Now that we've laid out the basics of meal prep for your clients, it's time to dive into all the fun tips and tricks that can make a menu plan go from good to great! In today's edition of Get It Prepped, we've got five great tips to help your audience level up their meal prep.
Meal prepping is the concept of preparing whole meals or dishes ahead of schedule. Meal prep can mean preparing just a few meals or dinners for the entire week. Once you start getting all of the ingredients lined up you will see that this makes it easy to plan meals, save time, save money, and make healthier meals for your family.
Tip #1: Make Space Be sure that your refrigerator and freezer are cleaned out and have plenty of space to hold ingredients for multiple meals. If you're preparing a few things at once, mark the days on the calendar to block off time to meal prep.
Tip #2: Check What You Have Before hitting the grocery store, take stock of what’s already left in the fridge, freezer, and pantry to prevent overbuying. And don't miss the spice rack! Having a variety of spices on hand will make meals more interesting.
Tip #3: Set The Stage When it's time to cook, get out those cutting boards, measuring spoons, and cups. This step is all about organization. Be sure to have all equipment needed as well as the recipes and ingredients ready to roll. Remember to read the whole recipe ahead of time and ensure you have enough space to conquer each step. Substitute ingredients if needed and use up perishable produce first for weekly recipes. Don a fun apron and get busy!
Tip # 4: Portion and Pack If you plan on freezing meals for later, have reliable glass or plastic storage containers with lids that fit. Gallon-sized, freezer safe bags may also be used to portion and pack grains. Measuring cups are helpful to portion and pack equal-sized servings as well. Have a sharpie marker and some masking tape to label and date the meals being created. And remember tip #1: be sure to make room in the refrigerator or freezer for whatever is made and packed.
Tip #5: Get a Buddy Have a friend or family member join you to share the workload and keep you company while you prep. You can swap recipes, do taste tests, and share food costs. Cooking with a buddy may also make you more accountable to help keep the meal prep going.
By Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD