Dec 11, 2020 | LIFE | By Kara Thomas | Illustration by Bibi Powers
Hey guys, I’m going to freak you all out for a quick second, so hold your hats. 2020 is almost over. As I write this, we are exactly 21 days from 2021. I know, I told you it was scary. With a new year, however, comes opportunity and excitement. It’s a time when millions of people set New Year’s resolutions in an effort to better themselves or the world around them. It’s a chance to make a positive change in your life.
So, what’s a food columnist doing talking about New Year’s resolutions? I’m here to explain to all of you how meal prepping works. Meal prepping sounds … daunting, and honestly, it is. But with my five handy steps, you’ll be a pro meal-prepper in no time and maybe, just maybe, your next New Year’s resolution will stick. Healthy eating, here we come!
- Plan out your meals
That’s right. I want you to plan out all of your meals for the week before you hit the grocery store. That includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, drinks, treats, all of it. I find it easiest to do this when a) I’m not hungry and b) I’m not stressed.
- Go shopping on the weekend
If you want to meal-prep effectively, you need to shop on the weekend. I prefer shopping on Sunday. It helps me feel like I have some sense of control over the week ahead, and best of all, it helps me have a good Monday.
- Try to incorporate ingredients into multiple recipes
This is where meal prepping gets tricky. You don’t want to go to the store and spend $100 on food just for yourself for a week. We’re not only trying to be healthy, but cost-efficient, too. Thus, it’s best to pick out a few main ingredients, such as rice, chicken, carrots, or potatoes, and incorporate those ingredients into multiple different dishes. Perhaps you can make a chicken risotto one night, twice-baked potatoes another night, and use the leftover carrots, potatoes, and chicken for a salad. Whatever you do, be conscious of the meals you pick when planning out your grocery trip ahead of time.
This is huge. You need places to put all of your cooked food/meals for the week. Having various-sized Tupperware containers really helps you keep your fridge organized for the week ahead. You can even label the Tupperware by day if you want!
- Have a rotating list of your favorite recipes
Nobody wants to eat the same thing every week. Compile a list of your top 10-20 favorite recipes and keep them on rotation. Keep your eyes peeled for new recipes to add to your list, but make sure you always have at least 10 recipes in your back pocket you can rely on. This will help you not feel burnt out from cooking the same meals every week, and it will also be a delight to your taste buds!
Rinse and repeat! If planning out a full week’s meals sounds intimidating, try doing one big meal first. Save the leftovers in the fridge for later meals, and you’ll get a sense of how convenient it is to have food already prepared for you to eat when you’re in a rush, stressed, or just don’t feel like cooking that day.
I hope this was helpful! If you have any questions or comments about food in general, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your question could be featured in our next publication!