If I were to list the great insights of my life, I seriously think this practice would make the top twenty.
Doing this one thing simplifies my life, makes it easier to eat healthy foods, and it saves me a lot of time and money.
Meal prepping (also sometimes called batch cooking) is the act of making a bunch of meals at one time so they are ready for you when you need them. You can take them to work with you and heat them in a microwave or have them at home when you’d otherwise grab snack food. It’s kind of like freezer dinners for frugal environmentalists. Here, I will help you get started.
You could get started with what you have at home. A pot and some Tupperware is really enough.
I recommend getting some glass Pyrex style Tupperware with lids. I prefer the 4 cup sized ones, but I make do with the other sizes that came from sets I’ve bought. You probably won’t need more than five. These might seem costlier when compared to plastic, but they are worth it. They’ll last longer, be safer for you than plastic, and can travel from freezer, refrigerator, lunchbox, microwave, oven, and table without doing much more than taking on and off the lid.
(Caution: the glass will get hot coming out of a microwave or oven, I’d include an oven mitt with your lunch box, but then you can forgo the extra serving dishes.)
I also love my combination rice cooker and steamer which allows me to batch cook very easily. The kind I have is stainless steel so that I can avoid the dangers of scratched Teflon.
How I Meal Prep
I currently only prep my lunches. I usually have the same lunch for about 4-5 days and then switch to another recipe. This simplifies grocery shopping and thought time.
If I prep more than 3 days worth of lunches, I like to freeze the remainder so that the contents remain safe. Then, I’ll pull from the freezer batches that I intend to eat, letting them thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Your mileage may vary depending on the food you like to eat and how it freezes, refrigerates, reheats and so on. I recommend looking up meal prepping and batch cooking on YouTube where you can gain inspiration and find recipes appealing to you.
My Favorite Meal Prep Recipe
Cheap & Easy “Buddha” Bowl
I have a combination rice cooker and steamer so I’ll put brown rice and water in the bottom portion and Asian style frozen veggies in the steamer. While that is cooking, I’ll cut my tofu into slices and bake them in the oven for 10 minutes at 350F. I flip once and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
After everything has cooked, I’ll dispense them into the Pyrex containers and a bowl (I’ll eat one batch for lunch on the spot).
I like to purchase Terriyaki or Korean Barbecue sauce, but you can make your own sauces too. I like to vary the sauces through the week as it keeps the meals more interesting. I’ll add the sauce to the containers while I allow them to cool. Once they cool, I put the covers on and store in the refrigerator or freezer.
Meal prepping is a practice that can save you a lot of time, energy, and money. It can be a tool for you to eat healthier and to lose weight. I find it simplifies my life and, if you haven’t already, I highly recommend that you give it a try!