Meal prep used to make me roll my eyes. The idea of being prepared for an entire week of meals was overwhelming. It could have just been me but people who raved about their meal prepping skills got on my nerves. It just felt like they were showing off. Lol.
But things are different now. I am a plant-based advocate who believes in the power of prepping! After watching hours of YouTube and TikTok videos, I became inspired. I realized that I didn’t have to meal prep for every meal. It was easier to decide which meal would save me time and money.
I decided to give it a try for lunch. The truth is, racing around the office trying to figure out what to eat every day is a drag. It feels good to open my lunch bag to find a wonderfully prepped meal that is filled with nutrients and tastes great.
How to Get Ready to Meal Prep
Write it Down
It seems a little old school but a pencil and paper are a must when it comes to meal prep. It helps to write down what you think you would like to eat. Writing down your menu will help you better understand what you already have and what you need to pick up at the store.
Shop in Bulk
You can save money when you meal prep. That’s because you can buy pantry items like rice and beans in bulk. That allows you to cook as much as you need. Those little microwaveable bowls of rice look cute but the bag of rice is actually cheaper.
Skip the Pre-Sliced and Pre-Diced
Don’t be tempted by the fruits and vegetables that have been cut and packaged for you. An apple will always be cheaper than a bag of apple slices. You don’t need a container of cubed butternut squash. You can buy one and slice into cubes yourself.
Make It Fun
Now that you have your menu and you have saved money in the market, it’s time to meal prep. Turn on some music or your favorite tv show. If you are cooking proteins, cook them first. Cook your grains while you slice and chop your fruits and veggies.
Six Mistakes to Avoid
Don’t use cheap containers
Be thoughtful about the containers you choose for meal prep. Glass is perfect especially if you are using a microwave. I personally love the Brilliant Collection by Rubbermaid. They come in glass and plastic versions.
Prepping for Too Many Days
Be honest. You may be interested in doing this for 2 or 3 days. Five days might be a stretch at the beginning. Give it a try and see how it goes.
Don’t buy too much food
Sometimes our eyes are literally bigger than our stomach. When it comes to meal prep, don’t buy too many perishable items. Don’t you hate when fruits and veggies spoil before you can use them?
Don’t bore yourself
Please don’t make 5 containers of beans and rice for a 5 days of boredom. Explore new foods and flavors. Who wants to eat the same things five days in a row? No one.
Don’t leave your culture behind
So many people tell me that their meal prep foods are bland. So why do we leave behind the jerk spice, the sofrito or the cumin? Make meals that you enjoy and you might find that you enjoy the meal prep process as well.
Don’t forget the snacks
Yes! Meal prep is a good idea. A sweet treat or a snack is also a good idea. Keeping it healthy? Sure, go ahead and add some sliced fruit. Candied nuts or a piece of chocolate make for a nice treat. Home made potato chips work too.
LA is a plant-based advocate who is having a good time showing off her plant-based meals to her family and friends. Shop with her on Amazon and follow on Instagram @blackgirlseat. Check out the latest issue of the Recipes & Random-Ish Newsletter. Sign up below to stay connected.