Although you may be in retirement, that fact doesn’t mean that you’re entirely free to cook each night of the week. You may still have a busy schedule that requires your full attention. Cooking for dinner just isn’t in the cards. As a simple solution, consider meal prepping. In basic terms, you cook all of your meals for the whole week in one session. This process may appear daunting so take a look at these meal-prep tips that will simplify the challenge.
Shop One Day Ahead of Prep
A proper, meal-preparation process will take about two to three hours. The cooking process should be your main goal of the day, which makes it ideal to have all of the ingredients in your kitchen already. Go grocery shopping the day before your prep. A comprehensive list of every necessary ingredient is critical to have on hand as you cross off your purchases. On the next day, you’ll have everything ready to go in the kitchen.
Try Overlapped Ingredients
It’s difficult to prepare a dozen different foods in one sitting. Consider an overlap of certain foods, such as rice. Prepare steamed rice to go with a chicken entree, but then save a little bit of the rice for a fried, vegetable combination later on in the week. By using one ingredient at least two different ways, you have an easier prep than before.
Divide Out by Portions
If you freeze a huge container of soup, you’ll spend most of the week trying to defrost it. Divide out your meal portions by bagging the food or freezing them in small containers. Pull out the portions that you need in the morning, and you’ll have a meal ready for the microwave in the evening. This portioning strategy also works with salads and other side items.
Invest in Multiple Storage Containers
You will need several storage containers in various sizes. Pick durable types that clean up easily, from plastic to glass. Ideally, they should also be stackable. Clear containers are always the best choice so that you can see into the container. Opaque or colored containers will force you to label them, which takes time out of your prep session.
If you don’t cut up all of the fruits and vegetables that you need during the week, you probably won’t eat them at all. With the exception of apples or bananas, chop up your produce and divide it out into small containers. Grab a fruit or veggie serving with ease when they’re already chopped up. This prep tip keeps you on track with your health.
If you’re cooking for you and your partner, think about buying your food in bulk. Warehouse stores offer deep discounts on basic items, such as rice, when you buy it in bulk. Properly store the food so that it can be used each week. You’ll notice the grocery bill dropping downward in no time.