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10 Things To Know Before You Start Meal Prepping

Thinking about starting Tasty's Make-Ahead Meal Plan? Here's everything we learned.

Jenny Chang/BuzzFeed

Tasty's Make-Ahead Meal Plan is a full week of easy recipes that are meal prepped ahead of time.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

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To make sure the plan was actually doable (and delicious!), we asked two first-time meal preppers to try it out. Meet our testers:

• Michelle: "I cook every now and then, but I'm not much of a meal prepper. I understand that it's probably super helpful, but I have always seen it as a bit overwhelming, TBH. Hopefully this week will open my eyes."

• Brenda: "I cook everyday for work, so when it comes time to cook for myself.... well, I just don't. To be honest, I have eaten out almost every day this month (and have spent way more money than I care to admit), so cooking for myself will be a nice change of pace."

During the week, they learned a handful of things that helped them meal prep and stay motivated. Here are 10 of their best takeaways:

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1. Think of the time you spend prepping as time you'll get back later in the week.

Michelle No / BuzzFeed

"TBH, the most underrated benefit of meal-prepping is all the headspace you reclaim by not wondering what you'll eat next. So, even if you do spend three hours meal-prepping on Sunday, think of all the time you'll end up saving throughout the week. There were some nights when I literally did not know what to do with the unexpected extra hour I had. (LOL JK, I watched the new season of New Girl.)" —Michelle No

2. Tracking your food expenses can shed light on spending habits you didn't realize you had.

BuzzFeed

"I hate to admit this, but before this plan, I ate out a lot. Like, A LOT. This plan not only saved me money, but it made me realize just how much of my money was going to food each week. (And I wasn't even thinking twice about it.) Sure, I'm still going to eat out every once in a while, but I'm way more conscious about my spending and what I choose to buy now." —Brenda Blanco

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3. The prep day is the hardest part, but once you get past that, it's actually pretty easy.

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"When I first read through the grocery list and instructions for how to prep, I was overwhelmed. It seemed like it would be a lot of work, and I was nervous about the time commitment. Turns out, the meal plan actually saved me time during the week. Yes, the shopping and prepping will take you a few hours, but after that it's actually SO easy. Don't let it overwhelm you, and realize that the plan only gets easier as the week goes on."—BB

4. Grocery store rotisserie chicken is a lifesaver.

Michelle No / BuzzFeed

"One unexpected thing I learned is that I need to buy a cheap grocery store rotisserie chicken every week until the day I die. It's super cheap, fairly healthy, and honestly saved me SO. MUCH. TIME. Normally, I buy a pack of chicken breasts and cook one per night, but having all my protein pre-made and ready for me to pick off of every day was a game-changer. "—MN

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5. And Greek yogurt is the most underrated topping ever.

Michelle No / BuzzFeed

"I've never thought to use Greek yogurt as a taco or rice bowl topping, but I literally can't stop putting a dollop of the stuff on top of every meal now. I mean, I love Tzatziki sauce (which is made with Greek yogurt), so I don't know why I'd never thought of it before. I guess that I'd just gotten in the habit of using certain ingredients in certain ways. But this taught me that it can be really versatile." —MN

6. If it's your first time meal prepping, the week might not be perfect.

Michelle No / BuzzFeed

"Personally, I think that you need to try out meal-prepping for at least two weeks. The first week will be tedious and time-consuming, because you'll be buying foods you may never have looked for in your grocery store before, re-reading through your shopping list, and making foods that you might later realize you don't even like. But if you keep at it, your second week will be cheaper, easier, and faster. You can cut foods you don't like, and you don't have to spend like, an hour looking for the rotisserie chicken (hot tip: it's usually at the front of the store, d'oh!)." —MN

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7. Upcycling ingredients is key.

BuzzFeed

"I always imagined meal prepping as eating the same darn thing every day, but it's not actually like that. The trick to making it interesting is to change up the way you use your prepped ingredients. For example, the roasted veggies are used in a variety of recipes from fried rice to mini egg cups, so it doesn't feel like you're eating the same thing over and over again." —BB

8. And so is having legit storage containers.

Michelle No / BuzzFeed

"Pro tip: Invest in containers that seal properly and won't spill your lunch into your purse. There's no point in prepping foods in bulk if your foods dry out (R.I.P. my rice), wilt, or generally go bad by the time you're ready to eat them. Look for Tupperware that snaps shut, or if you're really trying to do this on the cheap, fit a rubber band around your container for an extra-tight fit." —MN

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9. Don't forget about the food you prepped!

BuzzFeed

"OK, so maybe this sounds pretty silly — but make sure you don't forget about the food you prepped and let it go to waste! One morning, I packed up a beautiful lunch for myself to bring to work, and once lunchtime hit, I realized that I had left it on my countertop. Moral of the story: If you have to write notes, or set reminders for yourself — do it. There's no use in cooking all this wonderful food if you're just going to let it go to waste." —BB

10. Meal prepping is an investment in yourself.

BuzzFeed

"Think of it as an act of self care. Planning out your meals takes time, but it's time spent on YOU. Just like meditating or going to the gym, meal prepping is a simple way to invest in yourself and your health. It only takes a few hours every Sunday, and it's a nice break from the world — so put on some music and be proud that you're taking the time to treat yourself to a week's worth of great food. Treat yourself!" —BB

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Ready to get started? Get everything you need to know about starting the plan here. And take a look at the menu below:

Jenny Chang/BuzzFeed

Follow along by getting each day's recipes emailed to directly to you. Just enter your email address below:

(If you can't see the sign-up box above, enter your email address here.)

JUMP TO:
Overview | Prep Day | Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four | Day Five | Day Six | Day Seven

EXTRAS:
Grocery List | Calendar | Printable Recipes | Money-Saving Tips | Things To Know

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