- Make All Dinners and Lunches
This is for: The “I’d rather put the work in now and relax later person.” It is not for the faint of heart as it requires a lot of planning and some serious kitchen time upfront. Prepping all your meals for the week requires that you sit down and determine exactly what you are eating at each meal, which can be difficult because sometimes you need a little more or a little less. For those of you that are eating smaller meals and/or focusing on portion control, this can be a great tool as once you finish what’s in the container you know to stop eating. One of the greatest perks to this is coming home after a long day and not having to worry about cooking. Two minutes in the microwave and you have a delicious meal, plus only one dish to clean up!Best for: People losing weight, smaller meals that can be stretched, people that have a lot of fridge space
Not for: people who are looking to gain weight, people who don’t like spending extended time in the kitchen, people that don’t like microwaved food.
- Make all lunches, plan dinners
This is for: People that have a lot of meals to make and a lot of mouths to feed. This is the strategy that we have found most effective as cooking for two, particularly one who eats like livestock, is not always the easiest task. Getting lunches out of the way is a huge relief and makes cooking dinner a little more enjoyable. Dinners are usually quick and easy but are delicious dishes that usually won’t fair well in a microwave (think shrimp, salmon, steak). With two people, it becomes a little easier as we can take turns cooking or tag-team it up and knock dinner out in under 30 minutes.Best for: Couples/families, people with limited fridge space, people who have to cook a lot of food.
Not for: Sporadic eaters that may not eat all the meals, people that don’t like microwaved food
- Buying all ingredients, cooking each meal
This is for: Those who enjoy cooking each meal. This happens to be our least favorite strategy, but nonetheless it is more effective than winging it. Having all the ingredients in your fridge is a great advantage in that you will be more inclined to cook dinner instead of stopping at the pizza joint on the way home from work. Knowing that if you do not cook the food it will go bad can be a strong motivator in your self-argument to cook or get takeout.A downfall of this strategy is that if you are cooking lunch and dinner you are frequently spending time in the kitchen, and cleaning a lot of dirty dishes. Also, having all the ingredients can be confusing and overwhelming if you are cooking multiple meals. Can I eat this cucumber right now or did I need it for something later in the week? You can also run into the problem of foods staying fresh for the entire week. Let’s be honest, “fresh spinach” is usually starting to go bad by the time we get it into the house!
Best for: People who work from home, have a lot of time, prefer fresh cooked meals, enjoy cooking
Not for: Unorganized people, people who do not have a lot of time to cook, people with little self-control/will power.
- Make things in bulk but only portion out for the next day or two. This allows you to store in bigger containers and cutback on Tupperware.
- If you are at home or have access to kitchen appliances, reheat your food on the stove or in the oven (in a pot or pan of course). It usually won’t be as tasty as fresh-made but it will be better than the microwave.
- Pre-cut any veggies and place them in a Ziploc bag. Half the battle is cutting/chopping when preparing food. By doing it earlier in the week you can just grab and go.
- Split your week into two. Add a midweek supermarket run as either a second meal-prep day or to get certain ingredients that would not stay fresh all week in your fridge.
What meal prep strategies do you use? We want to know! Leave a comment below!