Part 2 – Meal Prep 101

— Written By

Tips and Tricks for a Better Meal Prep Experience:

  • It may be difficult at first and take a little more time than you thought, but with practice you will become a pro in no time, so don’t give up.
  • Prepare like things together: chop all the vegetables, prepare all the meat, measure all the ingredients.
  • Don’t try too many new recipes at once. Try just 1-2 and keep the rest of the meals your favorite recipes you are already comfortable doing.
  • Get all your appliances going at once to get everything cooked in the shortest amount of time.
  • You don’t have to cook everything. Choose some cold foods like salads, fruit, and chopped veggies and dip.
  • Let food you do cook cool before putting the lid on and putting them in the fridge. This will prevent the food from sweating and turning soggy.

Nutrition Tips for Healthy Meal Preps:

  • Follow the MyPlate method: make half your plate fruits and vegetables, have one serving of lean protein, one serving of a grain, whole grain, or starchy vegetable, and one serving of low-fat dairy.
  • Make sure to measure serving sizes so that they are the correct portion for you. Use a food scale or measuring utensils to do this. Over consuming healthy food is still bad for you.
  • Make sure to get enough protein, especially at breakfast and snacks. Often, people choose high carb/high sugar breakfasts and snacks and then they end up hungry before it’s time for the next meal. Getting enough protein can help you stay fuller longer.

Containers:

You don’t have to spend a ton of money on fancy meal prep containers. Whatever you have at home will probably work. Reusable food containers (like the ones butter and sour cream come in) and plastic baggies are staples in my house. You can also purchase some food saver containers and ones designed for meal prep such as the three-compartment containers, two-compartment containers, single item containers, and even small ones made for snacks, dips, and salad dressing. As long as it keeps your food safe and fresh, the container doesn’t have to be fancy.

For more information on prepping for mealtime, contact Dee Furlough at dee_furlough@ncsu.edu.