Had I known some of these meal prep hacks when I first started working in corporate, I would have saved myself hours and a lot of stress in the kitchen.
As someone who works a super stressful 9 to 5 job and runs a food and wellness blog full-time, believe me when I tell you that these meal prep hacks have saved me when I felt like I may starve through the work week.
Thanks to these meal-planning strategies, I’ve been able to ensure weeks of stress-free, delicious meals, allowing me more time to concentrate on other significant matters and avoid eating takeout.
So, if you just happen to find yourself scouring the internet for the prime meal prep hacks to kickstart your week, rest assured, you’ve landed in the right place.
Genius Meal Prep Hacks You Must Know
Meal prepping can free up your time and help you eat healthier. But it can feel like a chore without some clever shortcuts. Here are my seven best meal prep hacks that I swear by and use on a weekly basis.
1. Chop and Freeze Your Veggies in Advance
This freezing meal prep hack is one of my most loved hacks and one that I seriously recommend you try.
I used to buy fresh ingredients from the grocery store, but then I’d leave them on the kitchen counter for days. By the time I was ready to meal prep, I would find that everything had spoiled, which was really frustrating.
Nowadays, what I do is, each time I get fresh produce from the store, I would quickly chop it up once I get home and put it in the freezer.
Sometimes, if I’m lazy, I purchase frozen precut veggies.
They might come with a slightly higher price tag compared to fresh produce; however, they significantly cut down on prep time, and research assures they still retain their nutritional content well.
2. Invest in a Slow Cooker
I put off buying a slow cooker for YEARS!
For some reason, I assumed that the term “slow cooker” meant it would make my meal planning more of a hassle than a help.
Joke’s on me because this crockpot slow cooker has turned out to be one of my best purchases this year.
I literally cook 90% of my meals in it.
Regarding meal prepping, I throw all the necessary ingredients into my slow cooker before heading to work.
By the time I get home, my meal is ready, and my husband and I can enjoy a delicious dinner without the hassle of standing in the kitchen cooking.
If you are on the fence about getting a slow cooker, I suggest giving it a try. Since it’s just my husband and I, we purchased the 3-quart crockpot from Amazon. And it’s perfect!
However, you can always buy a bigger size if you have a larger family.
3. Prepare Sheet Pan Meals
This third meal prep hack is one that everyone should try at least once a week.
If you dislike (and I mean ABSOLUTELY HATE) cooking, you will love sheet pan meals.
As a food blogger, I don’t always enjoy sitting in the kitchen cooking. It sounds ironic, but it’s the truth.
Even though I love creating recipes, there are days when I can barely muster the energy to whip up a meal, especially after a long and exhausting day at work.
This is where sheet pan meals become a lifesaver. Indeed, this is one of those meal prep hacks I’m never letting go of. It’s quick and easy, and the meals always come out finger-licking good.
Our potato-sausage combo recipe is a great place to start if you want some delicious one-pan meal recipes.
4. Batch Cook Grains and Protein
Several recipes you’ll come across might ask you to serve them with some grain or meat on the side.
Thus, I recommend batch-cooking these grains and meats in advance.
Prepping grains like rice and quinoa in advance is typically best, as you can eat them with a variety of dishes.
As for protein, having some cooked chicken breast or tofu can help you ensure a balanced diet and reduce the stress of last-minute meal decisions.
5. Use Time-Saving Kitchen Tools
Another one of my meal prep hacks that I suggest you try is using time-saving kitchen tools.
Essentially, these are tools that significantly reduce your preparation time.
An example will be this veggie chopper on Amazon that swiftly dices vegetables, saving you a lot of chopping time and effort making meal prep a breeze.
There are several more kitchen gadgets similar to this that have the potential to cut down on prep or cook time, making your meal preparation process more efficient and enjoyable.
6. Keep a Comprehensive Grocery Shopping Checklist
The last thing you want is to be midway through preparing a dish only to realize you’re missing a crucial ingredient needed to complete it.
By having a comprehensive grocery list for meal prep, you ensure that all the necessary items you need for meal prep are available before cooking.
This saves you the hassle and time of making last-minute grocery runs and allows for a smoother, more efficient meal preparation process.
Here at Eleanor’s Dish, we’ve made it easier for you to never forget another grocery item again.
We’ve organized grocery shopping for you with our free grocery list. With this list, you can be sure you have everything you need on meal prep day.
7. Grow Your Herbs at Home
Having fresh herbs at home can make meal prep much more straightforward.
Cilantro, Basil, and Spring onions are among my favorites to grow.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve needed fresh cilantro or Basil in the past and had to make a dreaded trip to the grocery store to get them.
Growing herbs at home for meal prep has solved this problem for me.
Now, whenever a recipe calls for fresh herbs, I step outside and snip what I need, saving me from trips to the store.
I highly recommend growing your own herbs at home; it’s a hack that can significantly elevate your meal prep experience.
What are some meal prep hacks you incorporate daily? Sound off in the comments!