How to Meal Prep

Stopping by the drive-through or grabbing take-out again? Support your health goals and make your life a bit easier by meal prepping intead!

What’s for dinner? Rather than stopping by the drive-through or grabbing take-out again, what if you supported your health goals and made your life a bit easier by meal prepping? Meal prepping is about preparing meals or dishes in advance in order to save time, money, and eat per your preferences or goals. So let’s get cooking!

Why meal prep?

Meal prep makes eating healthy easier. Having prepared meals ready-to-go can help you reach your nutrition goals since you’re the one deciding what goes in it and how much you have. It can also help you save time on deciding what to eat. If that’s not enough, you can also save money by eating out less and buying ingredients in bulk.

How to meal prep

Meal prepping comes down to shopping, preparing, cooking, and storing meals for a few days in advance. Before you get started on your meal prep path, it’s good to invest in some sustainable containers and jars. Once you’ve got those down, collect some recipes you love. 

Meal prep tips

Batch cook

Batch cooking is an awesome way to meal prep. By buying ingredients in bulk, you’re able to save time, money and stress by cooking large volumes. The meal or the ingredient can then be placed in the fridge or freezer in individual portions, or you can save a bigger container of a base ingredient then use for different meals. Brown rice for example can be used later for a stir-fry, paired with protein-rich beans, or served with milk and cinnamon for a breakfast dish. 

Stock up on staples 

Stocking up on staple foods can help promote your meal prep plan even if you don’t have time to shop. Keep go-to items in your pantry such as beans, lentils, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and whole grain crackers. 

Then stock up on frozen items such as shrimp, chicken, fruit, and veggies. A quick and easy meal you can make from these items would be shrimp served with beans and rice. 

Focus on food groups

Creating balance in your meals or snacks is important both for meal prep and health in general. That’s because when you eat varied foods, you’ll get more nutrients that your body needs to work effectively and efficiently. You’ll be better equipped to fight disease and prevent chronic disease (1). 

So when you’re making your meal plan, focus on including a balance of the food groups: fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, protein, fat. An example of this would be having tofu (protein), brown rice (carbohydrate), then add in a bit of olive oil (fat) and broccoli (vegetable). 

For more balanced examples check out: Healthy Habits Simplified: Healthy Eating.

Tips to make the meals tastier

Spice up your life (and meal prep) by adding a variety of seasonings. This will keep the meals appetizing and exciting, even if you end up batch cooking and eating similar food combinations. Plus, adding herbs and spices to your meals is shown to help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases as well as improve brain health and mood (2).  

Not sure where to start? Here are some simple suggestions:

  • Add turmeric or garlic powder in curries, chickpeas, or rice for savory flavor.. 
  • Add cinnamon in oatmeal, rice, quinoa, or overnight oats for a natural sweetness in your morning grains that help balance blood sugar.
  • Cayenne pepper or black pepper on your protein (chicken, tofu, beans) to spice things up.. 

Get inspired by our in-house chef: Sustainable Cooking: Tips From Our In-House Chef

Make meal prep your own

The key to making meal prep work is finding a rhythm that works for you. This also goes for which eating plan works best for you. Download Lifesum and take the quiz to discover which way of eating suits your style. 

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All of the content and media on Lifesum is created and published for information purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Users should always consult with a doctor or other health care professional for medical advice. If you have or think you are at risk of developing an eating disorder, do not use the Lifesum app and seek immediate medical help.