10 tips to nail meal prep

20 April 2017 by
First published: 9 February 2017

These 10 tips to nail meal prep will reboot your diet and get you closer to your body goals…

How much do you value your health? It’s the question meal preparation company Professional Gains prompts when discussing the importance of preparing your meals ahead of time and the useful tips needed to successfully do it. No longer only a ritual for bodybuilders and athletes, meal preparation has become equivalent to exercise in achieving desired health and fitness goals.

With meal prep services such as Professional Gains and Marco’s Muscle Meals on hand for those with limited time, eating healthy has never been easier. Planning and organisation can be seen as the key to staying on track with nutrition. With these handy tips you can nail meal prep like a pro.

Vary your meals

While making a large quantity of a healthy meal that you love may initially seem like a great way of saving time and money, throughout the week you’re likely to lose interest. Without a varied selection of meals those unhealthy alternatives will look twice as appealing, even if you do have the healthy option ready. Simple switches in how you prepare your protein or your choice of veggies can help you to use the same ingredients and save money while keeping your meals interesting.

Plan ahead

You may want to start with preparing two meals per day for the week ahead, but as the number of meals increases in alignment with your goals the time taken to prepare will also increase.  For many, Sundays are specifically put aside for meal prep as planning when you will prepare your meals can make just as much difference in success as your choices in foods to include.


Water-based veggies such as cucumber or lettuce may not make for the best end of the week meals, as they can’t be defrosted. However, freezing your prepared meals or even just sections of them, such as the protein or grains, can help you keep your meals stay fresher for longer as well as free up space for storage in the fridge.

Bulk up

For many, meal prep is viewed as being extremely time consuming as most of us would rather binge watch Netflix shows than spend two hours preparing meals for the days ahead. However, buying in bulk cuts out that daily trip to the local supermarket with mid-week top-up visits only focusing on resupplying staple items. In most stores, buying in bulk often comes with money-saving deals as an added benefit alongside the time saved from fewer journeys.

Follow a plan

Variation in meals is crucial for staying motivated, as is a focused plan of action. Try to align your meals with your goals and maintain a careful balance between your micro and macronutrients. Without a plan, regardless of how healthy the meals may seem, getting the physical results that you’re aiming for may not happen (even after hours in the gym!). A nutritionist or personal trainer can usually give the best advice on the structure of your plan while making sure each week isn’t the same.

Roast vegetables

Unlike steamed vegetables, roasted veggies can be frozen and will maintain consistency, flavour and nutritional value. A great alternative if you feel like a change from raw vegetables, roasted veg can in some instances also contain fewer calories as preparation usually uses less oil than alternative methods of cooking.

Keep it simple

When preparing meals, it’s best to follow simple recipes rather than challenging yourself for the sake of an Instagram post.

Invest in gadgets

A smoothie maker for those fruits that look like they’re about to go off. A slow cooker for cooking protein without standing over the stove for hours. A spiraliser for cutting chopping time in half. A way of saving money on bulk buy foods that didn’t quite last as long as well as infusing versatility into meals, investing in food gadgets can be a great start to investing in your nutritional health.

Follow your grocery list

Shopping on an empty stomach alongside stopping to consider promotional deals are sure ways to go off track when grocery shopping. As challenging as it may be to follow your grocery list to the letter, it can make the difference in the financial, health and time-saving benefits of meal preparation.

Identify bad habits

For some, skipping breakfast may be their downfall; for others it’s an evening takeaway. Whether you’re missing meals because you’re busy or because you’re tired, identifying the routine will be the first challenge to confront when meal prepping. If you’ve lost count of the amount of days you’ve missed breakfast, be sure to meal prep your morning meal even if you don’t do the rest. Vice versa if you’re constantly making bad dinner choices, make prepared dinners your priority.

Meal prep is essential for achieving your fitness goals but it’s just as important to have some cheat meals in order to stay sane. ‘Learn more about your body to figure out the calories that are best for you,’ says Rachel Parsons from Meal Prep Haven. ‘And stay active!’ Creating new healthy habits and maintaining consistency is the secret to nailing meal prep.