How Long Does Your Meal Prep Actually Last For?

It’s Sunday and for a lot of us that means a few things, eat till you sleep and sleep till you eat, catching up on all things Netflix, recovering from last night and MEAL PREP.

Whether you are doing it because you like to have every meal accounted for, you’re super organised, reaching a fitness goal or you just like having breakfast ready to go I am sure you always find yourself asking the question "how long do my favourite foods and meals actually last?”

For example, did you know once you combine chicken with a sauce i.e. soup, the shelf life on average reduces by four days. Because I didn’t until I saw this super handy meal prep cheat sheet by Magnet that shows you how long your carefully cooked and prepped foods last for in both the fridge and freezer. 

Most foods are actually still edible for at least a day or two after their shelf life expires but the above is a great guide to understanding how long foods can last in the fridge before you eat or freeze them.

You might have also noticed that most of your meal prep that is suitable for vegetarians and vegans last longer than cooked meats and fish and superfoods like quinoa, can keep in the fridge for up to a week once cooked – making meal prep Sundays even more of a breeze.

Things to know:

1. Be aware that some foods you buy ‘fresh’ could have already been frozen during the shipping process. Refreezing these can cause them to go rancid during the thawing process, so always check the label

2. On the topic of freezing, only freeze food once. Refreezing and thawing your food a second time can cause harmful bacteria to grow

3. Plan, plan, plan! Combining ingredients affects shelf life. As a marker, always go off the ingredient with the shortest individual shelf life

4. If you’re a fan of fruit smoothies and overnight oats, it’s best to eat them within 24 hours. Fruit oxidises and your healthy snack can quickly turn into a fizzy mess.

5. When defrosting meat, do so slowly, preferably by placing in the fridge over a few hours to avoid any sudden build-ups of bacteria.

6. Whilst cooked eggs last up to seven days once refrigerated, they shouldn’t be frozen. The exception is raw egg yolks and egg whites, so long as they’re separated.

Practicing proper food hygiene also ensures your food is safe, lasts longer and you prevent food born illnesses. As a rough guide, preparing your meals up to four days in advance is perfect, as most ingredients can last this long once prepared. Good quality containers will also ensure that your food keeps its freshness for longer.