So, you want start (or continue) eating better. Out with the junk and fast food, in with the lean meats and mean greens. You’ve been here before, so ask yourself this: what is going to be different this time?
Sure, most of us want to eat healthy. That doesn’t mean we actually plan to, but planning is exactly what is necessary in order to succeed. A huge hurdle standing in the way of each of us is ease and accessibility. Let’s face it: it’s easy to get a McMeal. It’s easy to get take out. It’s easy to come up with excuses as to why eating healthy for our next meal isn’t possible. The solution, then, is to make it easy to eat healthy meals.
That’s where bulk meal planning and preparation comes into play: with fully prepped, cooked, and portioned out meals, there are no more excuses of ease or accessibility.
Meal prepping is all about, you've got it... preparation. Ample preparation is required in order to meal prep in bulk. First, you must decide on a few meals and gather your ingredients. If you choose meal prep ideas using local sales you will also maximize your savings. Meals that sit in a liquid (like chili) are preferred as they do not become dry as the week goes on, but simple proteins and vegetables do work as well.
Since we want to have food throughout the workweek, this means that Sunday will be our prep day. Grocery shop for your ingredients on Saturday. It’s not fun to shop, cook, and clean, all in a single day.
So on Saturday, pick a dish (or several) to make, pick up the ingredients, and get ready for the big day.
Now that we have our meals planned, the ingredients gathered, and it’s sunday, it’s time to cook. You can knock out all cutting, cooking, and cleaning within just a couple of hours. This is an enormous time saver over making meals every night of the week.
Below I will post an example of how to do things, but the idea is pretty straightforward: wash and cut, cook, portion, cool and clean. It’s not much different than making a dinner, it simply involves more ingredients and portioning out the meals afterwards for easy consumption.
Pre-portioned meals are important so that it is simple to grab a container to eat when you are hungry, taking out the possibility of any impulsive choices in the process (for example, serving yourself a larger portion). In addition, this allows you to easily save the recipe and add it to the calorie counting app on your smartphone, if you use one. For this, you can use either tupperware or reusable takeout containers from a restaurant supply store.
Make and freeze breakfast burritos for an easy morning meal. We won’t lie: it’s a pain in the butt to make 30 burritos at once. When all's said and done, however, it’s extremely nice having them done and ready to be eaten, leaving no excuses for a drive-through breakfast.
Each burrito gets one tortilla, one sausage link, two eggs, one slice of cheese, and green pepper and onions. The process is time consuming, but not difficult:
Once this is done, it’s time to assemble. Simply open a tortilla, throw in an egg omelette, a slice of cheese, a spoonful sausage, a spoonful of green pepper & onion mix, and roll it up. To prevent freezer burn, triple wrap each burrito individually: first wrap with parchment paper, then aluminum foil, and finally place each into a large freezer ziplock bag. Three layers might seem excessive, but more than a month later these burritos are still good to go.
When it’s time to eat, take one burrito out of the bag, take off the foil, and either microwave or bake it. And while this exact recipe may not meet your nutritional goals, it proves that cooking in bulk is delicious, cheap, health, and possibly most importantly, totally doable.
Bulk meal prep will make your waistline thinner and keep your wallet fatter. It will also save an enormous amount of time and leave you with no more excuses for eating unhealthy foods filled with ingredients that you cannot pronounce. This doesn’t mean that you can never eat out again, however it does give you an excuse to eat healthily, rather than the reverse.