How To Meal Prep Without Food Going Bad? [9 Best Tips]

Nowadays, people are so busy that they often lack the time to make fresh meals every day. the latest fashion is to prepare meals in advance. You’ve come to the right site if you want to join the trend and are wondering how to prepare meals without having food spoil.

Before being placed in the refrigerator, the meals must be properly prepared and cooled down. Additionally, always store the food in clean containers. Meals are typically kept in the refrigerator for up to five days.

How to meal prep without food going bad? In this article, I’ll provide some advice on meal preparation to help keep your food fresh and from spoiling too rapidly. If you’ve never planned your meals before, you might be interested in learning more about what it takes and why you should start. Let’s begin, then!

What Is Meal Prep And Why Should You Do It?

Meal prep involves putting together nutritious meals with a menu plan
Meal prep involves putting together nutritious meals with a menu plan

Meal preparation has various connotations. In a nutshell, it involves putting together nutritious meals by combining various items in accordance with a menu plan and keeping them in the refrigerator. Single-serve meals are often prepared and stored in accordance with individual preferences and requirements.

What motivates people to prepare meals in advance? The most evident benefit is time savings when daily meal preparation is involved. For instance, I prepare single or multiple meals in my free time and put them in the refrigerator for the following three to five days. I only need to remove the food from the fridge and reheat it before eating.

Additionally, planning your meals gives you more control over the ingredients. To stay on track with your health objectives, you can build a healthy proportion of elements. You can always eat pre-made nutritious snacks from your refrigerator in place of bad foods like pizza or hamburgers.

Athletes, bodybuilders, fitness models, and others who maintain a healthy diet all benefit from meal preparation. They have control over food portions when they make their own meals. They are completely aware of the chemicals and caloric intake going into their body. It becomes simpler to monitor daily calorie intake as a result.

How to meal prep without food going bad? 9 Meal Preparation Tips

Imagine that you have spent a lot of time making batches of nutritious food to last you the next five days. Even though you kept the food in airtight containers, two days later you discover that it has rotted. So, how should meals be prepared properly to prevent food spoilage?

To ensure that my food stays as fresh as possible, I meal prep as follows:

How to meal prep without food going bad
How to meal prep without food going bad

#1. Select Ingredients That Are Refrigerator-Safe

You should be aware that not all foods are suitable for three to seven days of storage in the refrigerator. So, when planning your meals for the week, you must choose the correct items. Baby carrots, any fruit with a peel, cooked broccoli, and cauliflower, for instance, can be kept for a week or more.

Eggs, pulses, brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, cooked meat, roasted vegetables, sauces, soups, and nuts are other foods that are great for meal preparation.

Sliced fresh potatoes, however, will spoil in just two days. However, full boiled potatoes will keep in the fridge for five to seven days. Raspberries and sliced strawberries, however, are not the best foods to store. Among the foods to avoid when preparing meals are avocados, salads that have been seasoned, yogurt, shrimp, and diced tomatoes.

#2. Allocate time for meal preparation

You should follow a timetable when preparing your meals. It’s not a good idea to prepare a week’s worth of food in one sitting. You can notice that a lot of foods only survive three to four days. I only cook meals on Sundays and Wednesdays because of this. Depending on your schedule, you can choose the day that you will prepare your meals.

I can prepare various meals for the week by meal planning on two separate days. On average, I make meat recipes on Wednesdays and dinners with long-lasting ingredients, like vegetables, on Sundays.

#3. Determine the Number of Meals You Need

You should estimate how many meals you’ll need to eat if you don’t want to waste any food at the end of the week. Take into account the number of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks you’ll need to make. You might need to make more than 20 meals if you are menu planning for a whole week. It can be a little overwhelming to prepare that many meals in one sitting. You can prepare meat and veggies in bulk for convenience’s sake, then use them to make a variety of meals.

Determine the number of meals you need before preparation
Determine the number of meals you need before preparation

#4. Prepare Food at the Proper Temperature

If meat or fish is not prepared to the proper temperature, it may spoil in the refrigerator. Fish, meat, or any other type of food must be cooked to the proper internal temperature.

For instance, cooking meat and poultry internally require a temperature of 165 degrees F. It is 145 degrees Fahrenheit for lamb and mutton. Food prepared below this point quickly goes rotten due to bacterial development and causes digestive issues. Therefore, check that the food reaches the proper temperature with a thermometer.

*** Read more: Can You Cook Pizza On Aluminum Pan? [ Mindyfox ]

#5. Let food cool somewhat before putting it in the refrigerator

To keep food fresher for longer, let meals cool down a bit before storing them in the refrigerator. When hot food is placed in the refrigerator, the steam that builds up in the containers causes the food to become soggy and mushy.

I give my food 20 to 30 minutes to cool before sealing the lids on the containers. But be careful not to leave the food out too long at room temperature. It might be contaminated with bacteria.

#6. Properly Store Your Food In Scratch-Free Airtight Containers

Make sure to fully wash your hands before starting the meal. Cleaning and sanitizing of the kitchen, cooking equipment, and storage containers are required. Bacteria should not in any way get into touch with your food. Getting sick while preparing meals will hasten the premature spoilage of your food.

Use airtight containers as well while storing food in the refrigerator. Fruits and vegetables can be stored in zip-lock bags. Your food will stay fresh if it is sealed in airtight bags or containers.

Purchase airtight containers in various sizes to suit your needs for storing food. You must reheat the food on separate plates if you use plastic containers. Glass containers can be used to reheat food in the microwave.

Store your food in scratch-free airtight containers
Store your food in scratch-free airtight containers

#7. Properly Store And Label The Food

Organize your food in the refrigerator. Avoid packing your refrigerator with too many containers since the air circulation may be compromised. Bacteria will quickly multiply as a result, and your food will rot. This is the reason why I meal prep twice a week. Additionally, you ought to serve your food in the proper-sized containers.

Label the container with the sort of food inside and the anticipated expiration date. You can keep track of which foods to consume first and which foods will last the longest in this way.

#8. Verify The Refrigerator’s Temperature

The appropriate temperature must be used to preserve your food. The refrigerator’s temperature must not rise above 40 degrees F.

Bacteria will spoil the food if the refrigerator temperature rises to between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, the food becomes unhealthy and discolored. As a result, you must always check the refrigerator’s temperature before keeping food.

#9. Make Meals More Varied

Occasionally, if food is kept in the refrigerator for too long, it can become worse. You could grow tired of eating the same thing every day for several weeks, which is one of the reasons meals go untouched. As a result, it is crucial to vary your meal preparation.

Your food should contain a balance of the different nutrients your body needs. Ensure that the meal plan contains a healthy balance of protein, fat, vitamins, carbohydrates, and minerals. 

However, don’t limit yourself to chicken for protein. Include a second item, such as steak or salmon.

Do the same with fruits and veggies. You can have baby carrots on some days and broccoli, peas, or cauliflower on other days. Additionally, provide some diversity in your snacks.

*** Read more: What Color are Pinto Beans? Ways To Make Delicious Pinto Beans

9 Meal-Prep Mistakes That Can Make You Sick

9 Meal-Prep Mistakes That Can Make You Sick
9 Meal-Prep Mistakes That Can Make You Sick

#1. Your body won’t get essential nutrients if you don’t prepare balanced meals

Meal preppers frequently overlook vegetables and healthy fats in favor of grains and meats, missing out on a variety of vitamins and minerals in the process.

Even though an unbalanced meal might not make someone really ill, bad planning practices might eventually result in nutrient shortages that are necessary for a balanced diet and good general health.

#2. You are consuming food that is no longer healthy

It’s crucial to pay attention to the sell-by, best-by, and packaged-on dates on the food packaging you buy. Recording the times you prepared and opened meals is also crucial. Your body won’t get essential nutrients if you don’t prepare balanced meals.

This is because, frequently, the meals you prepare on Sunday are only suitable for consumption until Wednesday or Thursday, and consuming spoilt food can result in illness. Even while cooking large quantities of food in advance and portioning it out for the week has numerous advantages, it’s important for your health to consider how long the food will last.

For instance, the cooked chicken shouldn’t really be kept in the refrigerator for longer than four days, and a newly cooked salmon fillet only keeps for up to three days. Therefore, Sunday dinners aren’t always suitable for eating on Friday. Just be sure to save them for earlier in the week if these meals are on your menu. Another option is to prepare meals twice a week (say, on Sunday and Wednesday) rather than just once.

#3. You are spoiling food by leaving it out too long

Have you ever taken food out of the fridge, dropped it on the counter, became preoccupied with something else, and then it took you a while to get around to eating it? The two-hour rule is a good general guideline to follow even though it occasionally occurs. In other words, throw away food that has been out of the fridge or other adequate storage for longer than two hours.

And reduce that time limit to just one hour if the temperature is higher than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t risk eating food that has been left out, even if it doesn’t look, smell, or taste bad.

Throw away food that has been out of the fridge for longer than 2 hours
Throw away food that has been out of the fridge for longer than 2 hours

#4. It matters where and how you’re storing your food

The longevity of your food depends on the sort of container you use to preserve it.

She noted that if the food you’re preparing for the week isn’t stored correctly, some foods may rot and cause food poisoning.

A regularly cleaned refrigerator that is kept at a temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit will help prevent that awful situation. It will also help prevent bacteria from forming in prepared dishes. Research the best sorts of storage containers, freezer bags, jars, and other storage containers for various types of food since how you store your food will also have a significant impact on this.

*** Read more: Can Mold Grow In The Freezer? Way To Clean Moldy Freezer

#5. Cross-contamination can occur when raw meats and produce are sliced with the same kitchen equipment

Cross-contamination, which can be the cause of a few foodborne illnesses, happens when bacteria or other microbes are transported across items, particularly between raw and cooked foods. And while it’s undoubtedly not something you want to go through, the good news is that it can be avoided.

For raw and cooked foods, use different cooking instruments, and make sure you properly clean them after each use. To indicate which instruments go with which foods, you might also color-code your knives, forks, and spatulas.

#6. You risk getting sick if you don’t fully wash your produce

You are undoubtedly already aware of how crucial it is to wash produce before eating it. However, did you realize there is a proper way to go about it?

In general, it is preferable to rinse fruits and vegetables with water before wiping away dirt and residue with your hands and drying them with a clean towel. However, if you want your product to be exceptionally clean, scrub it with a homemade solution made of one-third vinegar or lemon juice and two-thirds water.

You can then make appropriate adjustments after getting a sense of how your body reacts.

Rinse fruits and vegetables with water before meal prep
Rinse fruits and vegetables with water before meal prep

#7. Your immune system deteriorates if you don’t prepare enough meals and eat enough of them

Because each body is unique, it may require more food than what is specified in a dish or meal plan. In addition to other digestive problems, eating too much or too little might affect your stomach and your immune system.

You may improve your ability to determine how much food you need to flourish by engaging in mindful eating techniques and becoming more aware of your personal hunger and fullness cues. A general rule of thumb would be to fill half of your plate with fruits and/or vegetables, a quarter of your plate with protein, and a quarter of your plate with grains to start because this takes experience. To prevent the accidental spread of hazardous bacteria, store raw ingredients, such as raw meat, in separate containers from ingredients that are ready to eat.

#8. Spreading germs when cooking without washing your hands

The US Food and Drug Administration advises washing your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds both before and after handling fresh vegetables. If not, you run the danger of contaminating your meals with bacteria from your hands.

Meal preppers should wear cooking gloves while handling raw meat or marinating it in addition to cleaning their hands. Simply take them off and dump the food once you’ve finished touching it.

#9. Your grocery shop marketing plan needs improvement

Mistakes in meal preparation might begin in the grocery store, but planning ahead can help assure food safety. For instance, Derocha advised INSIDER to always bag or wrap raw foods—such as chicken and fish—securely to avoid contact with other foods and potential contamination.

Produce should always be picked up first, followed by perishable foods like raw meat, raw fish, and dairy that need to be kept chilled. Conditions that encourage foodborne infections can be avoided by reducing the amount of time away from safe storage.

Similar to this, make sure perishable things are stored correctly and safely as soon as feasible by scheduling a supermarket run as the last on a list of errands or stopping home in between trips.

*** Read more: What Do Grocery Stores Do With Expired Food?

Carefully plan before shopping at grocery for food safety
Carefully plan before shopping at grocery for food safety

Conclusion

How to meal prep without food going bad in advance has a lot of advantages. Meal preparation not only saves a ton of time, but also eliminates the uncertainty involved in determining what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day. It has also been recognized that meal planning is a helpful strategy for forming a healthy eating routine.

However, perfecting the art of food preparation requires practice, and there are several typical meal preparation errors that can really make you ill.

 

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