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Meal Prep Expiration Help!

NeuroticVirgoNeuroticVirgo Posts: 3,620Member, Premium Member Posts: 3,620Member, Premium Member
Hi. I really want to meal prep. I think if I could do a bulk of it on Sundays the rest of the week would be easier to stay on track BUT my food seems to go bad. I see posts like this all over the internet. How is everyone keeping their food from turning gross after only 1-2 days? Is it certain containers or is their a rule of thumb for certain foods on how long they last? If I prep Sunday I'm usually having to trash anything not eaten by Wednesday.

I need help, I feel like so much food keeps getting wasted becaus it goes bad. Especially pre cut fruits or veggies.

Advice, blogs, links anything to help would be appreciated. Thank you.

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Replies

  • RelCanonicalRelCanonical Posts: 832Member Member Posts: 832Member Member
    Maybe they're just doing it for the instagram photo and it looks bad for them after a few days too.

    But some things do last longer than others. I keep as much uncooked as possible, and keep "wet" things (that tend to seep) separate from "dry" things, often in a separate container.
  • kimny72kimny72 Posts: 10,687Member Member Posts: 10,687Member Member
    It really depends a lot on what you're making. If you notice in the top picture, the broccoli is separated from the meat with a line of cheese, so it's separating one moist food from the other.

    I tend to meal prep on the two extremes:
    1. Cook and store each part separately, and then just combine them in my to-go container in the morning to take to work.
    2. Make a one pot meal and put 3 containers in the fridge. Then I bring a sandwich or something easy on Thurs and go out to lunch on Friday. Stuff like soup or casseroles or chili I'll freeze any portions beyond that 3 day max.

    I don't have the magic touch to make anything look as pretty as that picture, and I doubt they still look like that on Friday anyway :wink:
  • bvff35bvff35 Posts: 72Member Member Posts: 72Member Member
    I meal prep and dont have problems with it going bad. I even prep salads for all 7 days on Sunday. Everything thrown into the same container, including the dressing. Never have issues with it going bad. Hopefully you can figure out what is causing your food to spoil. Good luck.
  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Posts: 35,562Member Member Posts: 35,562Member Member
    Is it actually going bad or does it just not look appetizing. I don't meal prep like that. The only prep we do is make some quinoa or something on Sunday so we have a big batch of it for the week and grill a bunch of chicken or other protein. It's all cooked and we just throw our actual meals together the day of or night before as that has always seemed more fresh to me.

    We also don't do it that way because we often have leftovers from dinner that we can take for lunches, especially this time of year when we're doing more soups and stews and casserole type dishes.
    edited February 13
  • h7463h7463 Posts: 549Member Member Posts: 549Member Member
    I try to keep as much as possible separated, when I prep food in advance for any reason.
    It always seems the dates on even the same foods depend on a variety of circumstances (delivery date to the store before purchase, cooking times, spices used....Summer/Winter...temp setting of the fridge...).

    There is a source, that would be helpful to match foods with similar expiration dates:

    https://foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/storagetimes.html

    Of course this isn't inclusive of all healthy stuff we want to eat, but you get the idea.

    Best of luck!
    edited February 13
  • Duck_PuddleDuck_Puddle Posts: 2,365Member Member Posts: 2,365Member Member
    I keep things as separate as possible (usually in separate containers. For things like stews or casseroles that are really a serving, I will freeze what I don’t use in a few days. If I get tired of eating something before it’s done, I’ll transfer it to a vacu-suck (foodsaver) container and freeze it in that.
  • puffbratpuffbrat Posts: 1,221Member Member Posts: 1,221Member Member
    Keep ingredients separated until the day you want to use them. Don't wash produce until the day you are going to use it OR dry it very well and put in a strainer before putting back in the fridge. This is especially true of berries and leafy greens like spinach. I don't like to pre-cut produce or cheese until the day of because I find they go back much more quickly.
  • kshama2001kshama2001 Posts: 17,141Member Member Posts: 17,141Member Member
    I prefer to store in glass containers rather than plastic. (Any glass container with any type of lid.)

    My Cuban rice & beans is fine for 7 days no problem.

    I used to make chicken, rice, & peas and chicken & potatoes on Sundays and it was fine through Wed and Thursday. I don't like reheated broccoli so would make that fresh to go with the chicken & potatoes for dinner. (The chicken was whole bone-in, skin-on thighs baked and the starches were cooked separately.)
  • AmeraneAmerane Posts: 134Member Member Posts: 134Member Member
    For cooked foods, make sure you're letting everything cool to room temperature before bagging up and sticking it in the fridge. Putting warm food in a steamy container in the fridge or freezer is a recipe for spoilage.

    For raw foods, you could try storing them in water. I know pre-cut celery, carrots, and cucumbers can be stored this way for a week without spoiling. You could put a little vinegar in the water to keep it fresher. Salads and greens shouldn't be washed until the day of or the day before you're using them.
  • HoneyBadger155HoneyBadger155 Posts: 1,042Member Member Posts: 1,042Member Member
    I tried the meal prep thing and found that things like protein and cooked veggies could be prepped for a week and frozen, fresh items I tended to need a mid-week prep or they'd start going slimy. My issue with prep was that I was running out of freezer and fridge space (I have roommates) and because I can't stand eating the same thing more than a couple times in a row, I wasn't actually saving much time in the end (if any).

    I know a number of people who LOVE to meal prep and it works really well for them, but most of them seem to do it twice a week (large weekend prep and a smaller mid-week prep).
  • craziedanicraziedani Posts: 212Member Member Posts: 212Member Member
    I meal prep on Sunday and it last me a week.
    For salads: I keep the lettuce and the toppings separate and just grab two containers. dressing as well doesn’t go on until I’m ready to eat it.


    Also for salads I keep the proteins that I use separate as well.

    For other stuff: I have those containers from Costco that are separated, so I have my veggies in one of those sections, protein in the other and so forth.

    Also for veggies, I like to make a second batch of veggies mid week, and make sure that everything is cooled before I seal them and put them in the fridge. pg8htkox7wzw.jpeg

  • sarabushbysarabushby Posts: 338Member Member Posts: 338Member Member
    If you don’t use one already, could be worth getting a fridge thermometer and checking the temperature of your fridge. Many home fridges are not actually at the temperature they show. (So I’ve been told by friends who work in Environmental Health).
  • purplefizzypurplefizzy Posts: 83Member Member Posts: 83Member Member
    I second the glass containers. Everything seems to keep much fresher in them.

    I batch-cook stuff that doesn’t get compromised by a few days time (shredded chicken, pork, blended soups) and I add in fresh veggies and combine food groups as needed.
    I store proteins either in glass, pre-portioned in freezer bags, or, if tritip, whole- and slice daily as needed.

    I don’t like what time does to pre-cut vegetables (very few exceptions- jicima will hold for a bit in water) so I do those daily, mostly with a mandolin to save time.

    I batch-toast nuts and seeds, and keep them separate in a jar to use as needed.

    I’m weird about my roasted veg; I’ll pre-chop and season but I roast them nearly daily.

    Herbs are my hardest part- I go thru a TON of mint and cilantro and have yet to master keeping it fresh. I’ve tried wrapping it in paper towels, storing it in water in the fridge, and stemming it and chopping a few days worth, to be stored in glass. That’s what I’ve settled on, but it’s imperfect. If anyone has ninja tricks for that, please share!
  • Aaron_K123Aaron_K123 Posts: 7,066Member Member Posts: 7,066Member Member
    Your food is spoiling in 1-2 days? Do you avoid salt?
  • kshama2001kshama2001 Posts: 17,141Member Member Posts: 17,141Member Member
    Aaron_K123 wrote: »
    Your food is spoiling in 1-2 days? Do you avoid salt?

    1-2 days might have been a typo or an exaggeration, because she also said, "If I prep Sunday I'm usually having to trash anything not eaten by Wednesday." which makes more sense, especially if talking about foods like salads.
    edited February 15
  • smacyhzsmacyhz Posts: 45Member Member Posts: 45Member Member
    You could meal prep freezer dinners? That's what I do! I dont like eating regular meal prep food for more than 2 days so I always have some homemade healthy dinners frozen ready to go (stews, soup, mini chicken pot pies, enchiladas etc etc) I also use lots of frozen veggies easy to roast on a pan or stir fry when I get home.
  • Susieq_1994Susieq_1994 Posts: 5,249Member Member Posts: 5,249Member Member
    I second the glass containers. Everything seems to keep much fresher in them.

    I batch-cook stuff that doesn’t get compromised by a few days time (shredded chicken, pork, blended soups) and I add in fresh veggies and combine food groups as needed.
    I store proteins either in glass, pre-portioned in freezer bags, or, if tritip, whole- and slice daily as needed.

    I don’t like what time does to pre-cut vegetables (very few exceptions- jicima will hold for a bit in water) so I do those daily, mostly with a mandolin to save time.

    I batch-toast nuts and seeds, and keep them separate in a jar to use as needed.

    I’m weird about my roasted veg; I’ll pre-chop and season but I roast them nearly daily.

    Herbs are my hardest part- I go thru a TON of mint and cilantro and have yet to master keeping it fresh. I’ve tried wrapping it in paper towels, storing it in water in the fridge, and stemming it and chopping a few days worth, to be stored in glass. That’s what I’ve settled on, but it’s imperfect. If anyone has ninja tricks for that, please share!

    I chop and put my herbs loosely in an uncovered container and place it in the freezer. After it's frozen, I cover it. The chopped leaves crumble nicely when I scoop them out for anything, just make sure not to let them out of the freezer for more than a few seconds. Take out, use, place back in immediately. As soon as they start to thaw, they almost immediately get slimy. I do this for mint, parsley, and cilantro.
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