Since low carb diet requires to cut down on carbs – most fast food and snacks found at grocery stores become off limits. That’s why, you have to start thinking in advance about what are you going to eat. That’s where some keto meal prep steps into the picture. It doesn’t matter in what situation you are, having food prepped in advance will keep you full, satisfied and stress-free any day of the week.
In general, prepping your meals in advance can be a bit annoying. However, it’s annoying only at the time of prepping. Once you’re done – it brings you joy for the rest of the week.
In this article you will find some essential tips for efficient and time + money-saving keto meal prep, including tips that help to execute it right. Once you execute it right, you will save loads of time and energy over the week.
Why Keto Meal Prep Makes Sense?
Well, if you’re reading this article, you probably struggle with your week ly meals and keto meal prep already started to make sense. However, to (re)assure you, here are some of the main reasons why you indeed should prep you meals.
It Will Save You Time (And Spare Some Headaches)
Time saving is one of the most obvious reasons why it is indeed worth to prep your meals ahead. As many of us have the 5 : 2 schedule (in this case, I’m speaking about work days vs weekends and not intermittent fasting), shopping for food everyday is a tiring and quite annoying experience.
So, choosing to do the weekly shopping in one day will indeed save you a lot of time. You’ll be able to use that time for activities that you actually enjoy doing. Also, keto meal prep and planing ensures the least possible amount of food waste. And let’s admit it, wasting food is pure sadness.
When you plan your meals, you will shop for essentials only and reduce the possibility of impulse purchases. Such purchases can happen anytime you step into the store (especially if you’re hungry).
Also, not having to think about what you will eat for the whole week gives your mind the freedom to focus on other things or simply relax. So, planing your keto meals is a complete win-win situation.
It Will Save You Money
Even if saving money is not on your goal list, when you prep your keto meals, it will happen naturally. As you know, buying in bulk is always cheaper.
However, if you are actually doing the keto meal prep in order to save money, here are some tips to cut down the keto shopping costs:
Buy in bulk – as mentioned before, buying products in bulk always results in saving money. So, think about the products that don’t expire fast and stack them up.
Use special offers – buying in bulk will save you money, however, buying in bulk things that are easy to store and are on special offers or discounts will end up costing you even less.
Buy and cook in season – before you start your keto meal prep, think about vegetables that are in season now. Once you know you non-starchy vegetable choices, you can cook with them. Seasonal vegetables are a lot cheaper than the ones that are not.
Try the farmer’s market – this tip will work great for vegetables, dairy and proteins. If you go to the farmer’s market you will most likely get your meal ingredients for a lower price. Not only that, the ingredients will be fresher and in many cases organic. So, this way you will be saving money, time and will be eating healthier products.
Don’t buy packaged foods – it doesn’t matter if you’re buying proteins or vegetables – never choose the packaged versions. First, the price is likely to be higher, also when you take the whole foods, you can select the ones you like most. Also, in most cases they will be fresher.
Grow your spices – in general, if you have the possibility – even grow your own vegetables. However, in the modern world, there’s very few people who have the time to grow vegetables, so even by growing spice herbs you will not only save money and have spices on demand – you will also enjoy fresher ingredients.
It Can Help You Achieve Ketosis
For many people achieving ketosis sounds like a challenge as it involves some attention-to-details requiring math when you calculate macros.
However, if you choose to do the keto meal prep, you will need to make your calculations only once a week, instead of calculating your macros on a daily basis.
Also, having your meals prepped will reduce the risk of getting off track and ensure that you will reach ketosis as planned on your schedule.
You’ll Be Free of ‘What to Eat?’ Question for a Week
Making the What to eat decisions at least three times a day, everyday, is in fact tiring. Sometimes you don’t even notice how you spend a lot of your time focusing on what to eat instead of your work. That’s very distracting and keeps you losing focus throughout the day.
Resolving the What to eat question in advance saves you time and energy especially if you have a busy day or a busy week ahead of you.
Just imagine the situation when all your food arrangements are already planned in advance and your only job is to eat. How great is that?
It Keeps You on Track and Motivated
Even though this advantage of keto meal prep is the last on the list, it’s actually one of the most important ones.
Making a food schedule is similar to making an exercising schedule. It’s easier to stick to it and it helps you achieve your goals faster.
If your goal is weight loss, by doing the keto meal prep, you will know exactly what you’re eating and how much of carbs, calories and food in general you are consuming.
When you stick to your plan – you start seeing results faster. Seeing results faster keeps you motivated and on track.
So, if you do the keto meal planning and have your food sorted out for the week, you are most likely achieve your weight loss goals and will see real progress and results on your body.
Following any diet requires having an iron will power, keto or not, so better do everything you can to help yourself to stick to the original plan.
Doing the keto meal prep only requires a couple of hours per week and results in saving you tens of hours of time. By preping your meals you will save time, money and energy, keep yourself on the right track, keep yourself in ketosis (or will reach ketosis). Most important, you will see real results and stay motivated.
How to do The Keto Meal Prep?
Once you know the benefits of the keto meal prepping – time for the actual keto meal prep. Here you will find the essentials of effective meal prepping that works for keto and any other diet or meal plan.
As you know, effective meal prepping leads to saving time, money and energy. So, here are the 7 essential steps to take and consider in order to plan out your meals successfully for any week.
Take Care of Storing
Since you’re cooking food for longer than a day – you should take care of storing it. It’s best to do that before you actually start making the food. Otherwise, you won’t have any pace to put it. Not storing food properly can result in it expiring before actually being eaten.
In general, higher quality food containers usually cost a little more than those that you can purchase at any supermarket. However, they’re capable to keep your food fresh for up to 5 days and that’s exactly what we’re looking for when making the keto food prep.
Also, quality food containers come with warranties that last 20 to 30 years or even a lifetime. So, in case they don’t reflect the quality you expected, you can always return them.
Another thing you should be paying attention to is the durability of the food containers and what you are going to use them for. If you are planing to use you food containers for meal transportation or heating the meals in the microwave – make sure that they’re indeed microwave friendly.
If you have a dishwasher at home and plan to wash your food containers in it – make sure that your food containers are dishwasher safe.
As you can see, even food storing, that seems like such a simple thing to do requires the right preparations.
Take Care of Kitchen Gadgets
Now that you took care of the food storing, before we start the actual keto meal prep, we need to take care of the kitchen gadgets.
Since our goal here is to do the meal prep efficiently, you should make sure that you have essential kitchen tools and gadgets that can save you time.
For example, if you enjoy making creamy soups – do you have an electric blender to speed up the process? If you enjoy adding fresh garlic to your sauces – do you have a garlic squeezer? That’s just a few examples of tools that can get handy.
Don’t get confused, you shouldn’t start buying hundreds of gadgets for the kitchen. If you do that, you will end up with a lot of things that will clog your kitchen space and that you use only several times a year.
So, before buying anything, give yourself some time and think about which tools could actually speed up the process of meal prepping and cooking in general.
Efficient Keto Meal Prep with up to 2 Proteins Per Week
Usually, the protein is the star of the dish and all of the garnishes are adjusted accordingly. That’s why having a maximum of 2 different protein choices per week will ensure that you don’t over-shop for the ingredients.
As you know, each protein has a selection of vegetables and other condiments that work nice with it. So, select a couple of proteins and try working with them.
If you don’t mind eating the same protein 5 days in a row – that could make your keto meal prep even easier and cheaper. As mentioned before – buying in bulk is always cheaper.
Select Recipes That Have at 3 Matching Ingredients
Just like with selecting a couple of proteins will make your keto meal prep easier, same goes for garnishes. If you choose recipes that have at least 3 matching ingredients – you will save money and the prep will be a lot faster and easier.
Also, if you want your meal prep to be time efficient – choose simple recipes and don’t over-complicate the whole process. Don’t choose dishes that require more than 7-8 ingredients or take more than 30 to 40 minutes to prepare.
If you think that using the same 3 ingredients for each of your meal will make them boring – it won’t. The secret to great dishes lies in quality ingredients and spot-on seasoning.
Many diverse cuisines use the same vegetables, proteins and other ingredients. So what’s different about them you wonder? The seasoning and cooking techniques, of course.
To make dishes that are made from similar ingredients taste completely different – you need to get creative with the spices. Even a touch of heat from cayenne or a sprinkle of turmeric can change the dish completely. Such small changes in spices can help you vary between different cuisines from all over the world and keep on using the same ingredients.
Go Shopping Before You Start The Keto Meal Prep
Now that you took care off picking recipes that you are going to cook – time for some shopping.
To make the shopping more efficient be sure to group products that you will need. For example, if you will need tomatoes for 6 meals, write down the total amount of tomatoes. This way your shopping list for the meals will be a lot shorter.
Also, you can take the food grouping an extra step forward. You can group the ingredients by type. For example put tomatoes, cucumber or anything else, under the vegetable category. Or put chicken and beef under the meat category.
By doing so, you will find everything you need in the store faster and will save time. You won’t need to walk in circles to get similar products over and over again.
Start the Keto Meal Prep
Now that you’re done with shopping – time to start cooking. By saying cooking I mean the actual meal prep.
How much you prep actually do depends on how much time you want to spend on food making during work days.
For example, if you don’t mind spending 5 to 10 minutes cooking chicken in the pan, making the meal prep will be simply putting the chicken to marinade or seasoning it.
TIP: if you know that you will be having an extra busy week, be sure to include soup into your keto meal prep. Most vegetable soups taste even better after a day or two. The broth becomes even more flavorful and it only require re-heating.
Once you’re done with all the chopping and the cooking, make sure that you arrange your meals. To put it in other words – store them in order.
Store Your Prepped Meals Correctly
Now that you have some of your foods cooked, some marinaded – time to arrange them. You’re probably going to use most of the space in your fridge. So, you should arrange it to have an order. Otherwise, you can get lost between the different food containers. Here are some useful tips for arranging food:
- Put the containers with food that you’ll need only by the end of the week in the back. This way they won’t interfere with those that you will need at the beginning of the week.
- If components required for the same meal are in different containers – store them close by. This way you will find them quickly in the fridge.
- If you have made foods that you will eat everyday (such as keto bread) – store it in a side shelf. This way you will have easy access to it at any point of the day or week.
- Keep a list of you meals. Even though you did the keto meal prep and ordered our food – it’s easy to forget which meal comes after which.
NOTE: store smartly – never put raw meat together with other foods.
Enjoy Your Meals in 20 Minutes or Less
Congratulations! Now you have all your keto meal prep done. You’ll be able to enjoy delicious meals everyday, without the need to put a lot of effort into them.
It doesn’t matter whether you prep only for lunches or for the meals that you’ll be eating during the week. What’s important is that you feel better and organized.
As long as you spend less time on solving the what to eat and when to make food questions – you’ve done your keto meal prep right. So, enjoy!