Meal prepping has become a popular technique practiced by many for some years now. Being an Indian, I felt meal prepping Indian food a little bit more complicated than Western foods at first because of the elaborate ingredients and cooking procedures. But because of health reasons and an innate passion for cooking I have fallen in love with meal prepping Indian food to save time, money and eat healthy throughout the week.
Many people think that cooking and storing food in the refrigerator can reduce its nutrients and also create unhealthy food habits in the long haul. I do agree with this concept but if your body is ready to accept the food you eat, there won’t be any issues sticking to a different pattern of cooking and eating everyday. If you’re facing any complications by eating refrigerated food, you should definitely skip this process of meal prepping; because it has its own advantages and disadvantages.
If you are a beginner or getting started with meal prep and weekly meal plan ideas for Indian cooking, follow these step-by-step instructions,
Step 1: Produce Shopping
The first step involves shopping for fresh produce and other pantry ingredients for the week. I usually shop for fruits, vegetables and dairy products on a weekly basis and all the staples are done in a monthly manner. You can check out my weekly meal planner schedule to get an idea into how I prepare my meals every week.
I follow this standard grocery shopping list to plan my Indian meals. I usually buy fruits and vegetables for the week. This week I have brought watermelon, mango and guava for the fruits and brinjal, bitter gourd, tomato, cucumber, carrot, chayote, spring onion, spinach, mint and coriander leaves for vegetables.
Wash them in water and dry them under sunlight for two hours before chopping and storing them for the week.
Step 2: Meal Planning
If you write down what you are going to cook for the week and then go out shopping, you can do this process first and then shop. But I shop and then plan with what I have on hand because it saves time and also money because I grab my opportunity on seasonal vegetables and produce on discount.
After my grocery shopping, I write five breakfasts, lunches and dinner ideas for the week. Sometimes, I plan out each day of the week in advance and write them down. On days, you would love instant or take out meals, write them down too.
Creating a meal plan for your family totally depends upon your interests, family favorites and time schedules. I will advise you to write a meal plan and then meal prep for the week for convenience and comfort.
Step 3: Chopping and Prepping
You can check this link to buy fruits in five different varieties. I buy vegetables in their varieties such as, root vegetables, green vegetables, watery vegetables and cruciferous vegetables. And rotate them based on my liking and the seasonal availability.
After washing the vegetables and drying them for 2 hours. Chop them and separately store them in boxes and use them as required.
Indian food requires wheat flour dough, cooked lentils, boiled legumes and idly batter. These are some staple items which I prepare every week with my meal planning schedule.
Step 4: Cooking
I would like to have 6-7 cooked foods on hand for the week. When I have some side dishes ready, it takes only 10 minutes to cook the mains such as rice, chapati, dosa or idly on the day. In this plan, I have done six different recipes for the week which I would use on different days and have given a clear meal plan schedule for it.
I cooked spring onion sambar, garlic gravy, tomato curry, bitter gourd fry, mint and coriander leaves chutney and stuffed brinjal fry for the week. The rest of the foods that I will cook for the week include turnip chops, turnip korma, spinach curry, chickpea salad, mung sprouts salad and chayote lentil curry. Snacks are either store-bought or made on the day.
Step 5: Storage
I use acrylic and food grade boxes for storing cooked food in the refrigerator and plastic containers for chopped vegetables. Store them in the top and the middle shelf of the refrigerator. I stick to my meal plan to ensure that I use the chopped vegetables as soon as I can before going for a new item.
Most of the recipes stay good for at least five days because it‘s cooked and stored in the refrigerator. I use a dry spoon to take out a portion of food every time and leave the rest in the refrigerator. This is a traditional method I follow to prepare Indian food and consume it throughout the week.