One of the great things about meal prepping is that it helps you manage your other activities and create more time for things you love to do. But you also need to manage your meal prepping tasks by staying organized so that each meal week that you prep happens smoothly and easily.

Whether you’re sticking to a budget, working with time constraints, trying to eat healthy or simply trying to alleviate stress in your life, meal prepping can be a life saver. Think ahead and prepare recipes and keep resources on hand that will help you stay organized and make the meal prep time an enjoyable task.

Before you begin, make sure you have the necessary tools to prepare and store the meals you plan to make. Containers of various sizes with an ability to stack or freeze are important assets to your meal prep organization. They’ll keep portion and calorie sizes ready to serve.

Slow cookers, blenders, mixers and whisks are also valuable tools to help the meal prep process go faster. Snack bags will help you break down snacks you purchase in bulk and dry erase markers for containers and sharpies for plastic bags help you identify what you’ve prepared.

Meal prep calendars and grocery lists are valuable assets for planning ahead. They take the hassle out of meal preparation because you’ll be able to glance at each day on the calendar and know exactly what you’re serving your family.

Printable grocery lists are also available online and can be organized by aisle or sections of the store. When you return home from the store with your items, sort them on the countertop into what you plan to make or divide now – and which you’ll serve later.

Washing and prepping fruits and veggies ahead of putting together a recipe is also a great way to organize your thinking and your meals. You can store the prepared items in baggies or containers in the refrigerator or freezer for instant use later on.

Bake chicken or brown your meat and store in the refrigerator to use for meal prep during the week. Keep in mind that cooked meat will stay fresh in the refrigerator for about 3 or 4 days. Cooked rice and pasta can also be cooked and stored for instant use.

Label everything so you don’t have to open containers to see what you’ve prepped. A bit of planning and organizing before meal prepping keeps you on track and cuts down on everyday stress.