Meal Prep can easily make or break your diet. It can save you time, money, and stress when done correctly. But, what is the use of carefully prepping your meals if they end up going bad before you get the chance to use them? A key factor to proper meal prep is how your store the food after it has been prepped.
Meal Prep Benefits
One of the most important factors of meal prep is the reduced stress from trying to eat healthier. Planning out your meals in advance can set you up for success in achieving and maintaining your health goals. To learn more about how meal prep can benefit you, read Why Meal Prep?
Importance of Food Storage
To ensure that you are storing your carefully prepped meals the right way, you will need to use appropriate storage containers.
Freezer bags are durable and less likely to puncture or tear after long periods of time in the freezer. Therefore, they keep foods fresh for longer periods of time and can slow down the effects of freezer burn.
The rule of thumb to tell the difference between freezer bags and storage bags is that freezer bags tend to be thicker even though they may look the same. I like to take the material and rub it between my thumb and index fingers to check for thickness. Check out my recommendation for freezer storage bags.
Containers that provide an air-tight seal are best to preserve the freshness and delicious flavors of your meals. I like to make sure my storage containers are microwave safe so that I can easily grab and go for work without worrying about transferring it to another plate when warming it up.
How to Store Prepped Foods
Though storage containers and bags are important components of meal prep storage, food storage practices, such as the temperature at which you store foods and the types of food you store, are also crucial to meal prep success.
Refrigeration and freezing are important components of successful meal prepping. Improper storage practices can ruin all your planning and toss your savings out the window. Here are a few pointers to remember…
Refrigeration should be at 40° F degrees or lower.
1-2 days storage for cooked meat and poultry.
3-4 days storage for whole meats, fish, poultry, soups, and stews.
5 days storage for cooked beans.
1 week storage for hardboiled eggs or chopped veggies as long as they’re stored in airtight containers.
2 weeks storage for soft cheese that has been opened.
5-6 weeks storage for hard cheese that has been opened.
(Freezing should be at 0° F or lower.)
2-3 months storage for soups, stews, and cooked beans.
3-6 months storage for cooked meat and poultry (includes ground meat).
6-8 months storage for berries and chopped fruit stored in freezer-safe bags.
8-12 months storage for veggies (if blanched first) depending on the vegetable.
I hope these tips will help you achieve meal prep success. Now that you have the right materials to store your food, read 7 Steps for Meal Prep Success to get started with prepping your meals today.
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