If we’re totally honest, we have to admit that meal prepping is not exactly a hands-off, no brainer activity. It takes a lot of time and a lot of planning, but trust us, it is most certainly worth it. With a little forethought and a few hours on a Sunday, you can change your habits for the better.
You’ll no longer need to go out for every meal because you’re too busy to cook. You won’t be throwing away money on food that doesn’t taste half as good as what you could make at home. And you’ll be able to eat the healthiest, most nourishing foods whenever you like and exactly how you like.
Even if you’re on board to meal prep, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. Where the heck do you start?! There really is no wrong way to meal prep, but it can be helpful to keep some things in mind before you get going.
Here at the CPJ, we like to champion seasonality in cooking. If you’re going to cook at home, you want things to taste as delicious as what you’d eat at a restaurant, so opting for the freshest, most seasonal produce is a great way to ensure things taste incredible. Now that it’s autumn and we’re in full nesting mode, we are heading out to the markets to pick up squash – think delicata, acorn, kabocha and a zillion other types – sprouts, apples, pears, figs and sweet potatoes. Check out one of the lovely weekly markets here in Amsterdam or Organic Food for You for a great selection of the freshest stuff.
Another important thing to consider is what you already have at home. After all, one of the best benefits of meal prepping is how much money you’ll save, so it’s ideal to find out what you can use up before it goes bad. Cobbling together meals from leftovers or that hulking celeriac taking up room in your fridge will force you to be creative and try new things in addition to cutting down on food waste. It’s a win-win!
If you’re on the meal prep train, it’s highly likely that you’re not just planning to set yourself up for weekly dinners. You probably would also like to be prepared for healthy, filling breakfasts and lunches. Since many of us work outside of the home (and often eat our breakfasts or lunches at our desks), it is essential to consider how it will transport to or from work. This also translates to how well something will hold up in the fridge for 4-5 days without getting wilted, rancid or going soggy. Luckily, plant-based foods are actually the best as they don’t go bad as quickly.
And finally, the most important thing we want to urge you to think about is what you want! What you’ve been craving! Keep a list, whether physical or on your phone, of the recipes you see that inspire you and set you drooling. That way, when it comes time to plan your cooking and head out for your weekly shop, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to nutritious and tasty recipes to pad out your usual staples.
Whatever you choose to meal prep be it hearty daal or a fresh shaved fennel salad, you’ll be happier and healthier for making this small change. If you take the time to plan and prep and the time to really care for yourself, you’ll never look back. We promise!