7 Meal-Prepping Mistakes You’re Definitely Making (and How to Fix Them)

I’ve consistently meal-prepped every week for almost two years. I’m not bragging. It just means I’ve learned a lot about meal-prepping and have made every mistake in the book. Beyond general cooking technique mistakes (you don’t want to know how many times I’ve sliced my finger or burned the sweet potatoes), there are some specifics to preparing food in bulk. Here I break down the most common mistakes and share tips on how to avoid them, because the smallest changes can be what you need to really stick to your meal-prep #goals.

1. When you think you know how many meals you need but don’t accurately plan.

A workweek is five days, so you need five dinners, right? Not always. What about that happy hour that you know will turn into an all-night affair and maybe pizza for dinner? When we don’t plan for the right amount of meals, we buy too much food. That means we’re wasting our money and throwing out wilted produce at the end of each week.

I work hard to keep my food waste as low as possible, and planning my meals properly helps a lot. Before getting down and dirty in your kitchen on meal-prep Sunday, look at your calendar to count exactly how many breakfasts, lunches, or dinners you’ll need that week, especially during the summer when your social life ramps up. It’s always better to have less than more, so nothing goes to waste.

2. When you think you’re the type that can just throw together a meal without a recipe, but you’re not.We’ve all done this: Head to the grocery store (hungry and tired AF after a long day at work or a night out) and just throw random items in the cart. Water chestnuts? Sure, why not?! Our inner chef comes out, and we think we’ll just whip up a few meals for the week. Then we get home, and we’re staring at a bunch of ingredients that don’t make any sense. Water chestnuts and spaghetti? Meh.

Don’t be afraid to use recipes. Actually, you should definitely use recipes, especially for meal prep, so you know exactly how much you need to buy. The organization of selecting recipes then making a grocery list (somewhere it’s less likely to get lost, like in the notes app on your phone) will just make your life easier in the long run.

3. When you think you’re an adventurous eater, but you’re not.

Meal-prep is half convenience and half sticking to a healthy meal plan. Save the stepping outside of your comfort zone for restaurants. When you’re preparing healthy meals, stick to what you know you enjoy (nothing is wrong with baked chicken and veggies!). But don’t be afraid to use spices, sauces, and sides to change up the flavors. Think about it: You can have a barbecue chicken with sweet potato wedges one day and a spicy one with a bean salad the next.

4. When you think slicing and dicing veggies for an hour sounds domestic, but

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