I frequently receive questions about (vegan) meal prep that I will be addressing in this post! These questions include anything from “Should I Meal Prep Saturday or Sunday?” to “How Do You Consistently Meal Prep?”. After many years of consistent meal prepping, I’m confident I can share some interesting insight as I answer each question.
This post is all about FAQ About Meal Prep – Part I!
Should I Meal Prep Saturday Or Sunday?
You should meal prep whenever works best for your schedule! Whether that is Saturday, Sunday, Monday, or any day of the week! That being said… Sunday works best for most people. It is the day before the work week starts and everyone becomes too busy to have time to cook. Making a few hours time on Sunday to prep for the work week will save you many more hours throughout the week.
Do You Meal Prep For 5 Or 7 Days?
I personally only meal prep for three days! Meals maintain their freshness and quality for up to four days in the refrigerator. When I meal prep for three days, it gives me the flexibility to skip a meal and still eat it the next day, while still eating it within four days. I meal prep on Sundays and Wednesdays!
You can definitely prep for five or seven days! Just make sure to freeze the meals you plan to have on days five to seven.
Is It Safe To Meal Prep For 5 Days?
As a general rule, prepared foods including meal prep, maintain their freshness and quality for up to four days in the refrigerator and up to six months in the freezer, according to the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration). Thus, it is not safe to meal prep for five days unless you freeze the meals you plan to have on the fifth day.
How Often Should I Meal Prep?
I meal prep twice per week. Usually, on Sundays and on Wednesdays. On Sundays, I do the biggest meal prep session. I prep breakfasts for the entire week. For meal prep breakfast, I often opt for baked goods, because they easily last up to 7 days. I also make lunches for Monday till Wednesday and dinners for Monday till Thursday (excluding Wednesday, when we have burger night). On Wednesdays, I do a smaller meal prep session and prep lunches for Thursday till Saturday.
You can prep however often works for your schedule, just keep in mind the longevity of everything you prep. You can learn more about how long vegan meal prep lasts in this post.
How Many Meals A Day Should You Meal Prep?
I meal prep three meals per day per person.
However, this entirely depends on your schedule! For most people, it’s most helpful to meal prep breakfast and lunches. Those are the meal times at which most people are the busiest and either tend to skip meals or buy on the go.
How Do You Consistently Meal Prep?
For meal prep to become a habit, you need to start doing it routinely. Over and over again until it becomes automatic and you do it consistently without effort.
To create a new habit, like meal prep, you will need to make a plan!
First, think about what could be your cue to meal prep. What time do you want to meal prep? (time) Where will you be when you want to meal prep? (location) What will you have just finished? (immediately preceding action) Only one of them is needed to become a cue!
Then, consider the reward you will receive from meal prepping. Initially, the intrinsic rewards that are related to meal prep, such as saving money and time, might not be strong enough of a reward to motivate you to consistently meal prep yet.
It might help to get started with meal prep by rewarding yourself with a treat! For example, treat yourself to a takeaway Sunday dinner every time you meal prep on Sunday afternoon. Or, get up early on a Sunday morning, meal prep, and reward yourself with a Sunday brunch afterward.
After a while, you will crave the intrinsic reward of meal prep (saving money and time, healthy eating habits, etc) more than the extrinsic reward (takeaway dinner or Sunday brunch) and meal prep will become a powerful habit!
Learn more about the power of habit in the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg!
Do You Microwave Your Meal Prep?
I do microwave most of my meal preps. If I want to reheat my meal prep at the office, then microwaving is my only option.
At home, I often reheat food in the air fryer or oven. Meals such as Lentil Shepherd’s Pie or Chakalaka Mac And Cheese are so much better when they are crispy on top!
Which Foods Do Not Work Well For Meal Prep?
Fried foods! They just become a soggy mess when they aren’t eaten immediately. Don’t do it!
Another big meal prep no-no is dressed salads. If you wish to meal prep salads, try this Chickpea Salad In A Jar or this Apple Kale Salad In A Jar. When you prep salad in a jar, you make sure to separate the dressing from the salad until you are ready to dig in.
What Is The Cheapest Meal Prep?
In general, the cheapest meal prep is the one that uses legumes as the protein source. Protein, whether meat-based or a meat replacement product, tends to be really expensive. Legumes, such as beans and lentils, are very affordable, especially if you cook them from scratch.
Try the Lentil Shepherd’s Pie, Vegan Black Bean Enchiladas, or One-Pot Cheesy Chickpea Broccoli and Rice Meal Prep.
Did you find this post helpful? Don’t forget to let me know, by leaving a comment below.
This post was all about FAQ About Meal Prep – Part I!