Whether you want to get healthy, lose weight, save money, or save time, there’s a variation of meal prep out there that will work for you!
The best thing about meal prepping is that it can be as simple or complex as you choose – the whole point is that it’s convenient for you. Whether that means spending a Sunday preparing dishes for the week or simply making extra at dinner for the next day’s lunch, there’s no wrong way to do it.
The most important part of meal prep is ensuring that your meal will still be appealing in two, three, or four days so, while it all comes down to your personal preference, be warned about trying to meal prep these ingredients:
- Avocados, bananas, and apples: They go brown within hours.
- Breaded veggies or meat: Breading gets soggy during reheating.
- Broccoli: The sulphur they release during reheating will make you the least popular person in the office.
- Dressed salads: The dressing will turn your salad to mush, so keep it separate when meal prepping salad.
- Tortillas, wraps, and sandwiches: All of these will become soggy in the microwave, so you’ll either need to eat them cold or heat them in the oven.
Let’s talk ingredients
One of the most popular reasons people cite for wanting to start meal prepping is saving money – and not only will you save money on food delivery services, but you’ll also learn to cook with cheaper ingredients. Here are some of the most affordable products you can find on the shelves:
- Lentils and beans
- Seasonal fruits and vegetables
- Bulk chicken
- Tough cuts of meat
- Canned tuna
- Grains like pasta, samp, and rice
Recipe 1: Turn tough meat into scrumptious stew
Stewing beef comes from the shoulder of the cow and is called chuck – luckily, it’s also one of the cheapest cuts of beef.
This recipe uses chuck and is chock-full of nutritious vegetables; in fact, you can use practically any vegetables you like in stew! The only downside? It takes at least 40 minutes of simmering for the flavours in your stew to come to life, and it can take up to 4 hours – it all depends on how much time you have.
The best thing about stews is that they always taste better the next day and can be frozen, making them the perfect meal prep recipe.
Recipe 2: Enjoy the lentil things in life
Lentils are one of the world’s most underrated ingredients – they’re packed with fibre and magnesium and are a super-affordable plant-based protein source.
Gone are the days when you’d need to buy dry lentils and soak them (although you can if you want to!) because most grocery stores now sell canned lentils that are ready to prepare at a moment’s notice.
This lentil salad is healthy, delicious and uses a range of affordable ingredients like cucumber, onions, and celery.
Recipe 3: Winner, winner chicken dinner
Chicken is undoubtedly the world’s most versatile meat, and it shows up in cuisines from almost every culture on the planet.
Because it doesn’t have a strong flavour, it can be spiced up and used in a multitude of different recipes and preparations (grilling, broiling, poaching, frying – the list is practically endless)!
This meal prep recipe keeps things simple, healthy, and affordable because, apart from your spices and sauces, you only need three key ingredients.
Recipe 4: Tuna into the power of poke bowls
Poke bowls are a Hawaiian dish that have taken the world by storm, and what’s not to love? They’re filled with crunchy vegetables and delicious soy sauce on a bed of rice, and best of all can be made with whatever you have on hand.
Traditionally, poke bowls were made with raw fish, but they’ve been adapted to include fried fish, vegan options like tofu or seitan, or even canned tuna. Because so many of the ingredients are easy to substitute with what you have access to, your imagination really is the limit.
Recipe 5: Explore new pasta-bilities
When you think about pasta, you probably think of rich and cheesy options like lasagne or bolognese – but pasta can be healthy and affordable if you cut down on the cheese and meat. By filling your pasta with delicious vegetables, your body gets a great mix of nutrients to keep you going.
Pasta is also one of the quickest meals to prepare and can sit in the fridge for 3 – 4 days.
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