Meal prep is often something that people either do religiously, or they’ll try it once and never do it again. The concept of meal prepping is quite appealing. You have your meals ready each day so you only need to spend a single day cooking and it saves you money on dining out. What’s more, it encourages you to eat better because what you eat is what you see in front of you. So, why is it so difficult for people to stick to it?
Why can’t we Stick to our Meal Prep?
I personally think it’s a mixture of things. The first is that eating the same meal for 5-7 days in a row can get boring very quickly. On Monday, you’re super excited to eat this nourishing delight that you prepared the night before! By Friday, however, you’re bored and need something greasy to cheer up your afternoon. The final reason is simple forgetfulness.
So, How can I Change my Habits?
If you want to be a meal-prep pro, but are struggling where to begin, then I hope this guide will help you. You may think that cooking ahead of time will take up your entire weekend, but different meals require different efforts. I used to think I could never get into the habit of meal prep, but now, I can’t live any other way!
First thing’s First… Tupperware
I’m going to tell you something I should have told myself years ago: You need to invest in high-quality tupperware. Until about a month ago, I was stuck on a frustrating cycle of replacing cheap tubs and lids because they would snap far too easily. Talk about wasteful!
Now, I have this wonderful tupperware set from Lock & Lock that is not only durable, but is made from recycled plastic! As much as I love the efforts to create less waste, I’m often torn by the thought of buying things new, simply because they’re sustainable. With companies like Lock & Lock reusing materials that already exist, it takes the journey for sustainability one step further. They even come in eco-friendly packaging!
What’s more, these products are built to last. The four-latch lids ensure that all food is tightly sealed, meaning no leaks or spills on the way to work. They are also thick and strong, so you know they won’t break after a week of use.
Meal Prep: Make it Easy
There are so many recipes out there that are designed for meal prep, but I personally don’t think they help people get into a habit. Instead, I found the best way to get into the habit is to find the easiest meals possible.
For some, this could mean a slow cooker recipe that can be quickly divided into tubs for the week. For me, I prefer recipes that use as little ingredients as possible and make enough to last me the week. I highly recommend So Vegan in 5 as it’s designed for savvy shoppers like me who don’t have a lot of kitchen patience! Some of my own recipes are also designed to have as little ingredients as possible, and many of them I use for meal prep.
Sandwiches and Toasties
One thing I have seen online, mostly in supermarket saving groups, is the idea of freezing sandwiches. Now, I haven’t tried this, but I can’t imagine they will taste the same. What I have done, however, is prepped food for toasting. If your office has a grill or panini press, I recommend doing this. I can make a month’s worth of bagels and paninis in one evening that can be taken out the freezer each morning as I leave for work.
This may seem tricky if you don’t wish to waste packaging, but it’s quite the opposite. I like to make sure I have plenty of healthy snacks throughout the day, so I will simply top my bag up with some fruit on my way out. Having plenty of flavour choices should help to reduce your carb-filled cravings at bay, but sometimes it helps to mix berries with some dark chocolate chips for that extra bit of sweetness!
If you’re like me, you may prefer to wait until you’re at the office before you eat anything. This can make it far too tempting to grab breakfast on the go. Instead, have cereal and milk waiting for you each week. The only time you’ll need to hit the shop is to top up your cupboard!
However, I like to switch it up a bit. So, one week I’ll have cereal, the next it’ll be a granola and fruit combo. This is something I will prep the night before, but it’s a simple case of putting frozen fruit, granola and vegan yoghurt in a tub. It’s a 1-minute job, so no effort on my part.
I remember when I would unknowingly spend £80 a month in coffee shops. I can’t help it, I’m obsessed! Now, not everyone is going to be as fortunate, but I was gifted with a small, barista style coffee machine back in October. This has helped me get into the habit of making a fresh coffee in the morning if I really want one. I have a beautiful flask from Global Wake Cup that I now carry everywhere with me. If I don’t make a coffee on the go, I’ll simply wait until I get to work.
- Invest in durable Tupperware to make it worthwhile
- Find easy recipes with little ingredients
- Freeze sandwiches, paninis and bagels to toast later
- Stock up on healthy snacks to simply grab on the go
- Breakfast: Have ready and waiting at work (cereals, fruit, yoghurt, etc)
And that’s it!
I hope this guide helps you get into the habit of sticking to a routine. With brands like Lock & Lock making meal prep food stay fresh, making meals ahead of time has never been easier! If you have any tips of your own, let me know in the comments!