Meal prep is one method that you can use to help achieve your desired goals of weight loss or muscle gain. The trick is to keep it simple, find a method that works for you and which you can stick to consistently.
There are a few different ways to carry out meal prep. Here are some methods that we have tried and found most useful:
1. Batch and bulk cook.
Prepare all meals for the week on one or two set days per week. Plan all your meals in advance and set aside an hour on each of the two days to bulk cook and store in the fridge. For example, do a large meal prep on Sunday to cover all meals until Wednesday, and a smaller meal prep on Wednesday to cover Thursday to Saturday.
Allow yourself enough time to get the food cooked before refrigerating or tubbing it up. It’s a nightmare when you cook a batch at 8pm then have to wait till 10pm before it’s cool enough to put it in the fridge.
If you plan to freeze batches of food, make sure to split them up and bag them in portions so you can take out one or two at a time rather than defrosting a large batch.
NOTE: Make sure you're only reheating pre-cooked food once!
Pros - Meals are ready each day to grab and go.
Cons - Less flexible if environment changes or a craving kicks in.
2. Cook the evening before for the following day.
Whilst cooking dinner, simultaneously prepare meals for the following day OR cook a larger portion of dinner for lunch the following day.
Pros - Meals are fresher than bulk cooking and already inputted in My Fitness Pal
(MFP) so that you know the breakdown of macronutrients (carbs / fats / proteins).
Cons - Slightly more time consuming as prep is required each night.
3. Prepare in the morning.
Utilise time in the morning to prepare and cook meals for the day.
Pros - Food is at its freshest.
Cons - Time constraints in the morning are greater for some people.