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How to Optimize Meal Prep

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If you follow me on my Instagram or Twitter, you probably have noticed quite a few meal prep posts that I published there. I’ve watched too many videos on Youtube from various vloggers to see the different style of meal prep they do. A fitness guru will have a very different meal plan to a mom managing a family or a college student. However, all of them will teach you how to maximize your budget and control your spending as you get organized. The information can be overwhelming but there’s no need to make life more complicated than it already is. I’ve summed up a list of tips to help you get an idea and get started on your own meal prep.

Plan manageable meals ahead

Avoid choosing complex recipes or ones that take hours to cook. Remember, you’re preparing 21 meals for the week. If you’ve already cooked them before and know how to manage your time well enough then feel free to cook them. Make sure to check if the ingredients can be kept for at least a week to avoid spoiling food.

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Make a master grocery shopping list

Lists are a big help at home, that includes a grocery shopping list. What I mean by master grocery shopping list is that you have a list of core items that you should always have in your kitchen containing both food and supplies categories. This will help you identify what’s actually missing and keep you from purchasing something you already have at home. Take into account how much space you actually have.

Once you’ve identified the items you need to buy, check for coupons that you can use to save up on buying in bulk. If the grocery has a website that you can check what items are on sale, use it for your list to help when buying in bulk. Meat prices here in Switzerland are relatively high, which is why we target sale days that allow us to buy them in bulk.

Put away the grocery items

Start storing your shopping in their corresponding places. It helps keep the kitchen organized for when you start cooking. You’ll need all the space you can get and it will be easier for you to find the ingredients you need when you can find the items in their proper storage areas.

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Tackle one recipe at a time

Another space-saving tip is to cook one meal at a time. It doesn’t help when space is scarce and you’re cooking different meals which have different cooking times, different cooking methods, and needs various ingredients. You may think that it’s faster and therefore easier but unless you’ve managed  or are managing a hotel or restaurant kitchen then I strongly suggest not to do so. You may not have the manpower to help accomplish such a feat. Make it easier for yourself that you can control what is going on in your kitchen that you can command the next step.

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Store in airtight food containers & store in the fridge/freezer until ready to consume

Select food containers that help maximize space in the fridge/freezer and are microwaveable. If you’ll be eating the meals sooner then keep them in the fridge. The rest can go into the freezer to be transferred to the fridge at least overnight before consuming to reduce the reheat time.

Reheat meals using a microwave, oven or stove

If you’re at home then use the stove or oven to reheat your meals. Remember, you’re only reheating the food, not cooking it. You don’t want to burn or overcook the meals. If the meal is to be consumed at work or in school, then the use of a microwave is not a problem at all if that’s the only option at the time.

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