Meal prepping or meal prep is the concept of preparing and cooking dishes ahead of schedule. It’s a western thing and not popularly practiced in Philippines. In effect, internet searches are limited and one might think that meal prepping is impossible with local Pinoy dishes.
But why is meal prep difficult for Pinoys and how can it be solved?
- A lot of dishes and recipes that are suitable for meal prep have ingredients that are not available here in Philippines. In the list below, only common ingredients found in local groceries and public markets are used to prepare for a Pinoy dish.
- Kitchen utensils and tools used for meal prep are not available in every household here in Philippines. Many, until today does not own a refrigerator, microwave, blender, oven and even rice cooker in their household. The Pinoy dishes listed below only used the common kitchen appliances such as refrigerator, induction cooker and microwave.
- The benefits and importance of meal prep is not widely known. It is not taught in school and the older generations do not practice this at home. Many do not know that meal prep saves you a lot of time and money. You only need to cook once a week and microwave the meals for the rest of the week. For food expenses, home cooked Pinoy meals are 2x-4x cheaper compared to dine-ins and take-aways.
Check-out these 10 week’s worth of Pinoy dish meal prep:
1. Garlic buttered chicken and chicken oriental
Reheat cooked chicken and transfer to a lunch box.
2. Sweet and sour fish
Food storage instruction: Store the sauce and breaded fish in a separate air tight container.
Reheating instruction: Combine sauce and breaded fish. Microwave for 1 minute and transfer to a lunch box.
3. Adobo (chicken/pork)
Reheat cooked chicken adobo or pork adobo and transfer to a lunch box. Some people swear, one day old adobo is the best!
4. Burger patties
Best paired with mushroom soup, gravy or ketchup. Remember to pack condiments and sauce separately to prevent burger patties from getting wet and soggy.
Can also be eaten with bread and mayonnaise instead of rice for lunch. Yup, burger it is!
5. Mongolian beef
Food storage instruction: Store the cooked beef and vegetable stir fry in a separate air tight container.
Reheating instruction: Combine cooked beef and vegetable stir fry. Microwave for 1 minute and transfer to a lunch box.
Reheating instruction (steam): Steam frozen siomai for 10 minutes and transfer to a lunchbox.
Reheating instruction (fried): Deep fry frozen siomai in pre-heated oil for 4 minutes. transfer to a lunchbox and enjoy!
7. Fish fillet
Best paired with tartar sauce or garlic mayo dip. Remember to pack condiments and sauce separately to prevent fish fillet from getting wet and soggy.
8. Pork steak
Reheat cooked pork steak and transfer to a lunch box.
9. Fried dishes & sides
- Fried chicken
- Fried fish
- Buttered corn or mixed veggies
- Rolled egg
- Fried banana or banana fritters (maruya)
- Fried eggplant
10. Boiled, steamed & fresh side dishes
- Boiled egg
- Steamed broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and okra
- Sliced cucumber and tomato
- Oranges and apple (rubbed w/ lemon)
+ Pinoy dish meal prep tips
- Make a menu list ahead of time. List down all the ingredients you need for the week. Be careful with the volume of ingredients. You don’t want it to be too many or too few that it will not last a week.
- Choose only one recipe that you can stand to eat for lunch for 5 days. More recipes means more cooking time, preparation (cutting, slicing, peeling, etc.), ingredients and storage. This is one of the downside of meal prep – the same food over and over again for a week. But hey, at least you will only reheat and no need to cook daily!
- If your planned recipe will be more protein and dried foods for lunch, make sure to get your fiber, carbohydrates, etc. at dinner or breakfast. Aim for a balanced diet throughout the day.
- Choose a dish according to your diet. If you have allergies or following a certain diet, you can customize your menu based on your diet requirements.
- Use any cooking utensils you have or work within your resources. Do not limit yourself to fried and boiled foods. You can grill or turbo cook any food you like. Also, do not pressure yourself to buy new equipments when you can totally work fine with your old ones.
- If a week’s worth of food is too much, you can always meal prep for days that you only need to. Always do whatever is best for you and your household!
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