3 Things I Wished I Knew About Meal Prepping Before I Started
Do you meal prep? Meal prepping has become really popular, and it’s easy to see why! There are so many benefits to meal prepping. It gives you control of your diet and portions, allows you to eat home-cooked meals on busy days, helps cut back on eating out, and of course helps save you time and money.
Even with all of these fantastic benefits, it took me a while to get the hang of meal prepping and to figure out how to make it work for my family.
If you are a meal prep newbie here are few tips that I wished I’d known before I started meal prepping.
1. Start with well-made, disposable containers.
When I decided that I was going to start meal prepping many years ago, I went out and got so many cute, expensive containers. Yep, I had sandwich holders, salad bowls, the works!
What you’ll discover when you start meal prepping is that some foods work great in certain containers and not so great in others. Some containers will simply have the wrong “feel.”
Out of all the meal prep food storage containers that I purchased back then I probably only use a couple for actual meal prepping.
It’s best to start with the right meal prep containers.
What I currently love at the moment are Mainstays Meal Prep Containers, which are available only at Walmart. These containers make it so easy for me to store prepped meals. They have a lid and compartments (yay for compartments!) which keeps food separated. A must if you have kids like mine who prefer that their food not touch. Mainstays Meal Prep Food Containers are also:
- Easy to use
- BPA free
Oh, and did I mention sturdy and budget-friendly? These containers will be great to have in my pantry this holiday season. I can divide up leftovers for my guests without having to worry about if I’ll ever get my food storage containers back. Can you relate?
2. Make it work for YOU!
When it comes to what and when to meal prep, think about your lifestyle. Where would you benefit the most from having a meal prepped and ready to go? Is it dinners Monday-Friday? Or maybe it’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner for that hectic Monday you’ve got coming up. You don’t have to stick to just dinners. Meal prepping should make your current lifestyle easier.
My family is currently in a calmer routine now that the kids are between extra-curricular activities for a few weeks. My days are a bit easier, so I’m able to cook more meals throughout the day.
I’ve been using meal prepping for in between meal snacking. We LOVE snacking! Meal prepping these daily snack trays are fantastic for portion control and to ensure a variety of snacks that are healthier. I don ‘t know about you, but I’m much more likely to stick to a healthier diet if my snacks are ready-to-go and pre-portioned when hunger strikes.
My boys like grazing from their snack trays throughout the day and I don’t have to hear “Mommy can we have a snack” or “I’m hungry” a hundred times a day. This victory alone is worth the 20 minutes it took to make seven snack trays.
3. Keep it simple.
Why didn’t anyone tell me this when I first started meal prepping? I created so many elaborate meals and was so exhausted by the time I was done cooking and prepping. I used to dread meal prepping day for this exact reason.
Never. Again. Now when I’m meal prepping I keep the recipes super simple! Like, almost embarrassingly simple. I save all of my time-consuming recipes for other days.
For meal prepping you want quick and easy. The fewer ingredients, the better in my opinion. I want to share with you this super easy, creamy chicken & noodle casserole that my family enjoys. It’s ridiculously easy and reheats like a dream, making it perfect for meal prep.
Oh yeah, try to keep your prepped meals either hot or cold. It’s no fun having to scoop out a salad to heat some soup, but hey if you don’t mind, then rock on sister!
I created these delicious “tv dinners” for my husband who’ll be working out of the home this week. It features creamy chicken & noodle casserole, mixed vegetables, and a dinner roll. All he has to do it pop it into the microwave to reheat.
Double Up! Cooking a freezer-friendly recipe? Double it and freeze it for future meal prepping. You’ll thank yourself later.
Want to try out Mainstays Meal Prep Food Containers? You can purchase them online here or find them in stores.
I hope that you’ve found these meal prepping tips helpful.
Share your meal prepping tips and tricks below. I would love to read them!3
Get the Recipe: Chicken and Noodle Casserole
- 10 oz. condensed cream of celery soup
- 10 oz condensed cream of chicken soup
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
- 12 oz egg noodles, prepared according to package
- 1 lb. chicken breast, diced and cooked
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- salt, black pepper, and garlic powder, to taste
- parley, garnish
- Preheat oven to 350. F.
- Lightly grease a two qt. casserole dish. Set aside.
- In a large pot over medium heat, stir together cream of celery soup, cream of chicken soup, and milk until combined.
- Stir in milk and 1 cup of cheese until cheese is melted.
- Stir in prepared noodles and cooked chicken.
- Season to taste with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
- Place the mixture in prepared casserole dish.
- Top with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs.
- Baked until cheese is melted (about 10 minutes) and then broil to toast the breadcrumbs (about 5 minutes)
- Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.
This post is sponsored by Walmart and SheKnows Media. All opinions are my own.