Organize your meals for a healthier life

By Maria Montemayor

Posted on May 24, 2021

Meal prep

Since coming to Canada, you may believe that convenience is a luxury. Between adjusting to your new job and taking your kids to school, the last thing you want to do is waste time. You may notice that in the midst of all the rushing some things may be pushed aside—like preparing nutritious and healthy meals for yourself and your loved ones. Fast food, which is quicker and seems cheaper, becomes a go-to-meal.

If you’re ready to take control of your diet for better health and nutrition, you can start with meal preparation (meal prep). Meal prep or meal planning is a convenient and cost-effective way of preparing and packaging your meals ahead of time in order to control your portions and maintain a healthy diet. To learn more tips on how to make healthy food choices, check out this article by The Newcomer.

Types of meal prep

  • Prep raw ingredients — Prepare all of your ingredients for multiple meals and store the ingredients in your fridge or freezer and take them out when you need to cook. For example, you can peel and chop carrots and potatoes and place them in jars or bowls with water for later use.
  • Bulk meals — Cook multiple meals (like stew, pasta, and mashed potatoes) at once; place them in large containers and store them in the fridge or freezer. You can easily use the same ingredients, like cabbage or blocks of cheese, to prepare various dishes.
  • Individual meals — Prepare a variety of food (like salad, corn, and cooked chicken); portion them in single-serving containers and then store them in the fridge. This type of meal prep is good for school and work lunches. For example, if you have a busy week ahead, you can cook a meal for each weekday at once, and then eat your meals over the week to save time.
  • Make a meal ahead of time — Cook a meal (for the family or just for yourself) and store it in the fridge or freezer to eat later in the day. For example, you can prepare dinner earlier in the day, so that it is ready when you come back from your commitments.

How to prep

  • Purchase food storage containers or Tupperware.
  • Research healthy and delicious recipes of meals you would like to make and eat.
  • Plan days and times during the week to prep your meals.
  • Buy the ingredients that you need.
  • Start meal prepping!

Benefits of meal prepping

1. Save time

Instead of worrying about what food to cook or purchase for the day, you’ll already have your meals planned for day, the next few days, or the week (depending on what you prep for). You will also have less dishes to wash since you already cleaned all of your kitchenware ahead of time.

kids prepared lunch box

2. Save money

Contrary to the idea that healthy eating is unaffordable, preparing your meals saves you a lot of money because you can purchase ingredients in bulk and refrigerate or freeze extra food for later. Also, you spend less money buying fast food and takeout.

3. Manage your hunger

Meal prepping helps you manage your hunger because you can eat food before or as soon as you get hungry. Managing your hunger means that you won’t eat too much or overindulge when you eat a meal because you are not starving.

4. Control your portions

When you prepare your meals, you know exactly what you are feeding your body, and you can control the amount. With meal prepping, you can control how many calories you add to your diet for weight management.

meal prep

5. Stress relief

If buying groceries and cooking food has been a source of stress for you, meal planning can make things easier since you’ll now have a list to stick to for your groceries and a food plan for the week. The Newcomer has an article on how to manage stress that could help you address this and other sources of stress.

6. You become a better cook

Meal preparation can expose you to a variety of new recipes that suit your tastes. You can look up recipes that are vegetarian, vegan, or pescatarian (if you prefer to eat fish as your meat source). If you or family members have any allergies, you can prepare meals that omit ingredients that trigger allergic reactions. You can also watch YouTube videos of meal prep tutorials. As you grow in your understanding of meal prepping, your cooking will get better.

cooking as a family

7. Encouraging and inspiring others

When your colleagues, relatives, and kids see how you prepare delicious and nutritious food, they may be inspired to join you or follow in your footsteps. You may be able to get your spouse or kids to help you during meal preparation time and turn it into a learning and bonding experience.

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