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5 ways to make meal prep easier

Prepping food for an entire week can seem like a lot. But it doesn't have to be overwhelming! Here are a few steps to make it easy.
/ Source: TODAY

Prepping food just for one meal can be intimidating, so making enough for the whole week, well, it can be flat out scary. But following the advice below will have you at pro meal prepper status stat. You’ll fast forget about the time before it was part of your normal routine. Let’s get started now:

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1. Dedicate a day.

Not a whole day, but working a couple of hours into your weekly schedule to allow for meal prep, and staying consistent about it, will make you much more likely to stick with it.

Sundays are famous for shopping and meal prepping, but if you tend to have a couple of hours Wednesday night, that just may be perfect meal prep time for you. Once you choose a day, dedicate two hours to your prep, including clean up. Schedule it in your calendar. Once you get the hang of it, some days might be even faster to get the job done. Looking for new recipes? Check out our Start TODAY meal plan.

2. Invest in containers.

Clear, glass containers are ideal for stocking your fridge. They allow you to see everything at first glance, and you can forget worrying about the dangers of BPA or chemical leakage from your old, overused plastic containers.

Before you get prepping, don’t forget to do a quality clear out of your fridge. Getting rid of old take out containers and making room for all of your new, healthy prepped meals will make it that much more exciting to grab and go throughout the week.

3. Choose a protein, grain and veggies.

Make multitasking a breeze by choosing a protein like chicken that can go in your slow cooker while quinoa simmers on the stove top, and all of your veggies roast away in the oven. Throughout the week, you can easily use these "bases" to make different combinations and prevent food fatigue by topping them with different sauces, chopped fresh veggies or toppings like pickled carrots, sauerkraut, or even an over-easy egg.

4. Plan for leftovers.

Make a little more than you may think you need. Any excess food can always be packaged and frozen to be defrosted at a later date. No need for frozen TV dinners when you already have homemade three bean chili ready to be heated and served.

Three-Bean Chili

Foods like muffins, oatmeal, soup, chili and sauces all freeze near perfectly. Just make sure to avoid freezing lettuce that you plan to eat fresh (and not blended in a smoothie). Its defrosted consistency is less than ideal.

5. Account for snacks, too.

Don’t forget to account for the 3 p.m. hunger that strikes every day and leaves you running to the snack cabinet for something salty, sweet and not-so-nutritious. Prep bags of chopped ingredients to make your favorite green smoothie. Pop air popped popcorn and portion into small snack containers. Even that bulk bin buy of mixed nuts is basically begging to be packaged up and made into "fast food."

For more tips on how to live your most nutritious life, follow Keri @nutritiouslifeofficial.