Meal Prepping – What is it and why should you do it?
Put simply it’s cooking multiple meals at once which can help you spend less time in the kitchen, get in shape and save money!
Meal Prepping is by no means an absolute necessity, but certainly something that can be quite beneficial whether you’re a regular gym goer or an exercise recluse. But how exactly is it beneficial?
You tend not to get hungry and binge. If you’re stuck in work, school or college for the day and find yourself getting hungry you’ll more than likely eat whatever is available to you. Often times it’s unhealthy and heavily processed junk that’s the easiest to find and fastest to consume. Sure this satiates you, but only momentarily. It isn’t long before your hunger pangs return and you’re snacking on a packet of cheese and onion crisps and a chicken roll. You can avoid binging by having good quality food packed away in tupperware at your disposal. Unprocessed food will also leave you satiated for longer meaning you don’t feel as hungry as often and eat less junk.
You save hours of time in the kitchen. Unless you’re Gordon Ramsay, spending hours of time in the kitchen cooking is not on the top of your priority list. It certainly isn’t on mine, we all have busy lives and could really do with more hours in the day. Cooking larger quantities of food at once doesn’t take much longer than cooking one meal at once, there is no need to be stuck in the kitchen when you can get all your cooking done in 30 Minutes. It’s a simple but very efficient time management hack we could all benefit from.
You save money. If you’re out and about chances are you’re going to spend close to twenty euro or upwards to keep you going. Here’s a small bit of maths to prove how this can help you financially in the short and long term scheme of things.
A Chicken wrap in a deli costs you €5 on average. If you were to eat the chicken wrap you cooked that morning it would have totalled €3.85 (Chicken Fillet €1, Tortilla wrap 10c, lettuce 5c) €5 – €1.15 = €3.85. If you were to eat your homemade wrap as opposed to a deli wrap 5 days a week you would save €19.25, almost €20 euro a week and that’s just on one meal!
Meal prepping is a game changer when it comes to reaching your nutrition goals. It is hard to guess the caloric content and macronutrient values of food you eat out. Sure you can guess that an average chicken fillet has 30g of protein, but when you buy food from shops and restaurants you have no idea what way it has been cooked, how much excess sugar or salt is in your food and or how much unnecessary dressing has actually been drizzled over your “healthy salad”. When you actually know the content of what you’re eating you make things 100x easier to manage.
Meal Prep tips
- Invest in Tupperware ! and Lots of it. If you don’t have tupperware you won’t have anything to put your food in. If you do have it, it will entice you to put it to use. It is not expensive considering how many uses you can get out of them. I purchase mine off ebay, but you can get them anywhere they just seem cheaper online.
- Pick a day ahead of time, for example I will cooky food every second day for that day and the following day. That way the food is still pretty fresh and I’m only really in the kitchen every second day for 30-40 Minutes.
- Cook as much food as you can at once (Have meat roasting in the oven while pasta is boiling / steam veggies while your rice is boiling etc..) Instead of cooking one portion of rice at a time, cook three, one for the day you are cooking and two for the following two days.
- Keep meats the same, so I will have two portions of beef in a day if I’m prepping instead of having to cook different meats at once. This also prevents meat from going off.
- Get up 30 minutes earlier or sleep 30 minutes later. 30 Minutes is really all you need and it isn’t much when you compare it to hours you’d spend over the course of 3 days.
- Focus on 2 or 3 meals for each day. You do not need to meal prep every single meal. I never prep my breakfast, my breakfast takes 5 minutes to make and I enjoy it warm and fresh. Don’t over complicate things for yourself.
- Choose a number. Decide how many days worth of food you want to cook and how many meals per day you want to cook.
- Invest in a cooler bag. If your place of work doesn’t have a refrigerator it’s important you keep your meals fresh. These bags are the perfect substitute for a fridge. Again these can be bought on ebay, bigger ones cost more and some brands are terribly expensive so shop around.
- Stick to the basics. When it comes to meal prepping, cooking fancy dishes isn’t a great option. It often eats up your time. I usually stick to staple items.The Following are some examples:
- Carbohydrates: Oats, Tortilla Wraps, Pasta, White/Brown Rice, Basmati Rice, Quinoa, couscous, rice cakes, fruit and veggies, dark chocolate.
- Protein: Chicken Fillets, Lean Mince, Turkey Mince, Steak, Whey Protein, Pork
- Fats: Nuts (Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans), pumpkin seeds, peanut butter, almond butter.
- Veggies: Leafy Greens (No cooking time), Broccoli, Carrots, Corn, peppers, onions etc.