The Meal Prep Trend
Let’s talk about Meal Prep
Meal Prep seems to be the talk of town these days. And with good reason! The idea to spend about 1-2 hours per week preparing the meals for the coming days is simply ingenious.
It seems like that the idea swapped across the pond from the USA to Europe, but, honestly, I believe that the idea of precooking food has always been around in our corner as well.
So, what is the new thing about Meal Prep then? Nothing! But that doesn’t make the idea worth less. On the contrary – the more experience you have with Meal Prep the better it gets. Let me share my experience with you!
What’s the added value of Meal Prep?
There are advantages on various levels when you Meal Prep. Because you have a planned and detailed grocery list, your shopping becomes much more targeted. You save time and money. You optimize the usage of your groceries and will have a lot less left overs hanging out in your fridge.
You can also use the Meal Prep trend to start eating healthier or refine your healthy eating habits.
Let me tell you, the detailed preparation effort on one day of the week pays off greatly. You have less work during the coming days and you save time in the kitchen. For me as a passionate cook, there is little charm in the idea of quickly putting a meal together. However, let’s be real, almost nobody can dedicate enough time during the week to do some chilled Hygge style cooking. Just in case you are one of the lucky ones with enough time at your hand to leisure cook every day you can still use Meal Prep – think about tasty snacks!
Bottom line: Meal Prep saves work, time and money! I would even say that with enough experience it becomes really nerve saving!
Meal Prep is for whom?
I would say: Meal Prep makes plain sense for all them people! It does not matter if you cook for one person or more people in your household. You are single or with a big (multi-generation) family? You can always scale the amount needed and consider different preferences.
You usually come home late? You are really starving? Great, because the food you prepared is waiting for you in the fridge! The kids come home from school before you? No problem, they open the fridge, turn on the stove and voila! have a nice lunch on the table. In the best case, you will even get some of it as well!
Tastes are different in your family and you do not want to cook several dishes in advance? Awesome, because here the modular concept of Meal Prep pays off big time! Everybody in your family can combine food and cater to their individual taste buds.
How often do you need to Meal Prep in a week?
There is no strict rule – quite the opposite. You should enjoy Meal Prep, it should make your life easier and not create another layer of additional stress!
You do not need to Meal Prep every single day of the week! It can be quite inspiring to plan at the beginning of the week, make a small grocery list and voila! you most likely have not only eliminated doing your shopping hungry (with all its impulse purchases!) but also the tiresome question what to cook a few minutes before hungry kids storm home!
With Meal Prep you always have the choice. Does it suit you best to precook for one, two, or three days or do you want to do the entire week? Just lunch? Also snacks and dinner?
Be brave! You will get the hang of it once you get started. You are not doing this alone! I will constantly feed you with inspiration about Meal Prep here on the blog!
What do you need to pay attention to when Meal Prepping?
There are a few basic but important guidelines when it comes to Meal Prep!
- Always use very fresh groceries, especially when cooking with raw ingredients
- Use clean containers to store your meals
- Pay attention to a clean work place – use separate cutting boards for meat and fish
- At times it is important to cool down the meals, this will be marked in the recipes
- Trust your senses: What does not smell or taste good is not for consumption anymore. Same goes for mouldy food stuff.
How long can you store Meal Prep dishes?
On average about 3-4 days. Obviously, there is no guarantee and a lot depends on the freshness of the ingredients, the cleanness of the containers and a clean preparation of your food. Respect to the cooling chain is also important. You will find the estimated consumption time in my recipes.
What kind of equipment do you need for Meal Prep?
If your kitchen is already set up you won’t need anything new. Pay attention to sealable containers like screw top jars, bread boxes, glass containers or even the good old tupperbox from your grandmother – as long as it’s sealable it works!
The essential thing is that your storage container is easy to seal so that it becomes air-tight and leak-proof.
You can greatly upcycle here, milk bottles, marmalade jars, apple jam jars – all can be re-used!
Soon you will find my personal Meal Prep equipment here with all my favorite utensils.
How do you heat Meal Prep dishes?
You have several options. Microwave users know what to do (just be careful with stainless steel containers – unless you would like to see some fireworks put the food out of the container on a plate first). Stir the soups after a minute or two to ensure equal heating.
I do prefer the stove or oven, which is admittedly not as fast and easy. Here you sometimes need to add a tablespoon (or two) of water when heating your meal.
That is why I love to plan for fresh salads and dips – they stay crisp and do not need to be heated. In case just cold food is not that appreciated, add a warm food component to the salad – also a great way on your road to yumminess.