How to Meal Prep: A 5-Step Beginner’s Guide to get you started

Photo by @mrskleifgen

Photo by @mrskleifgen

Believe it or not, meal prep is easy. Below is our simple guide to get you started.  But first, what is meal prep?

'Meal prep is a way of optimizing your
lifestyle by planning meals in advance.'
-@mealprepsociety

Why do people meal prep? 

People prep for many benefits:

  • Eating healthy
  • Portion control
  • Weight loss
  • Achieving fitness goals
  • Saving money
  • Convenience
  • and much more

Got it. So where do I start?

Step 1: Define your goals

Photo by @fit.nl

Photo by @fit.nl

Why have you decided to meal prep? Are you trying to lose weight? Make gains in the gym? Or just eat healthier and save money. Clearly identify your personal goals and objectives for meal prep - let them guide you throughout this process. 

Now take your goals and write them down. 

MPS Tip: Make your goals visible. Write them down and hang them in clear sight. This will help you stay motivated and keep you on track.

Step 2: Choose a prep idea.

Photo by @fat2fittwins

Photo by @fat2fittwins

Ideas are combinations of foods & dishes that comprise a meal prep. To find inspiration for your preps, visit our ideas section or @mealprepsociety on Instagram.

The key is to select meal prep ideas that align with your goals. For example, a bodybuilder whose goal is to gain muscle may want a high protein, high-calorie prep, while those seeking to lose weight may want a low calorie, low carb combination. 

MPS Tip: Start simple. Stick to ideas that don’t need many ingredients or complicated cooking techniques.

You can start off prepping for one meal (i.e. lunch every day at work) and build up to prepping multiple meals for each day.

This chicken, spinach, asparagus prep is a great example of simple prep to get you started.

Once you have your idea, Hit the grocery store. Buy each of the items needed to complete your prep. Determine the quantities to purchase based on how many meals you plan to make.

Get your containers. Use your existing tupperware or pickup some new gear. We recommend containers just large enough to fit one meal and that stack easily.

Now your ready to throw down in the kitchen.

Step 3: Start prepping

Photo by @thehealthychef

This is where the vision for your prep comes to life. Make some time in the day, space in the kitchen, and go.

Scheduling your prep day:

The most important part of this step is carving out enough time to cook without feeling rushed. Sunday is the most popular day for preppers, however, find the day/time that works best for you. Build prepping into your schedule. Over time, it will become natural, a habit reinforced by the positive benefits it brings.

How much to cook:

To determine how much food to cook, figure out your portion sizes, then multiply by the total number of meals you're making. This can be as simple as "eyeballing it" or you can break out the food scale and calculate your macros. 

Once you've finish cooking and have evenly portioned each meal into your containers, you can store them in the refrigerator until they are ready for use.

Step 4: Execute your plan

Photo by @tallyrye

Photo by @tallyrye

All of the hard work is done. Now it's time to enjoy your home cooked meals. Do your best to stick to a schedule, eating the meals during the time of day they were prepared for. If you find that you're getting hungry between meals, you may consider prepping healthy snacks or increasing portions.

MPS Tip: Spice it up, have a few 'flavor' items handy to add variation to each meal (red pepper, sriracha, fresh lemon, etc.) 

Be disciplined, but don't sweat it too hard if you find this challenging in the beginning. Meal prepping isn't about perfection, it's about improvement.

Step 5: Rinse and repeat

Photo by @floordeboor

Photo by @floordeboor

Congratulations, you've made it through your prep! Time to wash those containers and get ready for the next one. Recap the experience - What did you like? What was challenging? How did your body react? Use this feedback to help guide your future meal preps.

MPS Tip: Friendly motivation, get friends or coworkers to join the meal prep lifestyle and help each other stay on track. Closing thoughts:

Remember, the physical benefits of meal prep will take time to manifest. While you may notice the convenience or money saved immediately, it's the long-term adherence to your plan that will bring you closer to your goals.

In the beginning, focus on making meal prep a habit. As you become a more experienced prepper, you'll start making adjustments, trying more advanced preps, and further refining your strategy.

Best of luck to everyone as you embark on your meal prep journey. Please leave comments, questions and discuss below. 

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