food to provide as many nutrients as possible so that you can be healthy and feel great. Healthy shortcuts include things like using frozen vegetables instead of fresh ones—just make sure they’re frozen without any added ingredients (like sodium). And if all you have time for is reheating leftovers from the night before, I’m not going to stop you: sometimes we just need something fast! Just make sure those leftovers are packed with fiber and protein so they’ll keep your energy levels up throughout the day.
Label your meals!
Labeling your meals is a great way to make sure you’re able to easily locate them when you need them. If you’ve been taking the time to prepare meals ahead of time, it’s important that they don’t get lost in the shuffle of things. Labeling will help keep them organized so that when it comes time for lunch or dinner, all you have to do is grab one meal at a time and heat up!
It can also be used as a way of organizing your meals by meal type (breakfast, lunch/dinner) or by type (pizza). Label-making is relatively simple: just write on masking tape with a Sharpie marker and stick it onto whatever container you want!
There are plenty of ways to make meal prep easier and more enjoyable.
Be creative and try new things. Meal prep is an opportunity to be creative and experiment with your favorite ingredients. You don’t have to stick to the same meals every week—mixing up the flavors and textures will keep it exciting.
Use meal prep as a way to learn new skills, like cooking or baking for yourself! Whether you’re just beginning or already know your way around the kitchen, there’s always something new to learn from other bloggers or cookbooks (like this one!).
Make sure you are getting all of your nutrients. Whether meat-free or vegan, it can be easy for some people who eat plant-based diets to become deficient in certain nutrients such as protein, fiber and calcium because they aren’t getting enough servings of these foods per day in their diet plan. Keep track of how much protein/carbs/fats/fiber/calcium each recipe has so that you can make sure each meal has enough of these essential ingredients without overdoing any one thing (for example: if there aren’t enough carbs then adding more rice might not be helpful).
Meal prep is something that can be done once and then used over and over again. There are plenty of ways to make it easier and more enjoyable, and hopefully this article has given you some ideas on how to do just that! If you’re looking for more resources about meal planning or plant-based eating, check out some of our other articles here at Plant Powered Shift.