Meal prepping has long been in practice since long in the fitness world. It is beneficial for keeping the diet on point, shedding pounds off, and saving time and money. You might be wondering what exactly is meal prep, and how it is worth it? Let’s find out.
If done correctly, meal prepping can significantly help you lose weight fast and achieve your fitness goals. However, it requires sincere efforts and a properly managed strategy to get things done right. Let’s discover what meal prepping is and how can it be practiced? We will also explore some of the best meal prep recipes that can help you shed weight very soon.
What is Meal Prep?
Meal prep, a short form of meal preparation, is preparing meals ahead of time. You can either meal prep one day before or take one completed day to prepare meals for the entire week. You can easily meal prep breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the whole week.
Meal prepping is done to save time, control calories, and meet your nutritional needs along with personal dietary needs. Meal prepping somewhat means making your lunch the night before, cooking in batch, or pre-cooking all the food you will need throughout the week and portioning it.
In general, meal prep is often done to improve the overall nutritional intake, gain muscle, cut calories, support workouts, etc.
How to Meal Prep
Mastering meal prepping might take some time, but learning to plan your meals and being habitual of cooking for yourself are skills you should master. These are valuable for your health.
Before you start to prep your meals, you need an excellent, solid plan. It may sound overwhelming at the start, but it’s not that difficult. Start with simple steps and make a simple meal that you love the most and healthy. With time you will get used to it.
Learning the process of meal prepping and mastering it isn’t a difficult task at all. You can easily tailor your meal plan and approach to a certain skill level. To achieve your goals, you do not need any high-level chef culinary skills. Your meal prep diet is personal. What works best for you doesn’t necessarily work best for others as well.
How to Make a Meal Plan?
- List down all the meals that you intend to have in the next few days, including breakfast, lunch, dinner as well as snacks. Make sure to include only those meals that you can easily make in a matter of a few minutes.
- Make a list of all the ingredients that you will need to prepare these foods.
- Go to a grocery shop and buy all these ingredients.
- Whenever you are free, get all your meal prepping done. You can prepare the meals for the entire week by spending a few hours in the kitchen.
Can You Lose Weight with Meal Prep?
Meal prep is the simplest and easiest way to track your food intake. It helps you to stay away from over-processed foods and motivates you to eat healthily. Meal prep helps in building muscles, losing weight, and making you feel better.
Preparing your meals ahead of time saves your time and ensures that you are eating healthy and nutritious food. It does not allow you to crave unhealthy or junk food and hence keeps you healthy.
Meal Prep Benefits
Meal prep comes up with plenty of benefits. Let’s discuss a few of them.
- It reduces the overall cost.
- Meal prepping minimizes the time you will be spending preparing the food throughout the week.
- It lowers stress levels that come out of trying to eat healthier
- It helps to take control of your diet
- Meal prep allows you to customize your meals as per your needs.
- Having a proper plan and food to eat will not allow you to consume junk food.
- Meal planning results in better and improved nutrition along with weight loss
- It helps your body to maintain a proper shape
- Meal prepping helps to achieve your fitness goals
Meal Prep Recipes for Beginners
Searching for some inspirational recipes? Let’s highlight some of the best meal prep recipes for beginners.
These recipes are general. However, you can upgrade your recipes by including multiple proteins, veggies, or other grains that you can divide up throughout the week. Don’t hesitate to add new flavors and seasonings. These things will make your daily meal grind from getting boring and will cut down on cravings.
Best Meal Prep Dinner Recipes
Deciding what to cook each night is a different kind of stress. It becomes challenging to plan and act each night. So, take yourself out of this stress and shift to simple prepped options that you can reheat or cook in minimal time.
Let’s discuss some of the best meal prep dinner recipes.
Salmon cakes are a healthy option to be consumed at dinner. You can prepare them ahead of time, and when you have to finish them, simply heat them in a skillet or an oven. To add to the taste, you can serve them with salad or baked sweet potatoes. You can also opt to go for a salmon burger if you want to.
Pan Chicken and Veggies
Pan chicken is another healthy option to satisfy your meal prep cravings. You can try this with your favorite veggies and potatoes. It can also be served with brown rice or quinoa.
Want to enjoy a Chinese dish? No worries. You can quickly meal prep the ingredients ahead of time with pre-chopped veggies and pre-cooked grains. Now toss it all together in a skillet with your favorite protein and enjoy a delicious dinner in no time.
Pasta can perfectly fit into your diet. To do this, choose whole-grain noodles or include zoodles for fewer carbs. Simply load up on veggies and protein using this simple sauce recipe.
Best Meal Prep Breakfast Recipes
Breakfast is amongst the easiest and fastest meals to make before time. There are many grab-and-go breakfast options that you can get from a store, such as Greek yogurt with fruit or a protein-packed frozen burrito.
A successful breakfast is to get as much protein as possible in the mornings and avoid high-calorie options. Ready-made options such as pastries, cereal, syrups, and white bread aren’t a suitable option as they will drain your energy later in the day and mess your appetite.
So, let’s discuss some of the best meal prep breakfast options.
Pumpkin Chia Pudding
Looking for something sweet to kick start your day? Pumpkin chia pudding tastes like Thanksgiving and plays its role in giving an energized start to your day. To make this treat a healthy protein boost, add 4-6 spoons of vanilla powder to this recipe.
Salmon toast is high in protein content and adds plenty of nutrition to your morning. Don’t miss this delicious breakfast option.
Prepare your delicious oats well before time and flavor them in multiple ways. They are highly nutritious and incredibly delicious. To make the taste look great and enhance the nutritional impact, you can add some protein powder.
A high-protein French toast is the best treat to satisfy your sweet cravings. To enjoy this delicious option in your breakfast, prepare the toast and pack sugar-free syrup or nut butter on the side for topping on the toast. Apart from these, you can also top the toast either with some fresh berries or any other fruit.
Egg and Pesto Toast
This recipe is made for you if you want to fill your belly with a delicious and yummy egg sandwich. It takes less than 15 minutes to get ready. It is loaded with proteins and gives your day an energetic start.
Best Meal Prep Lunch Recipes
Eat your lunch like a king. Don’t rely on sandwiches and chips. You need more nutrition and energy during that time of the day. Get this nutrition by having lunch just like you plan for your dinner. Make sure your lunch includes lean protein, veggies, and whole grains.
Let’s discuss some of the best lunch recipes that will brighten your afternoon and keep your hunger away.
Steak Fajita Bowls
Prepare tasty and healthy steak Fajita bowls in advance to enjoy your delicious lunch all week along. To add to the taste, you can serve it with your favorite toppings, such as tortilla strips.
Avocado Tuna salad is a perfect blend of creamy and crunchy salad. You can serve this delicious recipe with roasted sweet potatoes or on top of lettuce. You can also try this recipe with chicken.
Chicken Meal Prep with Rice and Beans
Spicy chicken meal prep with rice and beans is very filling and contains high amounts of proteins. The recipe works best if you like using an instant pot. However, you can prep this recipe even without an instant pot. You can prepare it in a crockpot or a simple pan, but the only problem is that it will take a bit longer time.
Food Prep Hacks
Cooking food in advance and that too in large quantities may feel overwhelming, but it isn’t. There are plenty of tips and tricks that can help you cut down your meal prep time and reduce the stress associated with a healthy eating plan.
Let’s discuss some of the best meal prep hacks that make your meal prep process more comfortable and accessible.
- Employ big batch cooking to make one-pot dishes that will last for more days. Prepare healthy chili, stew, or curry it in a crockpot or over your desirable grains. Make sure to keep the grains separate before serving so that they look extra fresh.
- Use sheet pans when roasting large amounts of fresh veggies and proteins at a time. Add some healthy cooking oil, season it and bake it until it gets brown and cooked through. Finally, portion it out as per your needs.
- Buy pre-chopped veggies, bagged salads, and other such frozen and canned products to minimize prep time.
- Prepare healthy burritos, wrap them in aluminum foil, and freeze them. Whenever you want to consume them, pop them in the oven for a fast and nutritious option.
What are the Best Meal Prep Containers?
Storing the food in proper containers is as much important as cooking it. You will need a container that keeps your food fresh. Either you store the food for a few days or the entire week, you must make sure that you are storing it in the best container. Otherwise, the entire food will be spoiled, and all your hard work will be ruined.
Food containers are available in various sizes, shapes, and materials. Depending on your needs and lifestyle, you can pick the ones that most fit into your bag. If you plan to take a lot more meals with you, opt to go for slimmer and lighter containers.
Above all, make sure that the container is suitable to stay in the freezer and works well in a microwave oven.
Glass meal prep containers are amongst the best ones. They work best in the freezer and do not cause any disturbance in the microwave oven, either. If you are looking for some containers to store salads or smoothies, opt to go for mason jars.
For How Long Can You Store the Meal in the Fridge
Once the food is ready, allow it to cool down. When done, transfer it to an airtight container and store it in a fridge. Do not keep the food at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
If all the precautions are taken care of and the food is stored in airtight containers, it can last in the fridge for seven days.
Another pro advice to keep your veggies fresh in the fridge is to soak them in ice-cold water for 15-20 minutes before storing them in the refrigerator. Also, store these veggies in the refrigerator with a wet cloth or a damp paper towel.
Can You Freeze Meal Prep Food?
Freezing food is a great option. If you have extra food and want to make sure that it doesn’t spoil for a longer duration, then freezing it is considered the best option. Before freezing, make sure that the food cools down completely. When done, then transfer it to a bowl and place it in a refrigerator to get cooled.
When you want to eat this frozen food, either allow it to thaw overnight in the fridge and then heat it in the microwave for a few minutes or reheat the frozen meal in the microwave for 5 minutes.
Meal prepping is a modern technique that can help you with cooking meals ahead of time. It results in a savage of time and helps you to lose weight. An ideal meal prep plan does not restrict you from enjoying life.
It allows you to be flexible and stay healthy while meeting your fitness goals. Read the instructions discussed above carefully and prepare a healthy and nutritious meal prep plan for yourself right now.