I absolutely swear by preparing my food in advance. In fact, I absolutely have to. I’ve dealt with weight issues and overeating issues my whole life, so my default is to binge on convenience food. This used to involve sandwiches everyday for lunch, with lots of butter, a bag of crisps, usually some chocolate, then microwave food in the evenings, or a takeaway.
Since I’ve had my lunches prepared in advanced, i’m eating a LOT better and that’s because if it’s already there and i’ve made the effort to prep it, i’m more inclined to eat it. Not to mention it’s much better for you, and aids weight loss massively.
I’ve compiled some tips for food prep beginners that should help:
It’s important to set aside some time to food prep, so you can commit to it. My routine is usually food prepping on a Sunday afternoon. It usually takes about an hour to two hours depending on what i’m making and then i’m set for every day of the upcoming week.
When prepping for the week ahead, you’ll need plenty of storage. The good news is that these are really cheap! I would recommend Pound World, they are 5 for £1 in there. They microwave fine and are surprisingly strong considering how cheap they are – They do the job, and it’s not worth paying any more for ‘good’ containers when you can get throwaways for 20p each.
It’s perfectly fine to freeze! I freeze everything. I’ll cook a week’s worth of food on a Sunday and it will all go into the freezer in my containers. I usually take my meal for the following day at work out the night before and place it in the fridge. The next morning I take it to work semi-frozen and it goes into the fridge until lunch time. Come lunch time it’s mostly defrosted and microwaves perfectly fine. I’ve never gotten sick or had the food taste bad – it’s frozen fresh, and so if defrosted, cooked and eaten in the same day it tastes fresh. This counts for rice, potatoes, meat, etc.
I would give this advice to anybody – Don’t buy your meat for food prepping from the supermarket. Why? Supermarket meat is expensive for the quantity, it’s filled with water which means it shrinks when you cook it and you get very little for your money considering how much you may need to use for a week. I absolutely swear by my local butchers, it does 5kg of fresh chicken breast for £20, the breasts are much bigger, don’t shrink and can go a lot further. I’ll use about 1/3 of the 5kg for food prep and freeze the rest. Based on that calculation, I spend around £7 on chicken breast that covers me for an entire week lunches at work.
Frozen veg is the way forward – i’m sorry but it is. Even better, prepared mixed veg is the dream when it comes to prepping in advance. If you plan on mixing some veg with rice and meat for example, you may want a few different vegetables – why buy, cut, and prep it all separately when you can buy it all together frozen and it’s got the exact same nutritional value? I also sometimes purchase frozen rice/veg fusions. Saves SO much time and tastes great. Here’s some I would recommend:
Nobody wants bland chicken and rice.. you won’t enjoy it and you’ll soon get bored. Marinate your chicken! I’ve found the best way (and easiest because you don’t have to stand there and watch it) is flavouring bags such as ‘magi’. You place your raw chicken breast into the bags their provide, pour in the seasoning and bake in the oven. It produces juicy flavoursome chicken with absolutely minimum effort. Even after microwaving, the chicken remains tender. Choose a flavour that suits you, but here’s an example of some I use:
The most basic sort of food prepping is using the tips from above, and making a few blends of chicken breast, veg and rice. If chicken isn’t your thing, this works with other meats too. Cook a few different flavours, mix and match your veg so that there’s a few variations and you’re not eating the same thing everyday but it’s tasty, easy and really nutritional.
Something else I also do – I’ll cook a whole cottage pie, or a whole spag bol, as I usually would, but portion it up and freeze it. This might be even easier some weeks as you already have all of the bits in, or you fancy something a bit different. Again, it freezes fine. Some examples of meals I cook in full and portion and freeze:
- Spag Bol
- Cottage Pie
- Sausage Casserole
- Stir Fry and much more!
< Spag Bol & Cottage pie portions
I really hope these tips have helped. I’m a big chicken eater and not a huge lover of red meat, so it’s mostly written about chicken-based meals but don’t forget the same applies for other meats.