5 Meal Prep Hacks For Your Healthy Diet
According to recent surveys of adult Brits, around 63% said they would like to pivot their diets to be healthier. That said, over 77% also said that they faced barriers that made pursuing a healthy diet difficult. Now, while there are many ways that a person can overcome the difficulties of adjusting their diets, one of the most effective and efficient is via meal prepping.
Described, in a nutshell, as a concept of preparing entire dishes or meals ahead of time, meal prepping can help you reach your physical, nutritional, and time-saving goals. If you’re new to meal prepping or are just looking for ways to improve your approach, here are a few hacks to try:
Create a meal plan in advance
Though you may be an intuitive shopper and cook, having a meal plan sorted out can make the grocery shopping and cooking process smoother. This way, you’ll know exactly what to cook, what to buy, and how much preparation time to allot. If you’re new to creating meal plans then it will be very helpful to write things down first. This way, you have a concrete reference for ingredients, recipes, and even hacks like this! So as not to overwhelm yourself, your meal plan can also start by covering only a week at a time. Gradually, as you become more comfortable with meal planning and prepping, you can even graduate to more comprehensive monthly plans.
Buy ingredients in bulk
Buying ingredients in bulk cuts down on the time, waste, and money that you spend on meal-prepping groceries. According to a guide on rising costs, the average household in the UK spends about £274 a month. With the recent inflation, this cost is expected to increase even more. Inversely, research states that buying in bulk can save around £1,600 annually. On top of this, when you buy bulk this also gives you the benefit of buying ingredients in season, that you can just store for later. Some of the best foods to buy in bulk are grains, frozen meats, frozen produce, and nuts. All of these foods are either shelf-stable or easy to store in the deep freeze for up to several months. When you’re ready to use each ingredient, you can easily take out the portion you need and use it for whatever meals you’re planning.
Sort and prepare your ingredients early
Even if you’re not planning to cook yet, it helps to organise and prepare your ingredients as soon as you can. Doing so cuts down on the washing, slicing, and chopping you’ll need to do on cook day. Additionally, this is also particularly helpful for those who are meal planning to maintain a specific weight. Since a healthy way to lose weight (after first consulting with a healthcare professional) is to create a caloric deficit, it’s important that your portions are precise. With pre-prepared ingredients, you can enjoy cooking your meals without worrying that you’ve accidentally gone over your calorie allowance. If you’ve got extra ingredients left over, already having them clean and cut up means that you can easily store them for future use or larger meals.
Make the most of multi-purpose appliances
Meal prepping can require a lot of clean-up. But you can get around this by using multi-purpose cooking appliances. In this way, you can cook various meal components in one go. One of the best multi-purpose appliances for meal prepping is the rice cooker since you can also steam and bake food. As an added bonus, rice cooker reviews suggest that models with fuzzy logic technology are particularly useful. This is because fuzzy logic enables the rice cooker to detect the best type of heating and pressure required by the ingredients you’ve placed inside. As such, you don't have to worry about overcooking or undercooking. With a larger rice cooker, you can even prep multiple foods at once. This can cut your cleaning and cooking time by at least half.
Pre-assemble what dishes you can
Instead of using up precious minutes carefully packing your daily meals, simply opt to use single-meal size food containers instead. This is especially efficient with pasta or salads. In particular, salads in mason jars are fun and easy ways to store, bring, and enjoy a healthy meal on the go. Just remember to always keep the sauce at the bottom of your container so the crunchier ingredients up top don’t get soggy. While you can use any reusable container for this hack, glass containers are preferable since they’re more eco-friendly, can preserve taste and freshness better, and are usually more versatile.
Meal prepping does take some practise and dedication. But given its undeniable benefits to your lifestyle, it's an approach worth following for you and your family. To see the results of your meal prepping, you can even motivate yourself further by using inspiring apps like Dreamfora. This way, you can keep track of your progress and feel motivated to keep improving your meal prep process.
Exclusively written for Dreamfora by Janice Taylor