Photo illustration by: Holly Amarjargal
Meal prepping is a way to quickly and easily cook delicious meals for yourself without feeling like you have a new part-time job. It can aid in meeting nutritional goals, and won’t break the bank or waste an excessive amount of time.
For those who want to budget while also eating well, meal prepping is your key to success. It takes a small time commitment up front, but the result is glorious: hassle free meals all week, and fewer bad food decisions when faced with a time crunch.
The first step is finding recipes that you want to make. The Internet is a treasure trove of recipes and there are approximately one million blogs dedicated to providing ideas if you need some inspiration. The bookmark feature in your browser is extra handy here; create a folder just for recipes.
Lindsay Ivie, a UVU Culinary Institute alumni and current Culinary Supervisor at The Waldorf-Astoria in Park City, has some excellent tips for how to stay on top of your food game.
“I used to go to the grocery store and just buy whatever, but now I plan before I go. That way, I’m saving money and I know exactly what I need to do,” says Ivie. “Then, I just chop all my veggies that night.”
The most important meal to prep for is the one that is the most inconvenient for you. Whether it’s breakfast or dinner, this step can help you narrow down what food you want to prepare for the week.
“My go-to is stir fry. It’s a good way to get tons of veggies and protein and can really be whatever you want. It’s easy because you can either cook all the veggies and let it sit for a day or two, or cook it when you want and it only takes ten minutes max. Then I cook a bunch of brown rice,” says Ivie.
If breakfast time is more your rush hour, Ivie suggests “Prep smoothies for the week and just put everything you need in a bag. That way it takes about one minute in the morning.”
Other items I’ve found that work well at any meal time are: cooked quinoa, roasted veggies—like sweet potatoes, beets, or squash—or a pot of soup, which can be easily reheated and will last all week.
“Just be realistic about what fits your schedule and what you like,” continued Ivie, “I usually make enough for 3-4 days. Especially when I’m only feeding myself, cooking everyday is such
a chore. This helps keep it from feeling like work.”
The more you practice planning meals and cooking for yourself, the easier it becomes.
Meal prepping can make eating home-cooked meals almost as easy as reheating a Hot Pocket or Lean Cuisine, except a lot more appetizing. Not to mention the boost to your energy levels, lower risk of health problems and slimmer body that are sure to follow.