In today’s fast-paced world, where we have little or no time to cook every single day and at every meal time, prepping our meals has become a popular tool for eating healthy, saving time, and reducing stress. The idea of meal prep involves making our meals ahead of time, often for a week, ensuring that nutritious and convenient options are always available. This article will provide essential tips for preparing our meals effectively.


1. Plan Your Meals

A well-thought-out plan is the foundation of any realistic and successful meal prep. You can start by determining how many meals you need for the day and week. Plan around your programs and include work, events, and family commitments. Plan for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Choose meals that are balanced and incorporate a variety of proteins, carbohydrates, and vegetables.

2. Create a Shopping List

Once you have your meal plan, write a detailed shopping list. This list will help you stay focused and avoid buying things that do not align with your meal prep goals and that you do not need. Consider buying in bulk for food items like rice, beans, garri, yam flour, etc. to save money.

3. Invest in Quality Containers & Batch Cooking

Quality food storage containers are important for meal prep, so invest in durable, leak-proof, and microwave-safe options, with glass containers particularly beneficial. Batch cooking is also key, allowing you to cook in large quantities of individual components like beans, vegetables, and chicken breasts, which can be mixed and matched throughout the week. This method allows flexibility and variety in assembling meals. You can also cook complete dishes in batches like soups and stews, portioning and storing them in your containers for easy access.


4. Utilize Your Freezer

The freezer is a meal prepper’s best friend. Many cooked foods can be frozen to extend their shelf life. Soups, stews, beans, jollof rice, and some vegetables freeze well. Portion out meals before freezing to make reheating easier. Label containers with the contents and date to track what needs to be consumed first.

5. Keep It Simple

Most importantly, for beginners, simple meal prep can prevent it from becoming stressful and time-consuming. You can start with a few basic recipes and gradually add more. Focus on meals that you enjoy, and that reheat well. As you gain confidence, you can experiment with more complex meals and new ingredients.

6. Make necessary Adjustment

Flexibility is key to meal preparation. Life can be unpredictable, so be ready to adjust your plan as needed. If you have leftovers or an unexpected dinner invitation, factor these changes into your meal plan. The goal is to reduce stress, not add to it.


7. Enjoy the Benefits

The benefits of meal preparation are innumerable. Not only does it save money and time, but it also encourages healthier eating habits. With prepped meals available, you are less likely to opt for unhealthy takeout, junk food, or convenience foods. Meal prep also aids portion control, whether you are aiming to lose weight, gain muscle, maintain your ideal body weight, reverse a chronic condition, or maintain a balanced diet.