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Meal Prep Like A Pro: What You Need To Get Started

Preparing your meals in advance saves you time, keeps you on top of your nutritional goals, allows you to control your portions, reduces stress and saves money while reducing food waste! 

Dietician Anna Debenham took us through meal prepping essentials. Here are the key takeaways!

Designate A Day Of The Week For Meal Prep

Before jumping straight into meal prep, it’s essential to choose a day of the week to meal prep on! This designated day ensures we aren’t left hungry without a meal one day, and the routine turns into a habit!

The most popular day of the week seems to be Sundays! The perfect day to get ready for the week ahead before relaxing.

Write Out A Plan For The Week

A common misconception with meal prep is that you’ll be eating the same repeated meals every day- however, if you create a meal plan for the week, you’re able to choose a few different meals to alternate through the week that you can batch cook on your designated meal prep day! See our example below: 

Weekly Meal Plan

Work with a balanced meal formula

Make sure you include vegetables or fruit, protein, whole grains and fats in your planning.

Balanced Meal Formula

Smart Shopping

Learn how to read a label and make smart choices when purchasing food:

Know how to read a label

  • Aim for >3g fibre per serve when choosing wholegrain products (bread, rice, crackers etc)
  • For low salt products aim for < 400mg sodium/100g (or even better <120mg/100g)
  • For heart health aim for saturated fat <3g per 100g
  • For low sugar aim for <15g per 100g
  • Choose products with shorter ingredients lists
  • Be wary of disguise names for added sugars
  • Don't make assumptions: just because a product is in the health food aisle does not mean it’s necessarily healthy

If you are stretched for time, it's ok to use pre-prepared meals

As long as you make sure you read the label before buying and always check the calories.

Check the Calories

Make sure you use this criteria to choose the healthiest option:

  • 500kJ - 2000kJ per serve
  • 30-50g carbohydrates per serve
  • <2g saturated fat per 100g
  • <400mg sodium per 100g
  • At least half the meal should be vegetables. If not, add extra-vegetables at home

Batch cooking

Prepare all of your meals and snacks for the entire week on just one day of the week. In other words, it means cooking larger portions so you can save some for later.

Important tips for batch cooking:

  • If store each portion in the fridge, make sure you eat it within three days.
  • If store them in the freezer, remember to defrost in the fridge and allow it at least 24 hours for each 2.5kgs.
  • Defrost food should be eaten within 24 hours.
  • Never refreeze food.

To batch cook efficiently, make sure you stock your kitchen and prepare ingredients ahead of time. Here's a list ingredients that freeze well:

  • Peeled and Chopped Fruits packed into individual servings to avoid food waste
  • Most vegetables can also be chopped individually packed and frozen. Vegetables that do not freeze well are cabbage, cucumbers, celery and potatoes.
  • Meat & Fish: Freeze them in small portions so you only defrost what you need and avoid waste.
  • Fresh herbs, cooked rice and grains

Interested in improving your diet?

We recommend you take the WellBeing test to assess the impact your diet has on your body.

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