The concept of meal prepping may come naturally to some of us but may take a bit more time to turn into a habit for others. Whatever your experience is with meal prepping, what remains true is that it’s beneficial to your health, time, and budget.
Contrary to some beliefs, meal prepping is far from being monotonous or being a huge time investment. In my view, building a meal prep habit is all about flavor and efficiency. If you learn how to hack it, meal prep can save you tons of time and money in the long run.
Just like building any other habit, we need to make meal prep enjoyable to make it sustainable. And to make it sustainable, we need to make it simpler. We make it simpler by removing resistance or things that prevent us from doing it. The goal here is to get excited about the food we make while making the process easy and affordable!
How to Meal Prep Efficiently?
I’ve been doing plant-based meal prep for over 5 years. In all honesty, it wasn’t easy at first, but it’s now second nature. Here are the main things that helped me turn meal prep into a habit. I hope you’ll find them useful too.
1. Make it Tasty & Enjoyable
*Use plenty of spices and enough salt: Make well-seasoned meals using a mix of spices and salt to create depth in flavor. Make spices and lime juice your main allies to make amazingly tasty meals that don’t rely solely on salt. Also, adding spices to your meals increases the nutritional value!
*Use healthy fats: Monounsaturated fat adds texture and flavor to your food. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to roast vegetables, make crispy tofu, or create delicious sauces. Adding healthy fats like olive oil, walnuts, or avocados to your meals can improve your blood cholesterol level and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease.
*Variety: There are many ways to meal prep, but my rule of thumb is to make at least 3 different foods that create a balanced meal and can also be combined in different ways. If you’re worried about monotony, this is the one trick you need.
2. Make it Quick
*Multitask in the kitchen: Chop while water is boiling, start by preheating the oven, and use the stove while food is roasting in the oven. Make the best use of your time in every step of the way! I usually spend less than two hours making vegan meals for the week.
*There’s no such thing as “too many cooks in the kitchen”: If space allows, get some help! You can save tons of time if you have a roommate, partner, or friend helping out.
*Increase in temperature: One of my favorite ways to reduce cooking time is to increase the heat. Turn the oven to 400 F instead of 350 F!
3. Make it Affordable
*Buy in bulk: Buying food in bulk is usually cheaper, especially on expensive foods like nuts and seeds.
Use canned legumes and vegetables: Look for low sodium brands and rinse the contents to reduce excess sodium. There’s nothing wrong with using canned foods. They still provide nutrition and flavor!
*Buy seasonal foods: They will be more affordable and taste much better!
*Affordable meals: On average, the recipes on this site are about $10 for 5 servings. This means that each meal is about $2.00! That’s a lot of money back in your pocket when you compare it to the cost of eating out.
4. Make it Last
*Use airtight containers: They’re great for keeping meals fresh and for packing individually portioned meals. It helps to visually divide each type of food when packing up lunch into each container.
Now, going back to making meal prep a habit. Think about the immediate benefits that meal prepping can bring into your life.
If you’re frustrated with how much money you spend eating out...
If you need to save money on food...
If you’re determined to eat healthy foods...
If you want full control over the ingredients in your meals...
If you want to build your cooking skills…
If you want to feel healthier and more energized…
If you need to save time in the kitchen…
If you want to reduce food waste…
If you want to control your food portions...
If any of these apply to you, then you need to give vegan meal prep a try. Keep these tips in mind during the process, and you’ll never drag meal prep again!
In the interest of time, I’ve shared my main tips here, but more can be found in the free introductory Healthy Eating & Cooking Guide. You’ll find everything from food storage tips to saving money in the grocery store. Grab yours by signing up for the HB Newsletter here!
I’d love to hear, what do you do to make meal prep more enjoyable? Share in the comments below!