Do you have a stressful work or everyday life? Then you know how hard it can be to cook regularly and in a balanced manner. So plan ahead with some good meal prep!
Meal Prep – what is it?
“Meal Prep” simply means “precooking”- or preparing meals in advance. This method is especially great for people who have a lot of stress and little time. The advantage is that you can choose when you want to cook as well as the quantity of food.
Meal prep is very easy if you have a kitchen with a stove or microwave to warm up food accordingly. If not, you can create a variety of salads and sandwiches, for example. You can also prepare vegan dishes, snacks for children during breaks or lunch between two meetings. With meal prep, you don’t need extra snack bars since you have your own food in your hands.
Cooking larger quantities and preparing dishes
The idea of meal prep is to cook for several days when you are already cooking. This doesn’t mean that you have to eat the same prepared food for a whole week. Meal prep also saves a lot of time, as you only have to shop once a week, and cut up vegetables once for the whole week. If you initially find it too much to precook for a whole week, try preparing your meals for 3 or 4 days first.
For example, if you are cooking pasta anyway, you can simply cook a little more and use it for a pasta salad or pasta gratin for the next few days. Then fill your delicious cooked food only into mason jars or cans and the precooking is completed in one afternoon. This gives you more time for the rest of the afternoon to relax in your well-earned evening or to spend time with your family.
Meal Prep saves time and helps you to eat healthily
Meal prep is particularly great for pregnant women and young parents because the time of pregnancy and the phase after it means a change in everyday life. The child needs a lot of attention. But parents and child also need a balanced diet in order to keep up their strength and maintain all important nutrients.
Cautions for reheating your food
Don’t leave your prepared food unchilled for a longer period of time. Bacteria multiply so strongly after about two hours that your food can become inedible. That’s why it should be put in the fridge as quickly as possible after you make it. To cool your food more quickly, pour it into flat containers and stir occasionally.
It is recommended to reach a temperature of 150 °F when warming up your food to safely kill bacteria. However, frequent warming up leads to a loss of nutrients, as some vitamins, in particular, are sensitive to heat.
Be careful with nitrate-containing plants such as spinach. Bacteria transform nitrate into nitrite. For adults, reheated spinach is usually harmless. For small children, however, reheated spinach can be dangerous because they lack an enzyme. So don’t serve toddlers reheated spinach.
Preserving food – helpful reminders
You should be careful to eat dishes with fresh, raw foods promptly. Dishes with cooked and fried food can also be kept in the fridge for three to four days. If you want to precook for longer than four days, you should deep-freeze the precooked food.
If you want to store food for a longer period of time, you should freeze and store it at 0°F. However, food cannot be stored indefinitely. There are no general statements about shelf life. If you notice visual changes or an intense smell, don’t eat it!
More ideas for your meal prep
Meal prep is perfect to take the food at work or pack into a lunchbox for your kids. Good foods to prep ahead can be premade foods are salads in jars and overnight oats for breakfast. You can also prepare chicken with vegetables and rice, cucumber and chickpea salad or fish with grilled vegetables.
Meal prep not only saves time but also ensures a balanced meal. If you follow the rules when warming up, then nothing stands in the way of enjoying the pre-cooked food! Do you precook your food for the week before? If yes, what are your favorite meal prep recipes? Do you ever get tips from loved ones on FamilyApp?