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The beginner's guide to meal prepping

Picture this: You open your fridge after a long day at school to find boxes of well-organized Tupperware, all filled with food you made earlier in the week. All you need to get a quick *and* delish meal is to pop a container in the microwave. If you're super busy but still want a convenient way to eat mindfully, meal prepping is definitely the way to go for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

From organizing your ingredients beforehand to making and freezing multiple batches of the same recipe to eat throughout the week, there are so many different ways to meal prep. And while there are so many options, it might take some trial and error to find the method that best fits your lifestyle. Here are some general rules of thumb to help you get started. 

1. Choose your containers 

@techyarc

Meal prep containers come in all shapes and sizes, so there's no need to buy that expensive set of Pyrex bowls at Target. From old Mason jars to Ziploc containers, you can use anything you have in your house as long as it's compatible with your chosen reheating method (i.e. make sure to use an oven-safe container if you're planning to bake your food).  

2. Pick the right foods

@nutritionnancy

Unfortunately, not all meal prep ingredients are made equal. Certain things like roasted veggies and crackers (i.e. soft and crunchy food) don't reheat well. Make sure to stick to grains, pasta, whole fruit, fresh vegetables, beans and cheese for a better eating experience, but don't let this stop you from experimenting with recipes—meal prepping is about having fun with your foods, too!

3. Prep a well-balanced meal

@gainful

A great perk of meal prepping is making sure you get *all* the nutrients your body needs to thrive. For each dish you prep, include some healthy fats, carbs, fruits, veggies and protein

4. Reheating your food 

@panasonic_cookingmea

Our fave part of meal prepping? Actually eating the food! Just be mindful of how long each ingredient lasts in your fridge, and be sure to reheat dishes before they get stale. Food in the fridge usually lasts less than five days, and food in the freezer can last indefinitely. However, this can vary depending on a lot of factors, so be sure to use your best judgement. 

What's your fave meal prepping recipe?
Tell us on Instagram
@girlslifemag for a chance to be featured! 

Slider image: @toplevelnutrition
Top image: @jessysupercute

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by Cathy Li | 4/30/2023
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