Meal prepping has been one popular trend that’s here to stay!
If you've got kiddos about to start school and trying to figure out how to juggle virtual school and work or just trying to find more time in the day, meal prepping is the way to go. It'll make cooking a breeze after a long day!
Ready to make your life a bit easier by meal prepping? Don’t worry, we got you covered! Keep reading to learn all you need to know for a successful meal prep week - the best ingredients to use, how to create a great grocery list, and how to properly store your meals.
TYPES OF MEAL PREP
Did you know that not all meal prep is created equal? There are two ways to meal prep. One, you can make a large batch of one meal and have it 4-5 times throughout the week. The downside is, if you like variation it’s easy to lose interest in your meals and get off track after day 3. The second option is much more flexible: prep basic ingredients that you can later assemble in different types of meals. For example, prepare a carb, protein, and greens. You can roast sweet potatoes, grill chicken, and wash and cut your vegetables at the beginning of the week. You’ll then have all the necessary ingredients to make a myriad of meals throughout the week. You can easily throw together a salad, a healthy wrap, or even a quick pasta dish! Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what kind of meal prep you prefer.
Grocery shopping is the most important step in meal prep. You want to make sure you know what ingredients you’ll need for your meal ahead of time and the right quantities to make sure you don't over shop. The last thing you want is for food to go bad. It's not only a waste of food but a waste of money too. To make grocery shopping less daunting, make a list, and stick to it. We don’t mean your regular old grocery list that includes random ingredients you’re craving. Instead, sit down and plan out what your meals are going to look like throughout the week. Categorize your meals by breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Think of two to three varieties of each that utilize your meal prep ingredients. If you need a little help coming up with ideas, take a look at this article with sample shopping lists from The Real Food Dieticians.
Knowing how to store your ingredients for maximum freshness will help you make the most out of your meals and budget. For most items, you can store them in a plastic or glass container; however, glass might be the better option. Glass is safer to reheat food in, is more environmentally friendly, and doesn’t trap in orders like plastic can.
Another way to maximize your ingredients is to store fruit and vegetables properly. Below are a few rules of thumb for storing your produce.
Store In A Cool Dry Place
- Bananas, tomatoes, potatoes, mushrooms, and eggplant should all be stored somewhere cool and dry
Store At Room Temperature
- Tomatoes and whole melons can be stored at room temperature
- Garlic and onions should be stored in a well-ventilated place
- If you’ve got mangoes, plums, peaches, or pears that aren’t quite ripe, you can store them in a brown paper bag at room temperature and then transfer to the fridge
Store In The Fridge
- It’s best to utilize your crisper drawer for maximum freshness
- Apples and carrots will stay fresher longer in the fridge
- Asparagus store in a moist paper towel or upright in a glass of cold water
- Grapes and berries can be stored in plastic bags but make sure you poke a few tiny holes in the bag to release moisture
- Lettuce should be washed, dried, wrapped in paper towels, and stored in a clean plastic bag or sealed container
MEAL PREP FRIENDLY INGREDIENTS
In addition to storing your food for maximizing freshness, you should know which ingredients will hold up longer than others. For example, quinoa is a great plant-based protein that can be added to salads or served alongside dinner. It’s easy to prepare over the stovetop and can last up to 5 to 7 days. Other ingredients that last include canned ingredients like beans or tuna. Peanut butter or any other nut butter is a great source of protein and nutrient-dense food that lasts a while in your cupboard or refrigerator. And don’t be afraid of frozen vegetables! They’re the best way to add a serving of your daily veggies in a pinch.
Lastly, have fun trying new recipes! If you want to get creative and include KABAKI Purple Tea in your next meal prep, check out our Summer Iced Tea Recipes blog for some fun recipes like purple tea marinade and salad dressing.
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