You’ve heard it before: “failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” It may sound harsh, but it is SO true – especially when it comes to meal prep. Without it, the busy demands of our day to day lives can take over, increasing the chance of eating junk and “convenience” foods instead of healthier or prepared options.
How Can I Make It Work for Me?
Meal prep can be different for every person, so it’s important to find a routine that works for you and your needs. If you’re always in a crunch for time rushing out the door in the morning, prepping breakfast ahead of time may be the answer for you.
If you’re busy working late during the week and are too tired to cook when you get home at night, having dinner prepped may be what you should focus on. The key is figuring out your needs and what’s going to help keep you on track to your goals.
Steps to Meal Prep
Once you’ve decided what it is you’re going to prep (breakfast, lunch, snacks, etc.) – choosing containers will be key. If you’re batch cooking large portions to make meals throughout the week, you’ll want larger containers to keep these foods in. If you plan on batch cooking, but portioning out your meals ahead of time, you’ll want containers that are easily stackable and accessible in your fridge for you to grab and go.
- Plan Your Meals
We all know it’s not the best idea to go grocery shopping on a whim (or on an empty stomach.) Having some sort of meal plan and/or list ready ahead of time so you know what foods you’re going to eat that week is crucial.
This will not only save you money by not wasting foods you may not eat, but a huge time saver for getting in and out of the grocery store efficiently. Write down each breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack you’ll be having, and break this down into a list of ingredients you’ll need to make these meals.
The key here is getting into a routine. The first time you meal prep, it could take you up to two hours – getting it down to 30-40 minutes or less takes practice, but it absolutely is do-able. Choose which day each week you’re going to prep, so you’re able to get it done and out of the way for the days ahead.
NEVER be doing one thing at one time – this is important! Maybe while your chicken is baking in the oven, you have veggies cooking in the crockpot, and ground turkey going on the stove top. This keeps you efficient for time and more likely to repeat this routine weekly. Because who wants to meal prep for 2-4 hours? (nope, not us!) If you dread doing something, it’s most likely not going to stick.
- Portioning It Out
This ties back into #2 and planning ahead of time. Once you have all of your food prepped, the next step is to figure out how you want to combine or portion these meals out.
If you have time each day to put together a lunch or dinner right in your kitchen, having your lean meats in one container can be easy to grab and combine in a bowl with some rice and veggies. But if you are strapped for time, putting your entire meal in one container so you can grab it quickly before you leave for work each morning may be the answer for you.
Convenience is what is going to keep you on track throughout the week – which, of course, is the overall point of meal prepping!
When it comes to meal prepping, remember to stick to what feels comfortable and doable for you and make sure it fits your lifestyle. Some meal prep is always better than none at all!
What are some questions you have about prepping food for the week? Do you have any tips to share? Comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions on meal planning and how we can help get you to your health goals!