You have to cook food either way, so why meal prep?
Put simply, meal prepping is a form of meal planning where you make a large amount of food, package it up into multiple individual portion sizes, then eat those pre-prepared meals over the course of a number of days.
For example, on Sunday night you'd make a large batch of chicken and rice in your Instant Pot as well as roast a pork tenderloin with sweet potatoes and asparagus in the oven. You'd then divide these two meals into even portions via tupperware, mason jars, etc., stick them in the fridge, and eat them throughout the week for lunch and dinner (typically alternating, but we don't judge those who double dip!). To switch flavors up, meal preppers oftentimes dress up their pre-portioned meals with different sauces and spices as well.
Meal prepping is a meal planning strategy popular with busy professionals, dieters, athletes, and time crunched parents alike. It has a number of immediate life-changing benefits for those who choose to give it a shot. These benefits include...
Save Time By Cooking Less
Once you start meal prepping and find yourself doing all your prep for the week at once, you'll notice that your days feel longer, more productive, and less cluttered. And who doesn't want that?
Not only will meal prep save you time because you'll be cooking less frequently, but meal prep recipes also tend to be less complicated than normal recipes (because the more complicated the recipe, the greater chance there is you'll find yourself getting bored of some aspect of it throughout the week). This means you may spend less time prepping a simple recipe for a week's worth of a meals than you would a complicated recipe that would only feed you for a night.
Save Money By Buying In Bulk
Meal prepping saves you time AND money. Because you're essentially just making one large meal, you can buy in bulk when grocery shopping. As any Costco or Sam's Club member will tell you (probably while trying to convince you to become a member via some referral program), buying in bulk is a great way to save money, make sure you don't forget about and waste food, and cut back on waste production in general. Pro tip: Buying frozen food in bulk and thawing as necessary is a great way to save even more money while meal prepping.
Eat Less Due To Portion Control
Meal prepping is great for weight loss and weight management because it prevents binge eating. What you see is what you get with meal prep — there's no supersizing your order and there are no "treat yo self" days where you double your cheese intake (sorry Parks and Recreation fans). Your meal is your meal. This allows you to monitor and manage calorie intake with ease.>
Eat Healthier By Avoiding Temptation
Eating healthy is much easier when you're meal prepping than when you're eating on the fly. This is because planning out your food schedule for the week ahead of time gives you extra will power when it comes to resisting the undoubtedly delicious temptations of everyday life. Free donuts in the break room? Loaded french fry food truck randomly posted up outside the office during your lunch break? Nope, you're good — you have a prepared meal waiting for you already.
Take Control Of Your Nutrient Intake
Meal prep makes managing macronutrients magnificently manageable (try saying that 5 times fast). Rather than painstakingly calculating macros for each meal, all you need to do while meal prepping is calculate once, then divide. If you love tracking macros but hate doing the math, meal prep is your new best friend!
Simplify Your Daily Routine
A major reason people elect to eat unhealthy fast food is the convenience factor. After a busy day in the office or out in the field, many people just want to get home, get off their feet, and plunk down on the couch — not stand on their feet and cook. Meal prepping means you'll have a delicious, healthy meal you can look forward to coming home to after a long day.
Convinced meal prepping is for you?
Here's a beginners guide for the tools you'll need to start:
Because of the large size of the meals you make while meal prepping, there will be a lot of chopping, slicing, dicing, mincing, and julienning involved. That's why a quality chef knife, like Made In's 8 Inch Chef Knife, is a meal prep essential.
Large Stock Pot
One popular meal prep hack is to make a large pot of soup or chili to chow on throughout the week because they're comforting, hearty, and healthy. To do this, you'll need a large stock pot like Made In's 8 QT Stock Pot.
Non Stick Frying Pan
Meal prepping breakfasts? Then you only need one pan! Fry up your bacon, sausage, seitan, etc. then cook your eggs in the proteiny oil that remains. For a non stick pan that outlasts all the others, go with Made In's Non Stick Frying Pans.
The wok is arguably the greatest meal prep tool in existence. Not only can it whip up large batch stir-fry meals quickly, but it's also a braiser, steamer, and expert food reheater. For superior sears, quicker cook times, and maximum durability, opt for our award-winning Blue Carbon Steel Wok.
Meal prepping isn't for everyone (especially not people who find they need to be constantly trying new foods), but it works for many people and it could work for you! Send your meal prep photos to us on Instagram @madein to be featured and tagged!