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When it comes to budgeting or just trying to eat a little healthier, many people stumble across the idea of meal prepping. This concept takes away the hassle of deciding what to eat by preparing a week’s worth of food in one day. Although this sounds complicated, it is actually quite simple. Read on to find out how you can get started.

Step 1: Create a menu

When first thinking about meal prep, it is important to think about how many meals you need to prepare. In some cases, people like to prep three meals per day for the next week. Other people simply prep their lunches. Once you figure out how much you need to prep, you should think about the kinds of foods you like. Simple meals are usually easier, such as salads, baked chicken and vegetables, or even a breakfast hash. Try to include foods that will not get tiresome quickly, as well as those that reheat well. Pasta, cheese-based dishes, and eggs would all be poor choices, for example.

Step 2: Purchase prep containers

Once you know what you will be prepping, you need to find containers to hold it all. Over time, most people prefer glass containers, as they are easy to reheat and do not contain harmful chemicals. However, when getting started, it is fine to use whatever you can find. Be sure to buy enough containers to hold all of your food for the week, and when in doubt, buy a little extra.

Step 3: Grocery shopping

At this point, you need to shop for the food you need. Don’t be fooled by your typical grocery habits; your cart will look unusual at first glance, as you buy several portions of the same ingredients with not much variety. This is perfectly normal and to be expected.

Step 4: Prepping

Congratulations, you are ready to prepare your food! Set aside an afternoon to cook all of your food. You will likely be cooking for several hours straight, so make sure you have plenty of time set aside with no immediate upcoming plans. Additionally, try to set up some music or even a movie or two so that you do not become bored after a few minutes. Once your food is cooked, portion it out for the week and clean up.

Step 5: Note any changes

After you have your week prepped, you have nothing left to do but eat the food you made. Be sure to write down any thoughts you had about this process, or about the food. You might find that you needed significantly more produce to make filling meals, or you got tired of the flavors and need to switch them up every few days. Whatever the case, consider these notes when you begin this process over again for the next week.

Meal prepping is not a hard concept, but in execution, it can be difficult to know where to start. Take this advice to have an easier time when making a week’s worth of meals.