Ordering food delivery is like having candy; a treat, but too much of it can be bad for your health and wallet. Whilst opting for takeout is a much more convenient choice when dining at home, making your own meals can be a healthier and cheaper alternative. But, if you’re someone who shudders at the thought of having to cook and clean up every day, meal prepping might be just what you need.

Sure, it might take a bit more effort to have your meals planned out, but it can save you a whole lot of head-scratching and a ton of washing up over the week. If you’re a novice at preparing meals ahead of time, check out these tips below for an easier meal prepping experience.

Important: Refrigerated cooked meals are only safe for consumption for up to around four days. This means that rather than getting all your meals settled within a day, it is more ideal to have two separate prepping sessions a few days apart.

Finish up leftover ingredients

5 Tips to make meal prepping at home easier during Phase 2

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Have any leftover ingredients lying around your kitchen or your fridge? Finish them up by using them for your meal prep. Whether they are some mushrooms, eggs or onions — all of which can be great additions to your dishes — use this opportunity to get creative with what meals you can cook up.

Apart from being able to clear out your stock, this is also a good time to get updated on what items need to be eaten soon or thrown away. Besides, making use of stuff you already have is a great way to save money.

Choose ingredients that can be cooked different ways

5 Tips to make meal prepping at home easier during Phase 2

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Another way to maximise your ingredients is to pick ones that can be prepared differently; potatoes, eggs, fish and chicken are just some of the great options.

Potatoes are an excellent pick for the way they can be enjoyed boiled, baked, steamed or fried. Chicken, on the other hand, can come in the form of wings, grilled cubes or even steamed slices. Bread alone can also be used a variety of ways; consider breading your chicken with some breadcrumbs before frying for a crispy exterior, or spicing up your salad with a handful of croutons for some crunch.

You might be using the same few ingredients, but you’ll get to enjoy them in different ways.

Have one or two staples for each meal

5 Tips to make meal prepping at home easier during Phase 2

Image: Ella Olsson/Unsplash

Thinking of what components to make up your dishes can be difficult and a headache. If you have a favourite ingredient or two, consider making them as sides or staples for each meal. This way, you can already fill up some portions of your meals and only have to switch up the rest of the items.

If you’re afraid that you’ll get sick of your go-to ingredients — because too much of a good thing can be a bad thing — try preparing them using different methods. If you’re a fan of potatoes, why not have them baked or mashed for variety?

Prepare various sauces

5 Tips to make meal prepping at home easier during Phase 2

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A simple trick to spice up your prepped meals is to come up with a variety of sauces. They are not only fairly easy and quick to whip up, but each flavour can add a different touch to each meal.

If you’re not sure what sauces to go for, you can look to your dishes for reference on what could go nicely with them. For safer options, try classics like mustard, mayonnaise and barbecue which pair well with meats or seafood.

If you’re new to the concept of meal prepping, it can seem like a daunting task. However, with some tips and a bit of practice, we’re sure you’ll get the hang of what works best. Apart from enjoying the fruits of your labour, don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the process of cooking.

Feature image by Ella Olsson/Unsplash