Meal Prep 101

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Always wanted to be a meal prepper, but never got around to doing it? What supplies do you need? What are some good recipes? Learn the basics so you can get started meal prepping healthy, delicious meals and become a meal prep pro!

The first thing we need to ask ourselves is, “Why meal prep?” Meal prepping saves us time. By spending a little time preparing meals at the beginning of the week, we will spend less time cooking during the busy work and school week. Meal prepping also helps us to eat healthier. With pre-portioned meals made of healthy choices, we are more able to follow healthy guidelines and stay on track.

The next thing to address is deciding what kind of prepper you will be. There are three main types of preppers:

  • Full-On Prepper – prepares every breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner for every day of the week for every family member.
  • Partial Prepper – prepares the same as the Full-On prepper but does it for only 3-4 days at a time, having 2 prep days a week – OR – they prepare only certain meals, such as breakfasts and lunches, but cook other meals how they normally would.
  • Ingredients Prepper – prepares just the ingredients ahead of time and cooks all the meals how they normally would, but saves time because of pre-cut, pre-measured ingredients.

The next step is to pick a prep day. If your weekdays are really busy, then a weekend day might be for you. Many people aim for Saturday or Sunday afternoons.

Next, you will want to make a meal plan. To make one, write down what you’re planning to eat for all your meals for the entire week. This will help you know what you’re going to have so you don’t have to stress about deciding what to make. It will also help know what to buy when you go grocery shopping. Before meal planning and grocery shopping it is important to take an inventory of what you already have in your fridge, freezer, and pantry. See if you can make some of those ingredients work instead of buying new things. You may have to alter your recipes to do this, but it can utilize what you already have and save you from buying more ingredients you don’t need.

Before grocery shopping check out some of my blog posts about saving money on groceries and grocery shopping more efficiently.

Once you know what kind of prepper you are, pick a prep day, have a meal plan, and have your groceries, it’s time to prep! It is important to set aside adequate time and space to prep. Set the mood and make it fun by listening to music, a podcast, or watching videos. If you have someone to help you prep, that’s awesome, but if your family members are more likely to be a distraction, maybe make the kitchen off limits during prep time.

Check back next week for Tips and Tricks for a better meal prep experience!

Written By

Dee Furlough, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionDee FurloughArea Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences Call Dee E-mail Dee N.C. Cooperative Extension, Tyrrell County Center
Posted on Aug 11, 2020
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