Whether you put a salad in a mason jar, or prepare a power bowl in a lunch box to enjoy at the office–making your own food to go is becoming a real trend. Cooking ahead of time, which our grandparents already encouraged, is immensely popular. Swapping out a delivery service or the office canteen for a self-made delicacy is becoming the preferred option. This meal prepping requires planning, cooking and packing. Curious? In this article we’ll explain everything you need to know about the meal-prep-trend.
Contents of this article:
- What is meal prep?
- What are the advantages of meal prepping?
- Our tips: how to become a pro meal prepper
- Meal prep with Every. products
- The best foods for meal prepping
- Popular dishes for meal prepping
What is Meal Prep?
Days can get very full, quickly. Juggling work, family etc. can often mean that very little ‘free’ time is left over. The consequence can be that nutritious, fresh, self made food is replaced with fast food or office-canteen meals. Thankfully, current food trends like meal prepping have made this a thing of a past, and allow for busy days, fueled by good, wholesome food. But what does meal prep really mean in practice?
Meal prep means nothing more than cooking in advance, and in bulk to cover your meals for the week. With the right planning, suitable meals and a good to-go container (very important!) you can easily make plenty of delicious, diverse and fueling meals to power you through the week. Goodbye lame sandwich, hello culinary excellence!
Meal prepping lets you determine what’s on your plate. Whether you want something hearty and rich, or rather opt for a light or low carb option, meal prepping makes you the boss of your personal nutrition.
What are the advantages of Meal Prepping?
You might be asking yourself, why would I spend hours in the kitchen when I can easily order a meal or pack something quickly day-of? Well hear us out….
1. Cook once, save several times!
Not only are you saving on time, but your bank account will thank you! With the right organisation, you only need to cook once (maybe twice) a week and get everything done that you need for the week. Shopping, chopping, and cleaning up therefore also only needs to be done once.
Cooking for yourself is much cheaper than frequent restaurant visits or splurges on a delivery service. If you plan ahead, only the things you’ll really need land in your shopping cart. Saving you money, and also reducing food waste!
You’ve always got something healthy with you
When we’re stressed, we’re much likelier to grab a quick, usually unhealthy, snack. A sandwich from the shop next door or a burrito from the fast food joint around the corner. Main criteria: filling and fast, and nutritional quality falls by the wayside.
If you plan your meals, you gain control over your food choices. Preparing things yourself, lets you determine what to eat and you know exactly what lands on your plate. This reduces the chances that unwanted ingredients like lots of sugar, fats or additives are included.
Keeps you on track of your nutritional goals
You’re trying to build muscle and want to eat more protein? Or do you want to consume less calories? No problem! Meal prepping also gives you immense flexibility. All you need to do is plan ahead, select the right recipe and prepare the meals that are suitable for your diet plan. This also applies to portion size.
Eat away without a second thought
If you suffer from an allergy or an intolerance, you’re familiar with the tedious task of deciphering ingredient lists or asking a restaurant waiter ‘’does it have x in it?’’. Meal prepping, again puts you in charge, so that you can avoid any unwanted foods.
Our Tips: How to become a pro Meal Prepper
You’ve got your chef hat on and are ready to go? But still unsure of how exactly? We’ve put together some helpful tips to help you get started and answer some open questions.
A vegan rice bowl, a warm stew or a light salad? Before you hit the grocery store, decide what you want to cook and write a list of the ingredients you need. This gives you an overview of what you need and in what quantities. It also prevents you from buying unnecessary food items.
You feel like having a green salad? You should consume this at the beginning of the week when it's still fresh and full of nutrients. We advise you to dress the salad right before you eat it. If you do it in advance, your crisp salad will be more of a mushy heap. Fresh produce should also be consumed earlier in the week, as this goes bad the fastest and we always want to avoid food waste as much as possible.
You've meal-prepped, but suddenly you have an important business lunch you need to attend? That’s ok too, it happens! We can’t plan ahead for everything. Your prepped meal will be absolutely fine in a fridge for a day or two, but not forever. You could also freeze some of your portions directly after cooking. This keeps the meal fresh and you don’t have to worry about it going bad anytime soon.
Mason jar, lunch box or food pot? Plastic, glass or metal? There are a variety of containers you can use to package your prepped meals, but which are the best? Containers that allow you to separate your meal can be very useful e.g. a rice, protein and sauce compartment. This keeps the meal fresh with the desired texture. Plastic lunch boxes are cheap, but not good for the environment. Nowadays you can find a variety of boxes made out of metal, glass or PP-plastic. Simply store it in your bag (make sure it's sealed well to prevent leaks) or get a bag with a separate compartment (some even have cooling/heating functions).
Meal Prep with Every. products
Want to know how you can make meal prepping even easier? The answer: Every.! We’ve prepared the meals for you, so we’re really talking about minimal effort. Cooking, chopping and prepping, is all done for you. All that’s left for you to do is prepare the Every. bowl in a pan or microwave and store it in your to-go container. This will take literally 10 minutes of your time. Surely no one is too busy for that! All products are 100% vegan and free of additives or other unwanted ingredients. We also have a variety of options that will cater to any nutritional needs you may have. Whether low carb, protein rich, grain-free–we’ve got it all! And not only is lunch covered, but if you want breakfast on the go, a smoothie, snack or a soup, our menu is filled with options for anytime of day! Make your lunch break extra sweet with one of our delicious, wholesome meals and give yourself an extra bit of time to relax, because the prepping took no time.
The best foods for meal prepping
As mentioned, a green salad doesn’t have a great shelf life, needs to be consumed quickly and therefore isn’t an ideal option for meal prepping. Here is a list of foods that are super compatible for on-the-go food for your (vegan) lunch box.
Grains and pseudo grains: pasta, rice, couscous and quinoa
Potatoes and sweet potato
Legumes: peas, chickpeas, lentils, beans and corn
Vegetables: broccoli, beans, peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, carrots and pumpkin
Variety of vegan meat and dairy alternatives like vegan cheese, soy-burgers or pea-based chicken. Read more about vegan meat alternatives here.
Fruit like berries, kiwi pineapple, apples, bananas and pomegranate
A yummy sauce is always a great way to round off a meal. Chopped or pureed tomatoes are a great base. Coconut milk, hummus, pesto or other dips you prefer can also elevate any meals. For the ultimate experience, add toppings like nuts or seeds for a satisfying crunch.
Popular Dishes for Meal Prepping
Lacking inspiration? We've picked out 5 popular meal prep dishes for you, but you'll have to cook them yourself. Unless you opt for the Every. version, then it's just a matter of getting out a pan and heating them up.
Pasta with tomato sauce and basil or a vegan bolognese
Rice with red or green curry
Lentil dal with rice or sweet potato
Overnight oats with nuts, berries and cinnamon
We totally get the meal prep hype. All of us are familiar with crazy busy days where you feel like you don’t get a moment to yourself. But in these moments, your nutrition shouldn’t be what gets compromised. A nutritious, balanced diet is paramount to your health. Take some time to get organised and start experimenting with some fun recipes. This will become an effortless (and maybe even fun!) routine and your health, your body and your bank account will thank you for it!
Curious for more? Check out these articles:
- Healthy Dinner – What's Best for You and Your Body
- Healthy and Long-Term Weight Loss
- Superfoods – How 'Super' and How Healthy are They Really?
- Gluten-Free Eating – More Than Just a Food Trend
- Vegan Eating – Everything You Need to Know