Meal prep sounds like something a responsible adult with a penchant for gardening and baking might do regularly, but it doesn’t have to be fancy and overly filled with greens if you aren’t going to eat any of it anyway. All it boils down to is preparing food in advance according to your own curated diet or plan, and this could as simple as cutting up the ingredients to be cooked later on, or even getting started on the seasoning early on so you’ll only have to stick the food in the pan whenever you need to cook your meal.

Whether you’re preparing for Ramadan or you’re just looking to have a healthier lifestyle, and you can’t really afford to keep having lunch out and getting takeout for dinner, meal prep is one of the best things you can incorporate in your routine. All it takes is a bit of planning and some time set aside, and perhaps investing in a few containers to store the food.

1. Set aside some time in the week to do your prep

First, before you even decide to go out and shop for food, make sure you’ve set aside a few hours in the week to do your meal prep. We suggest doing this during the weekend, when you’re not too distracted by other responsibilities, as you’ll probably need a few hours, especially if you’ve never really done this before.

2. Make a grocery list (and stick to it)

The whole idea of doing a meal prep is to make sure you know what you’re consuming, and also making sure that you incorporate more healthy foods in your diet. So when you head out to do your grocery shopping next time, bring a prepared list along instead of mindlessly throwing in cereal boxes and junk food that’s half off for the day, and stick to it.

3. Invest in containers, baggies and measuring tools

It can be a pretty big commitment if you’re serious about meal prep, but that’s what happens when you’re trying be healthier. At the very least, grab some plastic containers when you go grocery shopping so you’ll have something to put in the ingredients when you’re done cutting them up and seasoning them in preparation for your meals in the week ahead.

4. Don’t try unfamiliar recipes (yet)

At least, not for the first few weeks when you’re building a routine for your meal prep. It can be difficult to prep for meals that you’re not too familiar with just yet, and it can even put you off the whole idea of meal prep. Start off with easy to cook meals and venture into adding more ingredients and experimenting with seasoning once you’re more comfortable in the kitchen.

5. Prep one week at a time

Preparing food for seven entire days might sound like a huge task, but that’s why we recommend doing so during the weekend, as it’ll definitely free up more time during the week to actually cook your food. Meal prep will drastically reduce the amount of time it’ll take to cook for your meals, and prepping for a week at a time ensures that your ingredients stay as fresh as possible without letting them go to waste.

6. Don’t let the leftovers go to waste

Speaking of waste, if you so happen to have leftovers after a meal, it’s totally fine to eat that for your next meal instead of cooking up an entirely new dish like you’d planned to do. In fact, once you feel more comfortable and creative enough, you could even incorporate those leftovers into your next dish.