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Getting Started with Meal Prepping

January is the month of new resolutions, goals, exercise and diets. This is the time we resolve to get better in many aspects of our lives, and a big one is incorporating healthy food habits into our daily routines. With the limitations of our lifestyle, it seems to be extremely tough to eat healthy on a consistent basis. The availability and convenience of fast foods, deliveries and snacks make it even harder. It is important to remember that in order to eat healthy, YOU must want to do it. A lot of it comes down to discipline and determination. 

One of the most effective ways to get started with healthy eating is meal prepping. Meal prepping (or make-ahead meals) is a smart approach to making delicious, home-cooked meals because it gives you control of what goes into your food, allowing you to customize it based on your health goals. The biggest advantage of meal prepping is not having to worry about what you are going to eat next. While it may seem like a complicated and long-drawn out process, it doesn’t have to be.

Below are some tips to help you get started with meal prepping.

  1. Plan the time: This is probably the most important thing. While preparing all your meals for the entire week is not complicated, it certainly requires time. Plan ahead and decide what day(s) and time you’ll be cooking. It can either be done once a week or twice a week (once over the weekend and once mid-week), based on your schedule. 
  2. Plan your recipes: If you are into cooking and experimenting, that’s great. But if you aren’t, don’t worry. The internet is your best friend! There are plenty of apps and blogs that provide easy meal prepping recipes that virtually anyone can follow. Pick out your recipes for the week and make a grocery shopping list. If your meal planning is based on a specific goal – such as gaining muscle or losing weight – then you may want to plan your ingredients to suit your goal. Try and pick meals that have overlapping ingredients to make your shopping easier and ensure wastage is minimized. This will also help you save money.
  3. Get high-quality storage containers: This might seem unimportant but hear us out. When you’re preparing food for the entire week, you need to ensure your containers are air-tight and able to hold hot or cold food. This will preserve all the flavours of the food and is also extremely convenient because you do not have to switch containers every time you need to eat. Glass containers are ideal because their lids are tight, and you can microwave them when you need to eat. They are also dishwasher safe, making clean up a lot simpler. We definitely do not recommend plastic containers, (even BPA-free ones) as they can contaminate food, causing hormonal imbalances.
  4. Do what is sustainable for you: This is as straightforward as it sounds. We often tend to beat ourselves up about not being able to cook elaborate feasts with fancy ingredients like our friends or colleagues who meticulously track macros for every meal they make. This probably leaves you wondering why you are not able to do the same. This kind of thinking will stall your meal-prepping journey even before it has started. Never try to keep up with others. You need to do what is sustainable and workable for you, because that is the only way you will be consistent.

Meal prepping helps with monitoring your portions, eliminating unnecessary snacking and reaching your health goals quicker. Since you have already planned your meals, it will be a nutritious one as opposed to eating out or eating frozen foods. Remember: There is no one right way to meal prep. Pick methods, schedules, recipes and ingredients that fit your goals. With a little bit of planning, effort and time, you can be a meal prep expert.
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