Taking the time to do some meal prep on the weekend can save you a lot of time and money, as well as giving you peace of mind that you’ll have something healthy to eat at work. It’s tempting to get takeaways for work lunches and snacks, but once we’ve shown you how to meal prep, you’ll never have to worry about not having something delicious to eat in the middle of a busy day. All these tips are perfect for dinner and family meal prep too!
The idea of meal prepping can be overwhelming if you’ve never done it before, but there are different ways to meal prep, and you don’t have to spend hours cooking every Sunday. Use our guide below to get started, and tweak it as you need to to better suit you and your lifestyle.
Find out which type of meal prep is best for you
For some people, spending the weekend cooking, packing and freezing a week’s worth of meals (or more) is what works and is the least stressful. Most of us can be pretty inconsistent about work snacks, so start there. Pack something delicious and nutritious for each day for the week and enjoy! If you find that works for you, and you can also be inconsistent about lunch, you can start prepping that too after you’ve had some practice. Whatever you choose, always cook up a few portions of a healthy meal that you absolutely love. That way, when you’re having a low day or just don’t want what you want to cook, you can lean on a favourite that’s ready and waiting.
Focus on ingredient prep
If you don’t have time to meal prep, ingredient prep can be the game-changer you’ve been waiting for. While full meal prep is great for saving time and ensuring you have solid healthy meals on hand at all times, it’s not for everyone. Maybe it’s not even about the time. Maybe you just want a bit more freedom to choose something you really want on any particular day.
Cook a week’s batch of one kind of ingredient. From there you can add to it day by day with something you’re feeling like, something that’s on special, something fresh or even just for something different every day. Here are some ideas:
- Chicken breasts, fish, legumes and tofu are all great protein options that can be cooked in advance and added to wraps, salads, sandwiches or pasta on the day.
- Chop and roast a big medley of veggies and either build a meal around them each day, or serve them on the side so you know you’re getting some quality fibre and nutrients, even if your main lunch wasn’t the most nutritious.
- Make a big batch of grains, like pasta, rice, barley or even some homemade bread. Dress it up with whatever protein and veggies you want or have one hand.
Go for leftovers
This is great if you’re organised and consistent at dinner time, but lunch is always a rush. Simply make extra of whatever you’re having for dinner, and pack up a portion for lunch the next day. This is especially great if you have a whole family’s lunches to prep for.