Easy meal prep that still tastes good in under 1.5 hours
Easy meal prep. Three words that don’t often together. I’m sure you’ve heard that failing to plan is planning to fail. This is why meal prepping is such an important part of your health and fitness journey if you’re strapped for time and find yourself eating food that doesn’t line up with your goals. In theory, it all sounds good. Your food for the week is organised and you don’t even have to think about it. But there are a few downsides too.
The time it takes to make all those meals on the one day. The freshness of the meals on day five. The mess in the kitchen that takes an hour to clean up. The taste of the meals slowly making their way to below average as the week progresses.
These reasons are why I don’t like meal prepping and why I stopped for a long time. But when my life started getting hectic again, I knew I had to make things easier for myself so I came up with my own meal prep. Easy meal prep that actually tastes good when you eat it!
First thing is first: your schedule!
Do your days vary? Which days are you most busy? Which days do you normally come home late? Have you got anything on this week that will affect your schedule?
Planning your meals according to this is key because, on days that you absolutely have no time to cook, you’re going to have a meal fully ready to go. On days that you have limited time but time none the less, you’re going to have all your ingredients prepped and your meals ready to be cooked.
Rather than cooking EVERYTHING up at once, you’re going to prepare what you can and cook the rest when you have time.
For example, on Wednesdays, I come home pretty late and it’s my busiest day, so I have all my meals completely cooked for that day. Mondays and Fridays are still busy but not as much so I might have half the meal cooked and the other half prepped and ready to go! I stick to very easy, fast options for those days. The rest of the week I will still have to cook but every single ingredient is prepped and ready to be cooked within 10 minutes.
Don’t prep the whole week
If you have the time, try to prep for 3-4 days at a time. This ensures that all the ingredients and pre-cooked meals are as fresh as possible and still end up tasting good. The worst thing is cooking a whole week’s worth of food only to be absolutely be hating it by Friday because it’s either bland or you’ve cooked the same thing for every single day. Boring.
Plan your meals
On your phone or on a notepad, write down the meals you’re going to have for each night. Planning ensures that the meal prep process is as fast as possible. It also means that you can schedule your meals according to how busy you are.
After you’ve planned all your meals, create a shopping list and buy the ingredients. This sounds really straightforward but until I started making shopping lists, my meal preps were never very effective because I would always forget ingredients or get too much of one thing and not enough of the other.
If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, Pinterest is a great place to start. I actually have a few boards devoted to food and easy meal prep. Use this as a starting point and find your own recipes from here.
Prepping in categories
Plan out how you’re going to prep your meals. Decide which meals need to be fully cooked and which need to be prepped.
For easy meal prep, group the different ingredients together rather than cooking meal by meal. What I mean by this is go through and prepare and/or cook all the vegetables you’ll need for every single meal. Then the rice/quinoa/pasta type of ingredients and lastly the meats if you’re using meat.
Dividing your ingredients up makes it so much faster to get everything cooked or prepped for cooking. It also makes less mess and if you have a list of your recipes in front of you, doing it this way will actually be a lot easier.
Cook what needs to be cooked and prep what you can cook later
You might decide for example to have 3 different dinner meals on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Monday might be a quiet day for you, so you’ll only prepare all the ingredients for meal one so that it is ready to cook on Monday. It will only take you about half the time depending on what you’re cooking.
Tuesday and Wednesday might be your busiest days. You might then fully cook meal 2 and meal 3 so that both are 100% ready to go, but still fresh, for Tuesday and Wednesday.
I follow this exact procedure for every meal prep and I manage to get 3 days of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks all ready to go or ready to be cooked in less than 1.5 hours.
The Holistic Burn blog is all about community and empowering women to be the best versions of themselves. If you have any tips or tricks to do with meal prep or healthy eating, please leave them in the comments section so that you can help someone else out.