21 Mar 5 Common Meal Prepping Mistakes
I’ve written several cookbooks on meal prepping– and have been practicing meal prepping at home for years — but there are some mistakes that I continue to see folks make regularly. Here are 5 of the most common meal prepping mistakes and what you can do to avoid them.
You Don’t Plan Ahead
Leaving everything for the last minute means that you’ll end up giving up and not cooking anything, or you’ll end up having time for only a few recipes. This can also lead to stress — who wants to be stuck going food shopping 9pm on a Sunday night only to be stressed that you spent all this money and the food may go to waste!
Instead: Don’t leave everything to the last minute. Plan ahead for the best results so that you are less stressed when preparing meals. I like to split up my meal prepping between Sundays and Wednesdays or if I am prepping everything on Sunday, I select my recipes and go food shopping Friday and Saturday.
You Don’t Take Stock of What You Already Have
Food waste is something that happens regularly to many people. And when you waste food, you’re also spending more of your hard earned cash. How do you know you don’t already have 3 containers of ground cinnamon if you don’t take inventory? The last thing you want to do is buy three or four of foods you already have fully stocked.
Instead: Take inventory of what you have in the freezer, refrigerator, and pantry before going grocery shopping. I like to print out every recipe and sit down in my kitchen and place a check mark next to each ingredient I have. I then write down on a paper or in my “notes” section on my phone, my shopping list. This method will also help you use up older items and prevent food waste.
You Over Prep
The last thing you want to do is spend money and time on prepping meals that go to waste. I know some of the meal preppers on Instagram have 15 dishes they prep for the week, but do they REALLY eat that much?!
Instead: Take a look ahead at your schedule and see when you will be able to eat breakfast, lunch and/or dinner from prepped items. To get into meal prepping, start slow and build your way up once you really get to know your meal prepping needs. I often recommend beginner meal preppers start with only two or three recipes to get in the swing of preparing multiple dishes at once.
You Divide Meals Later
If you think waiting until later to divide you meals is a good idea, think again. You end up just eye-balling a portion, which can leave you with a very small last portion or you can end up eating much more than you realize. In some cases, your portions can get skewed that you end up without a meal at the latter part of the week — which defeats the whole meal prepping idea.
Instead: Divide your dishes into separate containers right away. Dividing meals will prevent last-minute scrambling to divide meals and ensure your meals will last through the week.
You Don’t Have Fun With It!
Meal prepping and cooking should be fun. If you are dreading to meal prep and loathe the idea of cooking in batches, then meal prepping may not be right for you — or you may be taking on too many recipes at once.
Instead: Find the meal prepping middle group that works for you and your lifestyle– even starting with 3 or 4 recipes. Flag healthy recipes on blogs or Instagram that you want to try throughout the week. Once it’s time to create your shopping list — get your family involved and do it together. And once you get into the kitchen, turn on some music, get your kids in the kitchen, and HAVE FUN!