Meal prep: plan your healthy meals for the week
Every afternoon a concern arises: what do we eat today? What do I take to the office tomorrow?... I'm so tired, work, the children, the house and also getting to plan and cook the family menu. If this is your case, you have to know what meal prep is and how it can help you.
Fortunately, this movement arose, with its own philosophy that is based on two basic ideas: 1) maintain a balanced and healthy diet, even when eating in the canteen at work; and 2) organize ourselves to avoid the world of fast food temptations.
Do not let laziness win you over and fall into the temptation of fast, processed, fatty and sweet food. Learn how to achieve your body goal through perfectly structured planning, design, nutrition, health and lifestyle.
What is Meal Prep?
The Meal Prep or Meal Prepping is a current that was born in the United States and is translated into Spanish as meal preparation. It refers to planning and preparing in advance healthy and balanced menus with the necessary macro and micronutrients, for the whole family.
It is done weekly so you don't have to cook daily, which saves you time, effort and money, while you gain health and more quality moments with family, friends or your favorite activity.
Many people do it to facilitate their weight loss, regain vitality or because they are athletes looking for a fit lifestyle. It is the best solution to eat healthy and homemade without having to cook every day, optimizing the little free time.
Phases of Meal Prep
Incorporating Meal Prep into your daily routine gives you the rewarding feeling of having everything under control and organized; In addition, you can involve the family so that they help and enjoy together the pleasure of preparing healthy, delicious and nutritious homemade food.
It also contributes to everyone at home eating together at the table and not each one by their side in front of the television or computer.
Know its advantages
There are many advantages to this planned method of preparing healthy and balanced meals:
How to plan, step by step
Planning a weekly menu means thinking about what to eat and writing in a chart, notebook or diary, all the meals you are going to eat for a week. That way, you can have control over your diet, making it healthy and with fresh ingredients.
This methodology gives you the option of reheating the meals or, if you prefer, eating them freshly made. You can leave everything organized so that daily preparation is simple, agile and fast.
Throughout this process we must be clear about the following expressions:
You can make your own menu template or download one online, where there are varieties to choose from.
The following steps will help you get started in meal prep:
- Calculate how many meals you need to prepare
Here you need to answer these questions: how many daily meals do you need to organize? For how many people? How many breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners will you need during the week?
- Plan balanced dishes
To achieve balanced dishes without major complications, a good idea is to follow the 1+1+1 rule: 1 protein (turkey, chicken, fish, egg, legumes) +1 carbohydrates (rice, bread, pasta, quinoa) + 1 vegetables ( spinach, green beans, kale, peas, tomatoes, lettuce, carrot). For example, a grilled turkey breast, broccoli and steamed potatoes.
- Make dishes as simple as possible
Avoid recipes that require too many ingredients or are complicated to prepare.
- Choose easy cooking methods
It is best to use the oven or a slow cooker. It is easier to cook large amounts of food with these two methods.
- Prepare the shopping list
When meals are planned, the shopping list must be made before going to the store. It is recommended to make a single purchase a week, preferably Saturday or Sunday, to apply the meal prepping session, before the week begins.
- Store food safely
You must pay attention to the cold chain and avoid breaking it. Don't freeze and thaw food more than once, avoid thawing it outside the fridge (they should be done inside it), and keep track of the amount of time it's been in the fridge. For example, cooked meat can be safely stored for 3-4 days in the refrigerator, but it is better to freeze it afterwards. Try to make portions as tight as possible to what you are going to eat.
- Choose the best containers to organize and store food
Make sure they are of quality, that they close and seal well. If they are made of plastic, you must verify that they are free of bisphenol A (BPA free). An important issue is that the containers in which you store the food are of the ideal size, the closest to the portion you need. This way you will prevent the food from moving a lot inside the container and that everything ends up mixed.
Invest in a good set of containers, better glass than plastic, transparent so you know exactly what they contain.
- unleash creativity
Eating the same food every night doesn't have to be boring. If you cook a whole chicken every week, you can shred it and make different recipes: salads, fajitas, etc. Also, if you use different types of sauces or seasonings, you can make a lot of different dishes.
APP to organize your weekly menus
On the internet there are various applications to organize the weekly menus, both for Android and iOS. Some are supported by a web version. I refer you some:
Since you know the meal preap, go ahead and prepare it. You will see how it makes your life easier and helps you reach your goal faster.