Meal prepping is simply preparing some, or all of your meals ahead of time. It’s like having those TV dinners that you would purchase from the store, except that you prepare them yourself, with better, healthier and unprocessed ingredients. If you prepare your week’s meals ahead of time, all you have to do when your tummy growls is pop one of your prepped meals into the microwave and enjoy!
Not only does it save you time, but it also helps to ensure you eat healthier foods more often with the proper portions, instead of reaching for quick processed snacks or fast food meals that go over your caloric needs.
The idea is that when you have healthier things ready to eat, you will eat them instead of other potentially harmful foods. As simple as it may sound, there are some Do’s & Don’ts that you should follow to ensure the most efficient meal prepping:
DO Keep an Open Trash Can Nearby
Nobody wants to get stuck carrying a pile of vegetable scraps across their kitchen or using a dirty hand to open the drawer hiding the trash bin. Keep an open trash bag next to you as you cook for easy clean up and a more sanitary prep area. You can peel vegetables directly into the bag and not worry about making a mess all over your floor.
DON’T Prep Foods that Don’t Reheat Well
Not every meal is meant to be enjoyed over and over again. Dishes like seafood, skin-on chicken, and roasted veggies never taste as good as they did the day before. it’s best to mask the rubbery dryness that usually occurs with fresh ingredients: re-purpose leftover seafood into tacos; remove the skin on chicken and shred the meat into enchiladas; or tuck leftover roasted veggies into a frittata.
DO Make Easily Adaptable Mains
Grilled or baked meats without any skin are fairly easy to reheat and pair with new sauces, grains, and veggies. You can also make cold chicken salad, tuna salad, and egg salad to put into sandwiches, over lettuce for a salad, and with added spices (like curry powder) for an entirely new flavor.
DON’T Prep Before Checking Your Pantry
Always check your pantry, fridge, and freezer before even thinking about what you’re going to make. Take note of any leftover meals you can finish up, anything you froze previously, and incorporate ingredients that may go bad into this week’s menu. You can then decide what you will make, and purchase new ingredients accordingly.
DO Clean Before and After
There’s really nothing worse than using tons of kitchen equipment, only to find your dishwasher and sink are full of more dirty utensils. Clean everything up before you start preparing this week’s meals for a faster clean up at the end. You’ll be happy you did.
DON’T Start Until Everything is Ready
It may seem obvious, but we really mean everything should be ready to go. Set up your music, podcast, Netflix show, or whatever entertainment you need. Tie your hair back, put on comfy sneakers and an apron, let the dog out, and call whoever you need to let them know you’re in the zone. This is your time, so enjoy it distraction-free.
DO Plan Ahead
You’re going to want an idea of what you’re cooking, but be sure you have all the ingredients on hand and you’ve read the instructions properly. There’s no turning back if you truly mess up a recipe. Chop and cook as much as you can in advance for easy meals all week long. Keep a few staple ingredients always ready to go, and pop a couple meals in the freezer for last-minute microwave dinners.
DON’T Cook without Appropriate Containers
You’ve prepped your meals, but now it’s time to store everything. Be sure you have enough meal prep containers, or microwave-safe plastic food containers, so you don’t get stuck tossing ingredients in large zip top bags or covering mixing bowls with plastic wrap.
If you’re more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of person, you’re in luck. Henry Ford Village features three beautiful dining venues, conveniently located onsite. Our executive chefs are committed to providing a variety of deliciously healthy meals three times per day. Happy Hour is always a favorite for residents at Henry Ford Village as they enjoy the full bar featuring beer, liquor and wine of all sorts.
To learn more about Henry Ford Village’s commitment to health & fitness, call us today at 877-669-0728.