There are two basic elements to meal prepping: chopping vegetables and putting ingredients for meals into containers, and actually cooking some aspects of the meal and freezing them. You can do one or both of these options depending on how much time you think you will have. Some people simply do the prep work, such as getting all their veggies chopped up, rice measured, and snacks into portion baggies to be used during the week. Others actually cook the casseroles and chicken, and then freeze them so that dinner just involves popping them in the oven.
Containers to Use
When you are planning on prepping meals, you need to be careful with the types of containers you use. These containers are not just storing the ingredients and cooked food items, but meant to keep them fresh in the refrigerator or freezer for an extended period of time. You need to be careful what you choose to store items in and how they are stored. Here are some recommendations for food storage containers:
Choose containers with airtight lids.
Make sure that your containers keep the food fresh with airtight lids. If you intend to use Tupperware-type containers, try filling them with water, then turn them upside down and make sure no water leaks out. This is a good way to tell how fresh your food will be in the containers.
1. Try storing items in mason jars.
Mason jars are perfect for storing certain items and meals. For example, if you like to take salad to work, try putting each day’s salad in a separate container. Choose the wide-mouth containers and add the denser items at the bottom. The greens should always be at the top so they don’t get wilted or weighed down. Keep your salad dressing in a separate container.
2. Be careful with plastic storage items.
Plastic is fine to use, but you should know what type of plastic you are using. Make sure it is refrigerator, freezer, microwave, and dishwasher-safe first of all. Also check that the plastic containers don’t have any BPA, which can be dangerous when adding or cooking food in these containers.
3. Consider casserole dishes that work for baking and storage.
When you are actually cooking bigger meals ahead of time to just be reheated each evening, you want to use multi-purpose casserole dishes. Use glass dishes that you use for baking, but that can also be used for storing them in the freezer. Just make sure you leave them out in room temperature after cooking to cool down before freezing them, or they might crack.
Tips For Meal Prepping
As you get started with meal prepping, there are some other things you need to keep in mind. Follow these simple tips for prepping your meals after you are done with meal planning:
- Cook all your meat at once.
- Label every container so you know when to use it by.
- Note what prepping is being done for leftovers.
- Use ingredients that can be prepped for multiple meals.
- Get freezer bags together with ingredients that will go in the slow cooker.
Roast your vegetables beforehand.
To get vegetables ready for lunches and dinners throughout the week, spend one day roasting all the vegetables at one time. Choose vegetables with about the same cooking time, roast them together, then place in containers and freeze them.
Bake all of your meat, then freeze portions for each meal.
Decide what meat you want to use for multiple meals, then bake or cook it all at the same time. Do this in the oven or your slow cooker. Meat like chicken breasts, fish filets, and strips of steak work great for this.
Keep salad veggies and toppings in one container.
For your salads, you can make it faster to put them together by having all of the greens and vegetables together in containers. Keep all your greens in one big container, and all the chopped veggies, cheese, and other toppings in another container.
I refrigerate all of my prepared meals that I plan to consume in the next 1-2 days. Then I freeze all the other meals. The day before I plan to eat them, I simply move those items from the freezer to the refrigerator.
With these tips, you will be on your way to both meal planning and prepping. This is going to save you a lot of time, not to mention help you make healthier meals for your family.
TODAY’S ACTION STEPS:
1) Yesterday, today, and tomorrow are set aside for you to do some grocery shopping and meal preparation. Next week’s meal plan is the same as this week. So you may want to consider buying enough to cover 2 weeks worth of meals. (If you decided to try out a meal delivery service, then you may not have any shopping or meal preparation to do.)
2) Log in to the Fitness App on your COMPUTER – https://doctorvenus.com/app-login/ – and go to the FORMS tab. Go to the Eating Healthy Worksheet and answer questions 1 through 5. Be sure to click SAVE, but DO NOT SIGN the form (as you will not be able to go back to edit & complete the other questions once you SIGN).
3) If you have any questions about the meal plan, or anything else, let me know in the Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/discoveryourzen/
4) If you haven’t received a meal plan, then you need to make sure you’ve submitted your PAR-Q and Client Agreement forms (see below) AND that you’ve emailed me back to confirm your choice of vegetarian or non-vegetarian (see below).
Previous ACTION STEPS: (Not a complete list, but some important highlights.)
1) Log in to the Fitness App on your COMPUTER – https://doctorvenus.com/app-login/ – and go to the FORMS tab. If you haven’t completed the Client Agreement form and the PAR-Q form from Day 1’s ACTION STEPS, do that today and sign them. Be sure to click SAVE when you’re done. (You can not receive the meal plan and workout plan when they are released until we have those completed forms on file.)
2) If you haven’t done so yet, send an email to team@DoctorVenus.com and state whether you want a vegetarian or non-vegetarian meal plan. It will be sent to your Fitness App by this evening…JUST for you to review, if you’re interested. You don’t have to worry about getting everything ready to start the diet by tomorrow. I’ll take you through this whole process, step-by-step, in the upcoming week.
3) Go back to watch the Week 2 group coaching call from yesterday if you missed it live. It’s posted in the Week 2-Day 3 module.
4) Download the Set Your Goals Checklist and complete it. CLICK HERE to download.
5) Download the Program Planner that you can start using, if you wish. CLICK HERE to download.
6) Download the Kitchen Clean Out handout and use it to guide the clean out of your kitchen BEFORE you start your meal plan. CLICK HERE to download.