One of the things that makes keto (or any type of diet you follow) easier is planning your meals in advance. I’m currently doing my PhD, and my husband is working at the Uni as well, so that means we’re out most of the working day. To avoid eating out every day I started cooking bigger portions of food, so that we can eat it for dinner and then for lunch the next day. This not only saves us money, but also saves me the hassle of trying to figure out what’s keto-friendly out there (so far Bar Burrito has been my go-to with their naked burrito bowls, and they even offer a full nutritional information table on their website so you can track your macros). There are a couple of ways to meal prep – you can either cook all your weekly meals on a Sunday, or, the way I do it, you can make dinner and have leftovers for lunch. Whatever method you choose, here are some of the things that will make meal prep easy and fun:
Take some time on a Sunday and make a plan for all the days ahead. I usually start with a Sunday dinner and make my way through the week. With my weekly meal plans here, you have that bit sorted. If you find something on my plan that you don’t like, just substitute it with something else. My plan is fairly simple – what’s for dinner one day is for lunch the other, and I make sure all the food I make can stay in the fridge for a day or two, and most of it can be frozen for some other days. It’s important to have diversity in your planning, and I try to include different types of meat and veggies in my plan, so we don’t get bored with minced meat and brocoli every day. I also make a combination of soupy stuff, like casseroles or sauces, and more dry foods, like salads, steak or frittatas. I’m currently trying to avoid chicken because I might have an intolerance to it, so it probably won’t feature in my future meal plans.
Having good food containers is very important. We used plastic ones in the past but I found that using them a lot causes significant wear and tear from cutlery so we switched to glass ones, which are also more eco-friendly. The containers need to be able to go into the microwave, the freezer, and the dishwasher if you have one. The containers we use are these from Amazon. Unfortunately, they are currently out of stock, but just to give you a general idea. We love them, they are easy to wash, the sizes are perfect for 1 portion, and they don’t stain or keep any smells. Try to find containers that are both useful and fun, so they will make you happy when you bring them into work. Some nice ones can be found in Tesco, IKEA, Argos, Lakeland, and for a more colourful option there’s Paperchase (where you can also get amazing lunch bags, because who doesn’t like a stylish lunch) and Monbento, where you can find cutlery custom-made to fit into their containers.
- Shopping for groceries
I try to do my weekly shopping on Sunday to get all the ingredients I need. The only things I don’t buy are the ones with very close expiration dates, and just get those when I need them. Doing all your shopping in one batch helps you not buy stuff you might not need, and it’s a great way to track your food expenses. Another good practice is to go shopping when you’re full so you don’t buy excess amounts of food just because you’re hungry. If you get your groceries delivered to you, then it’s even easier as you can just tick everything you need straight off and have it brought to your home (also don’t do this when hungry).
The reason why I don’t prep all my meals on Sunday is simply because it would be too time consuming, and I’m afraid it would compromise my lovely relationship with cooking. I really love to cook and see it as relaxing more than a chore, so having some time each day to cook is my way to unwind (apart from days when I’m super tired or just don’t feel like doing anything, and that’s when the husband steps in with his amazing skills). You can do it either way, just make sure it fits your schedule and you enjoy it. Food should be enjoyable, and as soon as it becomes stressful or tedious, change it. Some things that help with having fun while cooking are listening to good music, cooking together with your partner, child, pet, or whoever you want, and, for me, listening to podcasts (my current one is Lore, which features urban legends and folklore tales from all around the world). Find what you like and trust me it will make cooking so much more fun.
Well there you have it! I hope you find some useful tips in here and perhaps try out meal prepping if you haven’t already. If you do meal prep, share some of your own tips and tricks, and some of your favourite meal prep recipes.
Thanks for reading!