I don't know about you but I have a lot hate relationship with the phrase "meal prep". I love it because I know it's amazing and makes the week of eating so much easier. I hate it because I know I should do it more often. Don't you just love getting home after a long day knowing there is something delicious waiting in the refrigerator for you or having something healthy and yummy to take to work with you for lunch? Taking some time one day a week to prep foods and meals is magical.
To help you make it happen here are 10 tips:
Whether it be whole grain rice, spaghetti squash, cauliflower rice or chopped up greens you will LOVE having one or two of these ready to go for multiple recipes. I recommend having two on hand so I don't get sick of the same thing.
One of the easiest ways to "meal prep" is to cook extra dinner for good old leftovers the next day. Last nights dinner can be the next days amazing lunch! You don't have to have the exact meal but you can use the main ingredients to create some else. For example- throw two extra chicken breasts on the grill. The next day you can slice one and add to greens mixed with other veggies. Boom- a beautiful salad that took 2 minutes!
Write it on your calendar and commit. I recommend Sunday afternoons but you pick a day and time that is open for you!
Pour yourself a glass of wine, blast a killer playlist or pop in ear buds with a great podcast while chopping away! Or invite a friend over to do it together!
You know those rotisserie chickens that smell so good in the grocery store! Grab one or two of those and right when you get home take the meat off, store in zip lock bags and you will be ready to make so many things during the week. Or grab already chopped veggies or greens and be ready for a killer salad creation on a whim! Store bought items rock and make meal prep so much easier!
Many people get freaked out by meal prep and think its too hard or time consuming! One way to make it SO much easier is to make a large batch of one meal that can be easily portioned out for an entire week. A meal that can be made in the crockpot makes it even easier. Make some fish or chicken, then pair it on top of a bed of dark leafy greens, add an avocado, and you have a simple easy lunch that can be made in one sitting. Don't over think it! That's what makes us stuck in meal prep and life really! :)
Keeping your freezer stocked with items like frozen veggies, frozen grains, nuts, sauces and proteins like meatballs, turkey burgers, chicken sausages for a quickie heat-and-eat meal.
Keep meal prep super simple by having a few pantry staples always on hand to help make batch cooking easier for all kinds of meals. Staples like oats, honey, and chia seeds can be used to make batches of overnight oats. This is a family favorite- you just combine equal parts rolled oats and milk of choice (regular or almond) with a few teaspoons of each honey and chia seeds; mix well and transfer to jars; cover and refrigerate overnight; top with fresh fruit before serving. Other staples like beans, rice and sauce make meal prep a breeze.
Just the thought of meal planning and all that goes into it can be perceived as overwhelming to people with busy schedules. But if you break it up into baby steps, and even divide the steps to different days, it becomes much more manageable. For example, on Friday you can plan out your recipes and make your grocery list; Saturday is your shopping day; any actual food preparation happens on Sunday. When you break it up and know that not everything has to happen in one fell swoop, you will actually do it, you will get into a good flow and eventually form a new healthy habit!
Meal prep won't freak you out as much when you have the right tools to use in the kitchen! There are so many fun kitchen gadgets on the market these days that make meal prep pretty seamless. If slicing an avocado isn't your thing, there's an actual avocado slicer for it! If you avoid chopping onions because they make your eyes tear, there's even a gadget that will chop the whole thing for you, at one time- woohoo. Like anything - when you yourself up for success ahead of time and this will be something you look forward to rather than something you dread.
Bonus tip- make foods you will actually eat! If you don't love brussels sprouts for example- don't make them. But if you love squash or broccoli- make 'em. You do you, get excited about having healthy food on hand and enjoy the process.
I am super excited for you to start meal prepping! Have fun. Keep it simple. And if you do it, take a pic and tag me on social media! I want to cheer for you! And you will inspire me to get on back to meal prepping too!