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How to Prepare to Meal Prep: How to Meal Prep for Beginners
So, you want to start meal prepping because you know all the benefits you can get from doing so, but where do you even begin? After reading this guide on how to meal prep for beginners, you’ll understand, not only how to meal prep, but how to do it in record time so you can spend less time in the kitchen, and more time doing what you love!
Before starting to go through this guide you’ll want to have your meal plan in front of you and all filled out, have gotten your groceries, and have a nice clean kitchen to start off with!
So, if you haven’t done those things yet, pin this post, go do those things, and then come back.
Or, go ahead and skim through this post to get an idea of what you’ll have to do, then come back to it once you’re ready to start meal prepping, or planning to meal prep!
Want to Remember This? Pin The Pros and Cons of Meal Prep for Already Busy Moms to your favorite Pinterest Board!!
Before You Meal Prep…
Yes, there are a few things that need to happen before you even start to meal prepping.
You need to prep to meal prep. If you don’t then it will either be frustrating, or impossible, to meal prep properly, or even at all!
Have a meal plan
The first thing you need to make sure you have completed before meal prepping is a meal plan.
If you don’t have a meal plan all set up, then how do you know what you need to meal prep?
And, how do you even know what groceries you need to buy if you don’t have a meal plan?
I know some people who will go grocery shopping without even a meal plan in mind, let alone a written grocery list. These people tend to spend their whole grocery budget in that one trip, too! Then they run out of food before the week is over and simply eat out for the rest of the week so they don’t have to get more groceries; or, they’ll pick up a few things at the store everyday, just to get by.
Honestly, these people frustrate me!
How can they do this?
Do they even know how much money they could save by spending 10 or 15 minutes writing out a meal plan and a grocery list before going to the store?
But, enough about those people. And, don’t feel bad right now if you are one of those people. You’re reading this right now, which means you want to improve; and that’s the first step!
Buy Your Groceries
The next thing you have to do before meal prepping is actually buy your groceries. You know, the ingredients that you’ll need to make the food you’re going to make!
USE YOUR MEAL PLAN, WRITE A GROCERY LIST, THEN GET YOUR GROCERIES.
That must happen in that order, or you won’t be prepared to meal prep. You’ll end up having to go back out to the store. Spend more money, and waste more time. So, make sure you do those things in that order!
Have a Clean, or somewhat clean, Kitchen
Having a clean kitchen before starting to meal prep is my own preference.
But, it sure does make things easier when you don’t have to stop in the middle of meal prepping to wash measuring cups that should already be clean. Sure, you may have to wash them a few times on meal prep day, anyways. It’s just nice to start off with no mess in the kitchen to get in your way or slow you down.
I’d also recommend for you to clean while you prep to avoid any frustration that could come about from a messy kitchen.
Though, I say this while having a very tiny kitchen with very limited counter space. Maybe if you have a larger kitchen, a small mess wouldn’t be as big of a deal. So, this one is up to you.
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Prep to Meal Prep
Now that you have a plan, your groceries, and hopefully a clean kitchen; we can now start to actually prepare to meal prep!
Know What Cooking Tools You’ll Need
First, you’ll need to know what equipment you’ll need while meal prepping.
Make a mental note or write it down.
Or, better yet, get all the equipment you’ll need out.
For me, I usually need (at least) a medium sized pot with lid, a larger pot with lid, my food processor, my blender, and then all of the small tools. Small tools include: measuring spoons and cups, mixing bowls, etc.
Don’t forget to get out your meal prep containers, as well. This way you can see what you have to work with and decide which prepped meal or snack will go in which container.
Have Recipes Handy
The next thing you’ll want to do is get out all the recipes for the meals and snacks you’ll be making. Unless of course, you have an awesome memory and know all the recipes by heart!
However, I do not have that great of a memory, even for the recipes that I make up. If I don’t write them down, then they’re lost forever.
So, I need to get out every single recipe (while I make my grocery list and) when I am meal prepping.
Decide the Order You Will Complete Each Meal (or Snack)
Once you have your recipes, look at how much time, both active and idle, that it will take to complete each meal or snack.
This will help you decide which recipe to start with.
If you have a recipe that takes 5 minutes to start and then an hour in the oven or on the stove; start with that one. That way you can work on the quicker recipes while that one bakes or cooks and doesn’t need much attention.
Other things to consider when deciding the order for your recipes:
- which pieces of equipment or small tools you’ll need for each recipe
- if you need to prep ingredients before starting a recipe (ex. soaking/cooking beans)
Once you know the order you’ll start each recipe; you’re ready to start meal prepping!
Now You’re Ready to Start Your Meal Prep!
In this guide you learned:
- the importance of meal planning
- then writing out your grocery list
- then getting groceries
- that starting with a clean kitchen is best
- then getting out everything you will need (including recipes)
- the importance of deciding the order in which you meal prep
- and that the order you do these things in actually matters!