On social media you may have seen strange photos of stacked Tupperware crammed with healthy food or inadvertently spotted a meal prep hashtag . Or you may not have, so I’m going tell you what it’s all about!
Firstly, I need to say that I love Tupperware. I love it in different sizes, different colours and I love it best when it locks shut with clips. My daughter also loves Tupperware and regularly breaks into the drawer it’s kept in and wears my prized possessions as shoes. This does not impress me. The drawer now has child locks.
Anyway I digress. So what is meal prep all about and should I be doing it? Meal prep is all about pre planning your meals and cooking them up in a big batch. And the answer to should I be doing it, is a big fat yes… if you want to eat healthy but are time poor.
So why should you do it?
First and foremost cooking a big batch saves you time. I find cooking dull, especially when you’re regularly cooking chicken rice and veg, so the less time spent doing this the better. Saving time also cuts out the excuse that many people use when it comes to healthy eating where they don’t have ‘time’ to cook.
Secondly, having food prepared in advance will make you much more likely to be compliant with your diet. It’s like insider trading you’re almost guaranteed to succeed. With your healthy, clean food already made you won’t be caught short in desperate need to calories and accidentally end up in McDonald’s as it was the “only” place you could think of. And you were starting to get hangry. So it was an emergency. And you have already ordered the large quarter pounder with cheese meal before you remembered that McDonald’s sell a healthy salad. You know what you did.
However, there are also some drawbacks. Food tastes best when it’s freshly cooked. Freshly cooked chicken is juicy, succulent and delicious. if you’re not careful three day old chicken can be dry, chewy and taste like an old tyre. Fresh veg is also delicious. Three day old veg can smell and taste like farts. So you need to follow these simple rules.
Get it right and meal prep will save you time and ensure you have delicious meals that help you achieve your goals; get it wrong and you may end up chewing on something that tastes like a pair of flip flops! If this happens to you just remember chewing burns calories and there is a guy that actually eats flip flops (thank you Google!).
Also, people you work with are far more likely to start talking about what you are eating when they see you open up your Tupperware filled with healthy eats. Unsolicited and incorrect diet advice will be slung at you from all angles and, as irritating as this is, punching people at work is generally frowned upon.
Fortunately these pitfalls are easily avoided and here are my top tips for making sure that your pre-prepared meals are delicious 😋
- Seasoning is your friend – easy to do and adds a needed kick of flavour. I love paprika, garlic powder & chilli flakes
- Use sauces – sauces will stop your meat drying out and will help with reheating in the microwave. Tomato based sauces are good, but you can use anything as long as you are be mindful of calorie and that sugar content.
- Avoid overcooking your veg – overlooked veg will smell like garbage (and may also strip some of the nutrients out). Adding carrots, sweetcorn and peppers can sweeten up any meal and they stink less. 👍🏼
- Vary your meals – don’t make your food boring – change your protein, change your carbs, mix up your veg, experiment with seasoning and then mix up your combos.
- Make it easy – I love microwave rice and microwave veg. Less time less mess and just as yummy. You’re not on master chef. 👨🏻🍳
With the people at work. Deep breath. Smile. Avoid rolling your eyes. Once they have finished speaking explain why you are eating healthy and how preparing your meals is helping you (all the while mentally picturing the scene below).