What is Meal Prepping?
Meal prepping is the practice of preparing whole meals or dishes ahead of time usually a week before or if frozen, up to six months beforehand.
What Does Meal Prepping Look Like?
The conventional way of meal prepping is bulk cook a certain meal/protein + the sides for it. Then divide them up into individual meals that can be reheated throughout the week.
It’s popular for busy people, and will provide a quick grab from the fridge for a fast home cooked meal, but as an avid meal prepper, here’s a few limitations I’ve experienced on my journey to health.
Limitations of Conventional Meal Prepping
- The same meals can become redundant + boring.
This can make ordering take out very very tempting. Sometimes, that temptation combined with the ease of obtaining foods makes it practically irresistible, which can thwart your meal prepping efforts.
2. The same meals lack variety.
This can negatively affect your gut micro biome. Your micro biome has 10,000 different kinds of bacteria. Eating the same foods over and over again can affect the population ratios, creating an imbalance.
3. The longer food is cooked or stored, the less nutrients it has when you eat it.
Completely cooking meals ahead of time is great, but your veggie dish cooked 5 days ago, won’t have the same nutritional value as the dish cooked 30 minutes ago.
There’s a Better Way!
Here’s some good news: there’s totally a better way to meal prep.
Awhile back, I was introduced to the concept of “Flexipes” by the Kitchen Wizard, Mari Suzuki, and instantly fell in love with her method.
Mari’s meal prep is different from conventional meal prepping.
Based on Japanese principles (who btw eat 90% of their meals at home cooked in their teeny tiny kitchens with minimal food storage/refrigerator space), she developed this method after healing her own health issues.
How it Works
Basically, you’re prepping ingredients, yes, but then you’re mixing + matching and building on the previous meal as opposed to making one or two different meals and eating those throughout the week.
- Prep ingredients (2 times more than what you normally would)
- Store prepared ingredients in the fridge/freezer
- When it’s time to eat:
- Eat as is for a snack/side/salad
- Mix + match ingredients with prepared protein to create a VERY quick meal
- Eat + enjoy
- Use the “leftover” as a foundation for the next meal
- Eat + enjoy
All of the details are in Mari’s cookbook, “Kitchen Wizard Flexipes: Simple Time-Saving Secrets for Tasty Global Cuisine”.
In her cook book, she includes 7 bases that can be used in an a ton of dishes with minimal time, effort, and cost. She explains exactly what to do and how to do it as well as ingredient prep tips, seasoning + storage tips.
What I Love About This Method
- There really are no boring “leftovers”
- No redundant meals
- Allows you to be creative
- Allows maximum variety
- Creating a new meal is easy with Flexipes
- Flavor is not compromised!
My favorite base recipe is the “Mirapoix Meat Base”. It’s versatile! We love using it as a main meat dish, stuffing in gluten-free spring rolls, a side itself, or as a general flavor booster for other dishes.
Does Meal Prepping Really Save Time?
Short answer (to save you time), YES. Meal prepping, especially using Mari Suzuki’s method, absolutely saves time (and money AND energy).
But with learning any new skill, it takes a little bit of time, practice, and patience. And after a few times, you get the hang of it. Something clicks and that’s really when the time savings kick in.
When I’m working as a nurse, I pack my lunch for every shift, my daughter packs her lunch every day for school (today she’s bringing curry tacos + veggies), and my partner packs his two meals every shift as well. We’re able to do this because we prioritized putting a meal prepping system into place that works and we can rely on.
Totally worth it.
Check out Mari explain her method here.
To learn more and get started, check out marisuzuki.com and download Mari’s free awesome resources: “The 3-Step Cooking Process That Will Save You 30 Minutes/Day This Week” and “Batch Prep Quick Start Guide”.
Be sure to sign up for updates + her free trainings like her 1-Week Cooking Challenge. She also offers a membership program as well as one-on-one services for ongoing support.
Have a great meal prepping tip? Feel free to share below!
Want to make better food choices?
Hi, I’m Melissa!
I’m a holistic nutritionist dedicated to helping people make better food choices easy so they can find + meet the right health goals for their bodies and feel like themselves again.