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A Beginner's Guide to Meal Prepping

By HERWriter
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meal prep Graphic by Aydali Campa

Meal prepping can be time-consuming and expensive if it is not planned well, but if done right, it can help you eat healthier, save you cooking time during the week and help you stay on a budget.

With a busy schedule it can be very easy to give into temptation and get something from the dollar menu on your way back from work. I have experimented with meal prepping for the last couple of months trying to find the best method for me because I am a full time student, I intern and I work, so meal prepping seemed like the best option for me if I wanted to eat healthy and spend less time in the kitchen to focus on school work.

Everyone has different health needs, food preferences and schedules, but from by experience with trial and error in meal prepping, these are the ultimate tips I have come up with no matter your meal prep method.

The Essentials

If you don’t have much experience in the kitchen and don’t know what kitchenware you need, start with the basics for meal prepping. You’ll need baking sheets, basic cooking utensils, a fry pan, aluminum foil, Ziploc bags of different sizes, lots of Tupperware, measuring tools and at least one good knife.

The Oven is Your Best Friend

There are tons of easy recipes out there where you literally just toss all of your ingredients on a baking sheet and then place it in the oven. The benefits of baking instead of frying or sautéing are that its healthier and you can move on with your busy life at home while its ready. My favorite easy recipe is chopped sweet potatoes, cauliflowers and zucchini tossed on a baking sheet with chicken with a little bit of seasoning and extra virgin olive oil. (Don’t forget to set the timer!)

Stick to Your Grocery List

When you are out grocery shopping with your shopping list, try sticking to what is on that list. It might be tempting to peak into the chips isle, but remember your goal and your budget. The best tip to avoid this is to NEVER shop for groceries when you are hungry.

Use What You Learned in Grade School

Always measure your food. Not only will this help you divide your food evenly for a whole week, but you will learn what foods to buy more or less of on your next shopping trip. This is extremely helpful when you are trying to stick to a healthier diet.

Plan Ahead

Do as much planning as you need on a Sunday or Monday. Ask yourself if you want the same breakfast all week or do you want to change it up? Is your goal to lose weight, simply eat healthy, and/or stick to a budget? According to this, you will be able to know when to meal prep, which types of ingredients to buy, and how complicated you want your recipes to be.

Keep it Simple

Your best bet is to stick to simple meal prepping when you’re first experimenting. Simple recipes means less ingredients and less stress! My biggest mistake when I first started meal prepping was buying way too much food. I did not use it all so it went bad after my first week of meals.

Keep Trying

Meal prepping takes discipline and trial and error to get it done, but it is a healthy lifestyle worth trying. You’ll be surprised of how much you will learn about your preferences in your personal diet by planning your meals.

Editing Note: This article did not filter through the normal EmpowHER editing and fact checking process. It was checked for spelling and grammar.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.