You have no doubt heard the phrase ‘meal-prepping’. Since 2013, the idea of having pre-prepared meals has skyrocketed as people aim to have easier, healthier lifestyles. A healthy lifestyle can be time-consuming. This fact led people in the fitness and health industry to maximise their time by developing meal prep ideas that benefit their busy lifestyle, keep them on their balanced diet, and save them time.
Besides a good workout routine, eating a nutritious meal is crucial whether you’re aiming towards weight loss or weight gain. ‘Everything in moderation’ is a popular phrase for a reason: controlling your portion size using multiple meal prep ideas, even with healthy meals, is vital. Still, the idea of meal preparation harboured some concerns for people. Professionals discussed the decrease in nutrient value, and how food that is not stored correctly can cause more harm than good. So the question is: were professionals correct in their concern for the loss of nutrient value, and if so, is there a way around it? Answer: yes and yes.
Meal Prep Basics: Where to Start
If you haven't meal-prepped before, you may have researched meal prep ideas and discovered the wonderland that is overnight oats and why everyone needs a slow cooker. But there are some basics to decide on first.
Whether your diet is keto, low carb, vegan, or another diet base, what matters most is that you decide on the meals you want to prepare first. After knowing exactly what you want to make, choose a day suitable for your schedule to do your grocery shopping. Saving time is the main point of meal preparation, so ensure you note down your list of healthy ingredients before heading to the store.
It's advised to choose meals that allow you to still save time, even with prepping. For example, the magical overnight everyone talks about is popular because of that specific reason: throw everything in a jar and greet it in the morning again, no cooking required. It makes for a nutrient-rich breakfast that will fuel you for many hours. While saving time is certainly convenient, keep in mind that it’s also a great way to control your portioned meals, ensuring that you aren’t tempted to over-indulge.
Many people decide to do what’s called batch cooking. This requires people to cook one specific recipe in a batch and divide it into portions that will be frozen and eaten over the next few months. Individually portioned meals are also recipes made in batches and divided, but in this scenario, they’re refrigerated and eaten within the next few days. This is particularly handy for lunches during the week, whether for work or for school.
Nutrient value and how to preserve it
When you make the effort of deciding on your meals, shopping for particular nutrient-rich ingredients, and prep meals to encourage a healthy lifestyle, the last thing you want is to have your food lose its nutrient value. One way food loses its nutrient value is through the meal preparation process. Certain vitamins, like the potato’s B and C vitamins, will dissolve in water during the boiling process. To preserve a larger amount of vitamins and other nutrients, you may want to consider alternative cooking methods like grilling, steaming, or even microwaving.
Of course, these nutrients can be consumed in other ways after cooking. The same potato water you use to boil your potatoes can be turned into a soup. You may want to investigate recipes that make use of cooking water so you have options to choose from.
Another way that nutrient value decreases is through incorrect storage. The biggest investment you can make in your meal preparation and health journey is the correct storage containers.
The correct storage methods
Meal prep containers are essential to ensuring you eat fresh food high in nutrient value. BPA free containers are your best option for preserving the nutrient value in food. Ideally, you’d like to ensure that the container you choose is an airtight container so that it’s leakproof. A sealed container ensures no external air will interfere with the quality of your food and, naturally, it will prevent any liquids from spilling over into your refrigerator.
Having multiple airtight containers of a similar size, specifically for lunch and dinner prep, also allows for easy storage in the refrigerator. It creates more space and allows for organisation in your fridge. BPA free containers are the safest option for all types of storage, not only meal preparation. Science has proven that those containing BPA have a not-so-great impact on many things, including immunity and neurological problems, an increased likelihood of Alzheimer’s, childhood asthma, cardiovascular disease, and more.
How to wrap up your Meal Prep
It’s clear the importance of correct meal preparation methods as well as the crucial aspect of having the correct storage containers for your pre-prepared meals. The efforts you take in your recipe research, shopping for ingredients rich in nutrient value, and your meal preparation won’t be as effective without the correct storage containers. If you’re searching for an aesthetic and moisture-free way to store your spices, click here.