Meal prep doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, it can save you a lot of time and energy when you do it correctly.
Even if you’re not the most organized person in the world, making a few simple changes to your meal prep process can help you to be less stressed during the week when things are hectic and cooking dinner is the last thing on your mind. Also, prepping helps you to make healthier meals and reduces your risk of hitting the drive-thru or resorting to cold cereal for dinner — again.
Here are 15 tips for saving time — and money — by harnessing the power of meal prep.
1. Cook the week’s meals in 1 day
One common mistake busy adults make is waiting until the last minute to start prepping dinner. That leads to poor food choices. (Boxed mac and cheese, anyone?) You might have the best intentions, but after a full day’s work and a long commute home, it’s simply not practical to start mincing garlic for a complicated recipe, even if it did sound like a great idea at 9 a.m.
Instead, set aside a couple hours on the weekend, and make all the meals for the week at once. Or at least accomplish as much of the prepping as you can during that time. Most prepped foods will last for up to one week in the fridge. And as a bonus, you’ll never have to get home from work and wonder what the heck to make for dinner because it will already be made.
Pro tip: Did you know you can pre-cook pasta? Cook it al dente, drain, and then let it dry for at least 15 minutes. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil to keep it moist, and store it in an airtight resealable plastic bag. When you’re ready to enjoy, just reheat and serve with your favorite sauce.