You read my Becoming a Meal Prep Pro guidelines. You have your menu, recipes, and ingredients in hand. It’s time to get prepping! Follow these make ahead tips and no will ever know you didn’t slave all day in the kitchen. Ready, Set, Meal Prep!
- Label all prepped food items with the name and date prepared. Follow the FIFO Rule – First In, First Out. Organize your fridge and freezer accordingly to use older items first. Prepped items shouldn’t stay in the fridge longer than 3-5 days to maintain freshness and safety.
- If an item needs to be cooked or baked, follow the instructions up to the time it needs to go into the oven. Some items may need to cook for twice as long due to being in the cold fridge, so take note of the cooking times.
- Aluminum foil is often important to place on cold items when placing them in the oven. This helps to create steam and cook the food, while preventing the top from burning while the inside is still cold. Remove foil for the last 15-20 minutes of cooking to create even browning.
- Proteins have varying times they need to marinade. Thick, tough cuts of meat may need over 24 hours, while certain fish or plant-based proteins only need 15 minutes. Trim your meats/proteins and wrap tightly in both plastic wrap AND a baggie to prevent leaking. Prepare any marinade and store separately. Marry your protein and marinade together on the day you will prepare the item, being mindful of the amount of time needed to sit.
- Whole grains can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes to cook. Make a large batch once a week, and store in a container to reheat during the week for a quick side dish and season as appropriate per meal.
- Veggies are best when they are cooked as close to eating them as possible, so get your veggies washed and prepped, but cook them on the day you plan to enjoy them. Make sure to store in airtight containers to prevent losing those important nutrients!
- Salads can be mixed and made ahead for quick serving during the week. Make sure all greens and veggies are as dry as possible to prevent early spoilage. Mix and store dressing separately. Add dressing, nuts, fruit, and any cheese when serving to prevent a soggy salad.
- If an item has been stored in the freezer, DEFROST, DESROST, DEFROST! This will ensure even cooking time for the food item. View these tips for safely defrosting your food.
Helpful Meal Prep Downloads
What other tips do you have that keep your meals fresh and tasty? Share in the Comments below!
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