food

Rhian made 57 meals for $135. Here's how she did it.

Earlier this week, Rhian Allen, the affordable food and lifestyle whiz behind The Healthy Mummy, meal-prepped 57 meals for model, presenter and mum-to-be Fiona Falkiner. 

The meals, which included dinners such as Spanish rice with chorizo and beef chow mein, cost Rhian $135 in total.

Yep, 57 adult-sized meals for $135 bucks.

Speaking to Mamamia, Rhian explained that meal prepping has become increasingly popular because it allows people to streamline the process of cooking and take the stress out of everyday food choices.

"Meal prep makes life so much easier," she told Mamamia. "Yes, it can be daunting to spend a couple of hours in the kitchen all at once, but in the long run it saves so much time and hassle throughout the busy week."

If a hassle-free work week sounds good to you, Rhian has a few suggestions on how to get prepping. 

"I would start small. If you are making dinner each night for one or two serves - then why not make six serves then portion and freeze the rest? 

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Making one banana bread? Make two, slice and freeze the second," she said.

"A lot of people get overwhelmed with the idea of meal prep. When starting, keeping it simple is key," she added.

The same rules apply if you're meal prepping for the whole family. 

"Start small. Cook double serves of dinner each night to begin with. Make double batches of muffins or banana bread to slice up and freeze. If you are cooking dinner in the oven, why not have a meal cooking in the slow cooker too?

"You can portion up the slow cooked meal and freeze for another night," she said. "Do this regularly and you will have built up quite the freezer stash."

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If you want to start meal prepping but don't know what to purchase, Rhian suggests looking at what you already have, and going from there.

"It's important to make a plan when doing bulk meal prep. I often see what I have at home in my fridge, freezer and pantry then I search The Healthy Mummy App for what I want to make. I write a list of what I plan to make during my time in the kitchen and I add all the ingredients I need to my shopping list," she explained.

Plus, Rhian mentioned a few staples that are great to keep on hand for the various meals you choose to make.

"Canned corn, kidney beans and lentils, wholemeal flour, coconut oil and basic spices such as mixed herbs, paprika, cumin and cinnamon," she said.

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Now, that all sounds well and good, but we still want to know how she keeps meal prepping so affordable. Isn't it easy to get carried away and buy too much if you're making food in bulk?

According to Rhian, that's not actually the case.

"Often meal prep saves you money," she said. "You buy in bulk which generally works out cheaper and as you are freezing all leftovers you save on wastage too."

Sold.

Before you get started, here's Rhian's five tips to make meal prepping easy and affordable. 

1. Cook recipes with similar ingredients, this saves time and helps to keep the grocery bill down. 

2. Check your freezer and pantry before you start planning what to make, and be sure to use items you already have.

3. Make a plan and utilise your space. Plan to use your appliances: think slow cooker, rice cooker, oven and stove top. 

4. Choose simple recipes with minimal ingredients.  

5. Use a food processor to grate or chop all your vegetables before you start cooking. This saves so much time!

Do you meal prep already and have some tips of your own? Let us know in the comments.

For more from Rhian, head to her website and follow her on Instagram.

Feature image: Instagram/@thehealthymummy