Meal Prep Mastery

In the fast-paced world we are living in, time almost seems to be too short. 24 hours can go by so quickly and sometimes we wouldn’t get to complete all that we’ve set out to do for the day. In this day and age where everything seems to be at our fingertips, there are a variety of means to help us achieve certain goals and lighten some load.

One of these means is meal prep! Meal prepping is a great way to minimise cooking time so you and your family can have a well-balanced and nutritious meal everyday, no matter how full your day is. Let’s learn more about meal preps and how we can be masters at putting a meal together in a short amount of time.

Methods of Meal Prep

There are many ways to prep your meals and make things go a little bit faster so you can spend more time enjoying your food rather than preparing them.

Stock up on ingredients

 

One of the ways to make cooking for your family a breeze is to prepare the ingredients you need ahead of time.

In Asian cooking, our key ingredients include shallots, garlic, and ginger. It is best to have a stock of these ingredients in blended or chopped form in your fridge. That way, you save all the time you would have spent chopping and blending them before using them in the cooking.

If you’re big on vegetables, you will be happy to know that you can pre-chop and store them in air-tight containers before leaving them in the fridge. Do take note of storing period as some vegetables may not last as long as others. Root vegetables like potatoes and carrots will last longer, however, leafy greens like spinach and bak choy would require special attention to make them last throughout the week.

Freezing & defrosting

Fresh seafood and proteins can be kept fresh for up to a month in the freezer. To make things easier for you, you can divide the proteins into portions and store them respectively. This way, you can easily take the amount you need for the day or mealtime to defrost before cooking.

One of the best ways to easily defrost frozen proteins that you need to use for the day is to take them out of the freezer and place them in the chiller, first thing in the morning. By the time you need to prepare lunch or dinner, they will be defrosted and fit to cook.

Precook & marinades

Another great method to quicken your cooking time is by pre-cooking or marinating your meals ahead of time. You can make a simple marinade with simple ingredients like olive oil, herbs and lemon.

You can place the portioned protein into a zip-lock bag and add in your marinades before storing them in the freezer or fridge. Not only will this make cooking them easier, they will be more flavourful too.

Precook some of your dishes and keep them in the freezer so that they are readily available for cooking. This can include pie fillings, fried chicken, and roast beef. Freezing pre-cooked food will ensure that their nutrients remain intact.

You can make a big batch of pasta sauce and freeze them in portions to be used anytime you feel like enjoying pasta or pre-cook some fried brown rice so they are available whenever you are craving for it or when you are short of time to get dinner on the table.

Why Prep?

Prepping meals is obviously beneficial in so many ways. However, if you need more convincing, here are more reasons why you should consider making this practise a part of your routine.

Save time and energy

According to an article by Iris Tan, “For starters, meals prepared in large batches once or twice every week, can last up to five days. This not only reduces decision fatigue on what to cook for lunch or dinner but also saves you the hassle of cleaning up after cooking daily meals.”

For those of us who work long hours, spending so much time preparing for dinner and having to clean up after can be exhausting and draining. Meal prep allows us to cut down on cooking time and more time enjoying the food and the company of our families.

Cost efficient & environmentally friendly

An article on tablematter.sg mentioned, “Buying in bulk and cooking at home can be much more cost effective than eating out regularly.”

Furthermore, when you allocate the portions of food you would need for the week that is adequate for each family member, you avoid excessive purchases. Portioning also enables you to reduce food wastage and you will realise that there is less and less leftovers from mealtime.

Nutrient control

One of the greatest benefits of meal prep is the pure satisfaction of being in control of the food your family eats. Meal prep allows you to take care of your family and ensure that they are well-fed and eating nutritiously despite your busy schedule and other commitments. The right containers, ways of cooking, and methods of storage will help seal in flavours, freshness and nutrition.

Hot Tips for Meal Prep

 

If you are about to begin your meal prep journey, you might find that these tips will come in handy.

Prepare a menu & shopping list: Before you shop for the ingredients you will need, write down a menu and share with your family to get their input. Then prepare a shopping list that will be enough for the food you are preparing for the week. You can also roughly gauge your weekly grocery budget once you’ve got the hang of this.

Have lots and lots of containers: Ensure that you have the right containers to store the food you are preparing. Air-tight containers and ziplock bags will be needed to keep your foods safe, fresh, and good for long periods of time.

Mix it up: It will take some time for you to be a total kitchen whiz but the journey will be a great learning experience for you to figure out the right food combos for your meals. For example, chicken or beef goes great with potatoes and so on. Until you have become meal prep-savvy, have fun experimenting and mixing different recipes.

 

 

With so many advancements in this day and age, meal prep is still arguably the best way to help us serve our family delicious and healthy meals. Some may say that it is easier to order from healthy-food restaurants or eat out, but the joy of preparing our own meals is not something to be underestimated.