There never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done. You want to make healthy meals for your family, but ordering a pizza or hitting the drive-thru of your favorite fast food is really tempting.
This is where some good meal preparation tips come in handy, and with a little time set aside and organization, you can prep healthy meal ingredients ahead of time and they’re ready to go when you’re ready to cook. Here are five tips to better meal planning:
Meal Planning Time Schedule
How far in advance do you want to plan your meals? This can be weekly, or monthly. Plan for dinner or all three meals and snacks.
Once you get your scheduled meals planned, you can see how much prep work you have to do. It also eliminates daily store runs where you frantically search the aisles for something tasty for dinner.
Stock Pantry Staples
What ingredients do you already have? It’s a good idea to keep some pantry staples such as rice, pasta, tomato sauce, flour, sugar, and dried beans on hand.
Stock your favorite herbs and spices, as well as olive oil, vinegar, and soy sauce. Mustard and mayo can be used for making sandwiches or preparing salads such as macaroni, potato, or chicken.
Make Freezer Packets
There are two basic elements to meal prepping: chopping vegetables and putting ingredients for meals into containers, and actually cooking some aspects of the meal and freezing them. You can do one or both of these options depending on how much time you think you will have.
Use Correct Containers
Make sure lids are air-tight to keep food fresh. Plastic is fine to use, but you should know what type of plastic you are using. Make sure they are refrigerator-, freezer-, microwave-, and dishwasher-safe first of all. Also check that the plastic containers don’t have any BPA, which can be dangerous when adding or cooking food in these containers.
Freeze casseroles in a glass dish, but if you just ate the casserole for dinner, let it cool down first or the glass may crack.
Meal Prep Ideas
If you’re making salad, put greens and veggies together in containers, and salad toppings and cheese in a separate container.
Decide what meat you want to use for multiple meals, then bake or cook it all at the same time. Do this in the oven or your slow cooker. Meat like chicken breasts, fish filets, and strips of steak work great for this.
Use these tips to help you prepare healthier meals. Your body will thank you.