Meal prep can be a daunting task, whether you’re prepping for one person or a large family.

This article from The Kitchn simplifies the process: identify your mealtime pain points and needs; choose your prep-ahead foods; and make a meal prep plan. Dig into the article below.

Searching for new, healthy recipe ideas? Check out some of my favorites!

The Beginner’s Guide to Meal Prep

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Scroll through the #mealprep hashtag on Instagram and you’ll see image after after image of impressive and perfectly organized meals portioned out, ready to go. So impressive! So colorful! And sometimes so intimidating, right?

If you’re thinking about taking charge of your own weekly eating through meal prep, those images can be both inspiring and overwhelming. Do you want to start, but just don’t know where? We’re with you! Let us show you how easy and doable weekly meal prep can be. Just start here with this playbook to get you going.

What Is Meal Prep, and Why Do It?

Before we really jump in to the nitty-gritty, I want to make sure we’re on the same page about what meal prep is — and what it isn’t.

Meal Prep Is: Dedicating a block of time to batch-cook ingredients and/or prepare full meals for the week ahead to make feeding yourself and your family easier each day.

It can be as simple as chopping a bunch of veggies for salads and stirring together a sauce for the week, or as involved as cooking and portioning full recipes. Meal prep should make feeding yourself and your family easier. It gives you a head start on the week, and helps you feel more in control of what you’re eating and how you’re spending your time.

Meal Prep Isn’t: A one-size-fits-all process that looks the same every week, for every household and person. It also does not necessarily mean prepping, cooking, and portioning every single meal for the week ahead. Unless, of course, that’s what you want it to be. What works for one person might not work for another, and that’s okay. It also might not look the same from week to week, as schedules or needs can shift or change.

What’s the Difference? Meal Prep vs. Meal Planning

Meal prep and meal planning are both tactics that make getting weekday meals on the table easier, but they’re not the same thing. Meal prep is the process of setting aside a block of time to prep ingredients and/or cook meals for the week ahead, while meal planning asks and answers the question of “What’s for dinner?” by choosing recipes that best fit your needs and schedule. While the two can work hand-in-hand, they don’t have to. You can be a meal prepper even if you’re not a meal planner, and vice versa.

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