You value a healthy lifestyle. You scan ingredient labels, limit takeout, and drink water like it’s your job.
You’re also constantly running around like a madman.
Between meetings, errands, and your gym membership, you constantly find yourself pressed for time. And while you’ve always valued your healthy lifestyle, your Postmates bill keeps going up while your fridge shelves look barer by the day.
We get it. We’re right there with you, trying to whip up our own secret sauce to balance our career ambitions with #lifegoals. But if there’s one thing we know to be true, the strategy that never fails is simply planning ahead.
Planning your meals in advance will always be on your side when your Google Calendar is not. To master your meals throughout the week, keep reading. You’re about to learn to meal prep with the best of ‘em.
If the thought of making 10 recipes off Pinterest makes your eyes glaze over, you’re not alone. But “meal” prep doesn’t have to include preparing five days’ worth of full meals with a diversity of main dishes, sides, and sauces. Here are several (more manageable) approaches you can take:
Best for: Those who eat the same thing each day.
One day a week (probably Sunday), set aside an hour to prep ingredients. Chop vegetables, prepare a batch of quinoa, rice, or other grain, and bake or pan-fry at least five servings of protein. Each morning, you can easily toss several ingredients together in a bowl for a quick salad, rice bowl, or stir-fry.
Best for: Those who seriously dislike cooking.
If cooking is something you just can’t get on board with, there’s nothing wrong with that. Rather than face your least-favorite task each week, double (or triple) the quantities of every single recipe you create. That way, you can freeze any leftovers to be used later down the line, cutting the frequency of your meal prep in half.
Best for: Those who get bored eating the same thing each week.
If you’re constantly getting food envy from your colleague’s takeout options, you have to prep make-ahead meals. Each week, set aside one day where you can make five meals that can be reheated or eaten cold at lunchtime. This is the most common form of meal prep, and the one we’ll dive into further below.
The first thing you need to do — before you hit the grocery store, pick out recipes, or create a shopping list — is to take a hard look at your calendar. Look at your whole week ahead, then create a meal plan that works for your schedule.
What events do you have scheduled this week? What days are you in back-to-back meetings? Do you have any 8:00 a.m. meetings where you’ll need to be at the office early? Do you have any happy hours or client dinners where you’ll be dining out?
Using your calendar as a guide, dust off those math skills to calculate how many healthy meals you need to prep:
Once you know the number of meals you need, it’s time to map out a plan. Write down what recipes work best for which days, then use that list to make a grocery list. There’s no right or wrong way to do this, but you might find these tips useful:
If all this planning raised your stress levels a couple notches, stick with us.
There are plenty of kitchen tools and supplies that can make your job much, much easier. Some you may already have on hand, and for others you might consider making the investment:
The internet is flooded with more recipes than anyone could make in a lifetime, let alone one week. Here’s a tip: Rather than focus on complex recipes by your favorite food bloggers, stick to simple lunch and dinner options that take minimal time and effort.
Here are a few meal prep recipe ideas to help get you started:
Allow us to tell you something you already know: Even the best-laid plans sometimes get blown off course.
You’re going to get called into 5:00 p.m. meetings. You’ll forget to cancel your early morning gym class (and won’t have breakfast prepared). And you know what? You’re going to value your social time, and some Sundays you’re going to want to be out with friends having a beverage, not stuck inside your kitchen cooking.
That’s totally fine.
Life happens, and when it does it’s best to have a few tools, meals, and tricks up your sleeve to help you out. With Tovala, you never have to sacrifice the nutritional value of your food for the time it takes to prepare it.
If you've ever wished dinner would magically make itself, Tovala is for you. Chef-prepared, healthy meals are delivered to your doorstep and cooked automatically in 20 minutes or less. Or, you can do all your meal planning within the Tovala App, selecting healthy, easy recipes that require little prep or effort.