10 Strategies For Better Meal Prep in 2024 – HexClad Cookware

10 Strategies For Better Meal Prep in 2024

by HexClad Cookware

10 Strategies For Better Meal Prep in 2024

Meal prep doesn’t have to be a slog. In 2024, why not resolve to do meal prep better? Here are our tips for getting big batch cooking done without too much stress.

Plan what you’re going to cook in advance

We’re not saying you have to make a spreadsheet to get organized for meal prep, but you will be happy to have your recipes selected and your shopping list ready at least a day or two before heading to the supermarket or placing a grocery order. If you’re someone who likes to cook what’s in season and prefers surfing the farmers’ market the same day you intend to cook, it’s worth giving some thought to the types of dishes you want to prepare. Same goes for the recipe-averse: Even if you’re going to set out without exact quantities, choosing the types of ingredients and styles of dishes will make your meal prep so much easier.

Create a prep day routine for big batches

Part of better meal prep is making the prep itself less tiring. Getting ahead with planning and shopping helps, but so does making a plan for the day, too. Make a check list of the tasks, and figure out what you can do simultaneously. Clean the countertops off before you start, and wash any dishes in the sink. Consider a regular treat that’s part of finishing the meal prep, too. 

Consider doing a bit of mise en place in advance

Come meal prep day, you might be glad that you already sliced the onions for your soup or mixed the spice rub for the lamb roast. 10 minutes here or there to accomplish one task will help make meal prep more manageable.

Don’t just rely on one pot or pan

Part of making a good meal prep strategy is thinking through the pots and pans you have. Planning to make three soups that all require your 8-quart pot will make the prep take way too long. Instead, think about using a variety of pans. For instance: make a chicken stir fry in your wok, a batch of one pot pasta in your 5.5-quart deep sauté pan, and boil a bag of rice in your Dutch oven.

If you’re following a special diet, explore new ideas

If you eat a special diet, then you’re likely familiar with doing extra work to make sure your food is how you need it to be. Whether you are vegan, gluten-free or need a high-protein diet, finding the right recipes takes a bit of extra work. All this can mean a bit too much repetition. Instead, build in some time to explore new ideas.

Stay organized and label everything

Nothing is more handy for meal prep than a permanent marker and a roll of masking tape. Keep it in the drawer with your regular tools so that you can easily jot the date you cooked a bolognese on a freezer-safe zip top bag or stick a piece of tape on a jar of homemade vinaigrette. That way, you won’t wonder what that mystery food is or when you have to eat it by.

Stock your pantry to make shopping easier

Meal prep isn’t just about cooking—shopping and stocking your pantry are part of it, too. Consider a quarterly big shop to load your pantry with ingredients. Give priority to the ones you go through regularly, especially ones for dishes on repeat. Long-lasting ingredients like grains, pasta, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, spices, and flours do have a shelf-life, however, so take a page from a restaurant's book and do FIFO. That’s first in, first out. Make sure to add new ingredients behind the old ingredients. To get really cheffy about it, write on the containers themselves in permanent marker when you bought them and when to use them by. Having a well-organized pantry not only cuts down on food waste (since you’re less likely to forget about ingredients), it allows you to easily “shop your pantry,” finding unexpected inspiration for the week ahead.

Get the right containers

A batch of chili or a slew of roasted veggies and whole grains are no good if you have no way to store them. Invest in high-quality food storage containers in a variety of sizes. Containers that are microwave and dishwasher-safe are great, but make sure to check they’re freezer-safe, too. Clear containers help avoid food waste since family members can see at a glance what’s ready to eat. If you plan to pack lunch for yourself or other family members, consider picking containers that have dividers and an airtight seal to avoid spills.

Your freezer is your friend

Part of doing better meal prep is enlisting your freezer. Stash extra portions of leftovers, or double up a favorite recipe and freeze half to help your future self. Stock the freezer with frozen vegetables, cooked grains, and other regularly used ingredients. 

Make it easy to eat the prepped food

It might sound silly, but actually remembering what you’ve cooked (and getting other family members to help themselves without asking what to eat) takes a bit more than just cooking. Organize your fridge so that all the prepped food is at eye-level. Label the containers with the name of the food and the date cooked. If you want to take things up a notch: Make a list of everything cooked and put it on the fridge.

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