There is nothing more essential to the art of meal prepping than variety. Imagine you’re favorite meal. Now imagine eating that same meal every single day, 3 times per day, for a week, a month, or even a year. Do you think it would still be your favorite meal? No. Why? Because like anything else in life, without variety you would get bored, and much like anything else, the more bored you become with meal prep the less likely you are to continue it.
When deciding what to meal prep for the week it’s cost effective to look at meals that share the same basic ingredients, but that doesn’t mean that the meals have to taste the same, or even similar. For instance with only these seven ingredients: bread, parmesan cheese, fresh herbs, chicken, oranges, pears and sweet potatoes, you can make four dishes with uniquely different flavors and tastes.
- Curried Chicken with Pears
- Chicken with Parmesan, Herb, and Garlic Crust
- Sauteed Chicken with Pears and Sweet Potatoes
- Orange Glazed Chicken with Pears
You might have noticed that these four recipes do not have the exact same ingredient list, and they aren’t supposed to. If they did, they’d taste too similar and you’d get bored. But they do share the same main ingredients which will help cut down on your grocery bill.
Many meal preppers choose to eat one type of meat all week so that they can buy it in bulk. Although buying in bulk saves you money, it does no good if you get bored with your lack of variety and step outside the bounds of your meal prep for a meal or two. In doing so, you’ve basically just thrown away your bulk bought savings. Instead, you can buy a few smaller cuts of meats or seafood and prepare the same (or multiple) dish(es) with protein substitutions.
For instance you might decide to have Curried Chicken with Pears one night, followed by Tilapia with Parmesan, Herb, and Garlic Crust, then Sauteed Pork with Pears and Sweet Potatoes the next night, ending finally with an Orange Glazed Salmon with Pears. In this case you would use the same recipes from above and simply substitute out different protein options (and adjust cooking times accordingly). Changing only one ingredient throughout each recipe offers you an even greater flavor variety.
The best way to guarantee that you’ll stick with something is by making sure that you love doing it, and that it stays interesting and exciting. Meal prepping is no different. If you find that you are in a rut with your recipe choices or cooking methods, switch it up and try something different. If you don’t, you might eventually lose interest and once that happens it’s very hard to pick back up where you left off.
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