A Guide to Quick & Efficient 2 hour food preparations
How to Meal Prep: Mastering your food prep is an art. You need to time everything just right so that the oven and stovetop are being utilized efficiently. You also need to learn to use your time effectively and ‘fill in the gaps’ so that you have no downtime. You need to stay busy the entire duration of your food prep process in order to get everything done and loaded in the correct order and within 2 hours. Believe it or not, it can be done! Imagine all of the time you can save preparing all your meals at the same time in just 2 hours, rather than trying to prepare food every time you eat or pack meals every night. However, you don’t have to start this process blindly. I have had plenty of trial and error and years of healthy food prep experience that has to lead me to believe these steps are the most efficient!
Remember, when it comes to your diet…
“You must prepare to succeed or prepare to fail!”
1. Preheat your oven. 425 degrees recommended, because remember, you will be cooking a lot of food at once so you need the oven to be hotter or it will take much longer to cook your food in bulk.
2. Set out all your food, seasonings, cutting boards, utensils, pots, and pans you will be using for the cooking process. Also, begin defrosting any meat you will be using that may be frozen. Fill your sink with cold water and place the meat in the water inside its package.
3. Begin cooking all the food items that take the longest to cook. For example yams and squash can take up to 2 hours in the oven. This is usually what I start with so that when I am finished these items are timed perfectly to put in at the very end.
4. Set out all food containers. I like to set them up in rows per meal. For example 3 rows of 5 different meals so when I start putting food in the containers I know what goes where.
5. Begin cooking your grains and making your marinades. Also boiling any eggs at this point if your food prep requires it. Basically, anything you are going to preparing on your stovetop should be done here. Rice cookers are great because they automatically stop when the grain is done cooking and you don’t have to keep an eye on it. Also if you choose to use marinades for your recipes this would be the time you would want to put the meat and the marinade/sauces in the baking container together.
6. Put all your meat on their cooking pans, apply the desired seasoning and cooking oil, and then load it into the oven. Set any additional timers that you need to for each different dish. Remember, fish will be fully cooked first, followed by poultry and red meat.
7. While you are waiting for your grains and proteins to cook you should begin chopping up all your fresh vegetables to the desired size and separating them into desired containers for their use.
8. Place raw green vegetables directly into containers. This way the vegetables are only cooked once (In the microwave) and steamed perfectly instead of heated, then re-heated losing nutrient value. Make sure to leave plenty of room for the Protein and the Carb sides.
9. At this point your grains and sides should be ready to load into your containers. Be mindful of measuring out your desired portions accurately in each food container.
10. While waiting for everything in the oven to finish cooking take the time to start cleaning up or bag raw vegetables and fresh fruits for snacks and smoothies.
11. The meat, squash, and potatoes should be the last items done. Finish measuring out your carb sides and use a food scale to weigh out your meat portions.
13. Then Cover, Stack & Store your meals to enjoy for the rest of the week. Remember Prepared food only stays good for 7 days. So don’t make more then you need for a week and if you can’t eat it all it needs to be frozen or thrown out.
**Remember: Healthy Balanced Meals contain Protein, Good Carbohydrates & Healthy Fats**
If you don’t know what your Protein, Carb & Fat portions should be for your food prep Click Here for a Nutrition Plan right for your body!