Updated: Oct 18, 2020
You know meal-prepping will save you time (and money) in the long-run, but you just can't get yourself to spend any more time in the kitchen than you already do. I completely understand, and it takes time to find the hacks that work best for your unique schedule and lifestyle. Today, I'm sharing five tips to get your meal-prepping as efficient as possible so that you don't have to stress about not having enough time.
1. Build your meals around your main dish
Try switching it up so that you don't feel like you're eating the same thing every day and build the rest of the meal to complement your main dish. For example, you can make chicken or tofu with steamed veggies and brown rice for one meal-prep batch and teriyaki salmon or tempeh bowls for another. This will make the thought process behind meal-prepping go a lot quicker while using most of the same ingredients.
2. Instead of meal-prepping, try ingredient-prepping
Sometimes, packaging ready-to-go meals a week in advance can leave your food looking soggy and a bit unappetizing. Plus, you might change your mind as to which ingredients you want to eat with what. Instead of creating an entire meal, prepare the individual components. Pre-wash and chop different vegetables, cook a batch of brown rice or quinoa, and wash and portion your fruits. Then, you can mix up the meals and season them with whatever you're in the mood for. The washing, cutting, and cooking take the longest when you meal-prep, so if you do that all in one go, the rest of the week should be smooth sailing.
3. Always make enough for leftovers
Nobody wants to spend more time in the kitchen than they have to, but we all have to eat. If you're already cooking, double the portion sizes so that you can have some leftover for another meal or two. If your dinner doesn't seem like a convenient meal for packaging and food-prepping, then double-up the individual ingredients. For example, if you're making rice, make double, eat half for your dinner and store the other half of it away for your meal prep. If you're already chopping up some sweet potato to roast in the oven, add a few extra. This will save you a lot of time.
4. Switch up your sauces and dressings
This is the best tip for preventing your meal-prep from becoming boring and bland. If you've followed tip #2, you should have your ingredients all ready and prepared to go. The ingredients should be unseasoned unless you have to marinate in advance. On the day of, you can quickly add whatever dressing or seasoning you want. You should also prepare your sauces and dressings in advance so that you don't have to throw on some store-bought condiments that usually contain a lot of artificial preservatives and sugar. Homemade hummus has a long shelf-life and is so versatile. You can also make a massive jar of different salad dressings or even pasta sauces, which should last you the whole week.