As a private chef, one of my stable and regular means of income, was to do weekly meal prep for clients. Generally these clients had some sort of specific requirement that needed to be catered for, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, gluten-free, vegan, and of course the most common, weight-loss. But predominantly, they just didn't like cooking, were too busy to cook or didn't have a clue what to cook! More often than not, they ended up living on ready-meals and takeaways. And that's where I came in! But alas, we can't all afford a private chef!
So let me share my private chef tips on how to meal prep successfully in the simplest ways.
Yup, you do need a few basics in the kitchen, aside from pots and pans, to meal-prep successfully -
Plenty of reusable storage containers in a variety of sizes
A couple of good meal-prep cookbooks.
The most important part of your meal-prep is actually the menu planning. You want to look for recipes that are healthy, balanced and nutrient dense. The weekly menu should also be varied. This is where meal-prep cookbooks are really helpful, as they've already planned out the menu's for you, including your weekly grocery list. My favourite meal-prep cookbooks are The ultimate meal prep cookbook and The healthy meal prep cookbook.
Next, order your ingredients for the week, as laid out in the meal prep cookbooks, to be delivered the morning of the day you plan on cooking. For me it's normally a Sunday. I much prefer online shopping as I keep to my shopping list and don't get tempted down the chocolate aisle! Also, the whole point of meal prep is to save time. In addition, if you order your ingredients in advance (not at the last minute) there is seldom any delivery fee. I would typically order mine the day before.
On the day
Block out 3-4 hours for your meal-prep cooking and tackle it all in one go. If you haven't already done so, give the kitchen a good clean down before you start. You always want to be cooking in a clean and hygienic space. Then, take one recipe at a time and methodically work though it, making several portions of each recipe. Once finished, pack in your storage container and pop into the fridge. Then straight onto the next recipe. Also, try to clean-as-you-go so you don't end up with a huge pile of dishes at the end.
And that's as simple as it is!