Here’s the much awaited meal prep breakdown of what my friend and I did in order to upkeep with the whole process. Understand that this was actually a pretty long process. Whoever thought that this would be easy, obviously didn’t have work, school, and a dozen of there things to do throughout the week. The most common pro tip of meal prepping is to plan everything in order to be prepared for the rest of the week. I’ll break it down further, because it was one heck of a plan.
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Find meal prep containers. We searched online on Amazon and purchased these awesome three compartment containers. Link can be found here.
Search up recipes. Find your outlet, be it on Pinterest, other websites, cookbooks etc. Find recipes you’re comfortable with starting off with, and go from there!
Set up a date for when you want to start. This is important because then it helps your prepare for everything beforehand.
Create a budget for how much you would like to spend. Having a budget ensures that you cultivate your ingredients/meals accordingly. Helps you save money over time as well!
Have a buddy with you! It’s always fun to have someone join along with you and your journey of meal prepping! Plus, it motivates you more to continue as well. (This is Milo, my friend Mary’s dog ahaha)
Things to consider before starting Meal Preps:
- How willing are you to keep up with the routine? It’ll take time. It won’t be an overnight though process, where you think of what to cook and then voila, you’re all set. You need to do your research, know when you’re available, your limitations…are you even that good of a cook? People fail to think about their willingness, which puts people far back from their goal point of having a successful meal prep plan!
- How long do you want to start off? It’s important to note this, because then you’ll know at least how long you’re willing to plan for your meal preps. Sometimes it’s better to start off for one or two weeks at a time to start off before you actually go full throttle with a proper meal plan.
- What day of the week are you willing to spend time to meal prep? You need one day of the week to cook your meals for however long you plan to have your meals for; and one day to do your groceries. Clear your schedules out for those chosen days, because it will help you out big time.
- The first meal prep will take you much longer than you expected. Ours ended up being done in four hours for cooking the meals we needed, however note that it was for two people and not just singular. Also note, we are not experts, so obviously it did take time.
- Choose recipes that are easy for you, and not bland. You need flavour, and you need something easy to make. It not rocket science, choose something you’re comfortable. Make sure to include some new recipes you’ve never tried too! It makes the whole process worthwhile.
- Get proper containers for your meal prep. I don’t mean to say buy expensive containers, but choose ones that are at least all the same size and easy to store and clean. It helps to have the portions all the same, and to keep things properly stored.
- Don’t restrict yourself! It’s better to cut back and choose a healthier variety, rather than limiting yourself to only eating clean. It will help with your cravings and will help with motivating you to continue with eating your meals!
Tips for your grocery list:
- Always make a list of what you plan on buying! This is to avoid any other tempting buys when you go grocery shopping. Also check your local flyers for deals as well, and don’t be afraid to stock up if your budget allows you to do so.
- Be reasonable and spend a little more money in the beginning. If you spend more in the beginning (within your limits), it’ll be easy to spend less later on.
- Consider what’s on sale. For example, if chicken was on sale, you can use that as a key ingredient to base your meal prep on. You’ll save money, and makes it easier to find a recipe for your prep.
Those were all the things we considered before going forth with our plans of meal prep! Now here’s a few set backs that definitely took a toll on our plans.
- We failed to consider how long our ‘protein’ was going to cook for. Our protein included: chicken, salmon, and any other meats we used. The protein took the longest to cook. Therefore, it took us longer to get the food ready and placed in their containers.
- We failed to multitask on the foods that were going to cook. For example, we should have done some of the prepping the night before, or cook on the stove top while things were cooking in the oven etc.
- We failed to properly store our food the first time. We live with our families, this means that we don’t own the whole fridge…we needed to make sure there was room for all ten meals we had!
- We failed on properly obtain enough food to portion out for the both of us. The first week we definitely ran out of food…and spent more than the budget (Note that we still spent less than what we would have during the week).
How did we order orient our meals?
We started off with three categories: (1) Protein; (2) Grain; (3) Fruits and vegetables. I started making a list of what we could purchase in each category. From there, we both searched up recipes that had those as the main ingredient. It’s a really basic set up, but it helped a lot when we were searching up meal recipes to cook!
What motivated us to meal prep?
We just wanted a change. I for one, didn’t want to waste any of my time during the week, thinking of what to buy to eat or make. This made things much easier, plus it motivated us to go to the gym more as well. Taking photos and blogging about the process also motivated me more to show you all as well!
What if I’m staying late at school or work?
I would definitely suggest in purchasing come cold packs to keep your food cold, or to make a meal prep meal that required no heating for at least one of the meals so that it doesn’t spoil! You don’t want bacteria to grow, or to get an upset stomach for leaving your food out for too long.
Why do you have ten meals, when you only should have five for the week?
We decided on doing ten meals because that would include our lunches and dinners. It made it easier for us to just have the two meal prepped meals for the day so we wouldn’t have to worry for those meals. We didn’t want to just have five meals, and have one for each day because we would then have to worry about the other meal to eat.
Do you guys have snacks as well?
Of course we do! Trying to be healthy…so we have at least one fruit. Our choice? Apples. Honestly, your snack can be anything you want! If you want to keep healthy, do choose a healthy variety.
How much did you spend in the beginning, and how much do you spend now for you groceries?
At first we spent a total of $100.00, which ended up being $50.00 each, and equalling to $5.00 per meal. That was for our first week, which included our two protein choices of chicken and salmon. Your protein choice will definitely add a few extra dollars to your budgeted amount spent. Note that there are protein options that are not meat related that are always good to use, such as beans. It’s completely up to you though! Research is key for that. As for currently, we spent a total of $45.00 the last time we meal prepped. This ended up being only $22.50 per person, which also means that for our ten meals it cost us only 2.25 to make!
My reflection so far:
I found that having a buddy system worked the best for my friend and myself. We were able to motivate each other and make sure we stuck to our meal preps. Plus, it saved us a lot of time during the week once we got into a routine of meal prepping and grocery shopping. The beginning process took much longer than expected. I was hoping to finish cooking in about two hours..it ended up being more than four hours. Then again, it was trial and error since it was our first time doing so. Once we got a system going, it took us less time to cook the food. Plus we were getting used to the process, which made it easier for us to prepare.
So far, we’ve done this for two months. I’ll be posting up the recipes we’ve used soon! A lot of the recipes were created spontaneously. Some were inspired by Pinterest posts! Be sure to check on my blog for when those recipes are posted 🙂